Dramatic art is the act of writing or performing plays for an audience, either live or by another type of media. Popular forms of dramatic art include actors in movies or television shows, or live actors in plays. Dramatic arts do not necessarily have to be dramatic as the title suggests, rather, they can be a number of different genres (comedy, heroic, etc.).
The two main categories of dramatic art are plays and film/media.
Plays are the more traditional form of dramatic art, originating in classical Athens, Greece around the 6th century BCE. The exact history of plays are largely unknown due to the lack of record keeping in its time period; however, it is estimated that plays evolved from religious rituals. From the Ancient Greeks to present-day twentieth century theatre, plays have evolved greatly through each time period, taking on each period's defining characteristics. An example of this is the early Medieval period, which saw the fall of the Roman Empire. The plays from the early Medieval period exhibit early influence of the Byzantine culture as a result of the shift of power from Rome to Constantinople. There is evidence of plays from cultures all around the world including Africa and Asia.
The Globe theatre in London, England - a replica of the theatre that housed Shakespeare's plays
Plays consist of dialogue between at least two characters and occasionally, a narrative. A playwright will write the play for actors to perform. Instead of the actors simply reading what the playwright wrote, the intention of plays is for the literary work to be performed with emotion to invoke feeling in the audience.
Film and media are the most modern of the two categories of dramatic arts because recent technology is required to produce them. The main difference between film/media and plays are that live actors perform in plays, while actors are recorded then viewed later for film and media. Film originally was in black and white at its inception, but today, it has been developed to be viewed in colour. Film and media is currently predominantly electronic and can be accessed by the masses due to the Internet.
Acting in plays and film have different approaches. Firstly, because plays are viewed live, the actors must be aware of the audience for the duration of the play. They will be sure to face the audience and speak loudly enough to be heard by the entirety of the theatre. Film actors do not have a live audience to be concerned with, rather, they are recorded with a camera that will be played back to the audience at a later time. Both require the actors to have a high level of skill in order to accurately portray their characters.
Image credit: Maschinenjunge