Foundations of the Plot: Background Story

Now that we have studied the present, we can turn our attention to the past. The lives of the characters begin long before they appear on stage, and their pasts are indispensable for understanding their present lives on stage. Every dramatic story has a past, but the conventional time and space features of the theatre require special writing skill to illustrate all of it on stage. Playwrights employ a unique kind of narration to reveal the past at the same time the stage action is still going on. Exposition is the standard term for this dramatic convention, but sometimes it is also referred to as previous action or antecedent action. The word exposition comes from the Latin root exposito, meaning ...

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