Difference Between Drama and Play

Drama vs Play

Drama and Play are two words that are often confused when it comes to their usage and meanings. Strictly speaking, there is some difference, subtle though, between the two words. The word ‘drama’ is used in the sense of ‘theater’. On the other hand, the word ‘play’ is used in the sense of ‘a literary composition’. This is the main difference between the two words, namely, drama and play.

These two words are interchanged wrongly. A play is a literary piece consisting of dialogues between various characters, epilogue, monologue, prologue and an end. On the other hand, drama refers to the set up of the play which includes the theater, the hall, the accessories, the green room, costumes, music and the like. Hence the word ‘drama’ should be understood in the collective sense.

The word ‘drama’ indicates a collection of all the terms used in dramaturgy or the art of play. Thus, a person who is skilled in the production of a play is called a dramatist. He is well versed with the rudiments and the principles of dramaturgy such as the measurement of the stage on which the play has to be staged, the nature of characters, the costumes that fit the characters, the music to be played, the music room, the green room, the synchronization of music and dialogue delivery, and the like. In short, it can be said that drama deals with all the nuances of the composition of play.

On the other hand, a play is a literary composition that should be written in a specific number of acts and scenes. In other words, each act should contain a few scenes as well. The composition of a play is ruled by regulations such as sentiments to be shown on the stage, what is to be shown and what is not to be shown, the predominant sentiment and the subordinate sentiment, and the like.

The author of a play is called as playwright. The duty of a playwright is to adhere to the principles of composing a play. He or she should not swerve from the rules pertaining to literary composition. A play should be staged on a stage. A dramatist is the one who produces the play. Sometimes, the playwright and the dramatist are both one and the same person. In other words, a person who composes the play can produce the play as well. He becomes both the playwright and the dramatist at the same time. This is an important observation to make when it comes to the understanding the meanings of the two words, namely, play and drama.

The word ‘drama’ is inclusive of terms such as tragedy, comedy, satire, and the like. It should be noted that it is the playwright who writes a tragedy, a comedy or a satire for that matter. Drama refers to acting, whereas play refers to composition. These are the main differences between the two words that are often confused, namely, play and drama.