8 junio, 2024

The 9 Most Important Elements of the Theatrical Script

The elements of the theatrical script They are what make the staging possible. The theatrical script is a written text that allows the actors to know what words they have to pronounce in the play.

The script details the costume designer what costumes are necessary and the set designer what the context of the scene is. The script allows the director to unify all these elements coherently, including his own interpretation.

How a play is written depends on many factors: the audience and purpose, the writer’s current view of the human condition, and how he perceives the truth around him.

Some works may begin by focusing on an idea, others on a main character. Other scripts are written with the viewer in mind. Whatever the point of view, a play recreates and highlights human experiences.

Main elements of the play script

1- Name of the work

Refers to the title of the written work.


The life is dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, is the name of a play from 1635.

2- Plot or plot

The facts of a play, what happens, make up the plot. The argument must have unity and clarity.

Each action triggers another action. If that movement is not achieved, the action is disconnected from the rest.

The characters involved in the conflict have a movement pattern: initial conflict, action, climax, and resolution.

The plot can have a playful tone if it is a comedy and a more serious tone if the script refers to a tragedy.

Between one extreme and the other there is a wide variety of plots and styles, including tragicomedy, which mixes funny and witty elements with other sad and painful ones.


The argument of Bernarda Alba’s house (1936) is about a woman who, upon losing her second husband, demands rigorous mourning for her five daughters for eight years. The plot is unleashed when Angustias, Bernarda’s eldest daughter, inherits a fortune and is courted by Pepe el Romano.

3- Act

The act is one of the parts in which a play is divided. Each act is made up of paintings and scenes and is characterized by the statement of a problem, the development of a situation or the outcome of the conflict.

When the situation changes, the act changes. It also tends to change the environment in which the act takes place, changing the scenery of the stage. In this way it gives the feeling that the actors had moved to another place.

The acts are separated visually by means of the fall of the curtain, or the lights go out to make way for the next act.


Romeo and Juliet (1597) is divided into five acts. Act I takes place in a square in Verona, where members of two families: the Montagues and the Capulets get into a fight after trying to separate their servants.

4- Scenes

It is the basic form of theatrical structure, a unity of time, space, and action. A scene is a rhythmic piece, situation or event; for example, the entry of a new character, even for a moment.


Continuing with the case Romeo and Juliet, Act I is divided into a series of scenes where various events occur. For example, in scene IV, Romeo Montague sneaks into a party organized by the Capulets, where he discovers that his love, Juliet, is part of his enemy family.

5- Frame

The box is a structure used today, an independent unit. Therefore, a picture is formed by approach, development and outcome in itself. It is composed of several scenes.


In Five hours with Mario (1966) there is a soliloquy in which Carmen watches over the coffin of Mario, her recently deceased husband. The setting is always the same, so the scene occurs every time Carmen disappears for a few seconds from the scene or a character appears to offer condolences to her widow.

6- Characters

The characters are the people who act in the play and are involved in the plot. Each must have a distinctive personality, age, appearance, beliefs, way of speaking, and socio-cultural location.

Character types are main, secondary, or environmental. The main characters cannot be replaced by others: without them the story does not exist.

The secondary ones follow the main ones in importance, they accompany and second them. The environmental characters appear according to the needs of the circumstances of the work.


The work Don Juan Tenorio (1844) has Don Juan and Doña Inés as main characters. Then, other important characters are Don Luis Mejía or Don Gonzalo de Ulloa and, of less importance, Don Diego Tenorio, Marcos Ciutti, Buttarelli or Gastón.

7- Dialogue

Dialogue is every word heard in the play. They are the words that are heard, whether on stage or in offspoken through an omniscient narrator.


The following dialogue belongs to the work the celestine (1499), one of the classics of classical theater:

Celestina.- Peace be in this house.

Lucrecia.- Mother Celestina, you are welcome. What brings you to these neighborhoods?

Celestina.- Daughter, my love, the desire of all of you, to bring you parcels from Elicia and see your ladies, the old woman and the young woman.

Lucrecia.- Is that why you left your house? I marvel, that this is not your custom, nor do you usually take a step that does not bring you profit.

Celestina.- Do you want more profit, silly, than the one who fulfills my wishes? We old women are never short of necessities and, since I have to support other people’s daughters, I come to sell a little yarn.

8- Dimensions

These are indications that indicate the staging of the characters (entrances, exits, placement on stage), expressions (attitudes, gestures), changes in the set, place where the actions are carried out, etc.


Continuing with the dialogue the celestinewe find in it some dimensions such as the following that is marked in bold.

Alisa.- (From inside the house.) Who are you talking to, Lucrecia?

Lucrecia.- With the old woman with the knife who lived next to the tanneries, the one who perfumes guitars and makes solimans and has about thirty other trades. She knows a lot about herbs, heals children and some call her the old lapidary.

Lucrecia.- Tell me her name, if you know it.

LUCRECIA.- I’m ashamed.

9- Parliaments

They are the verbal expression in the form of a dialogue that the characters have, being of three types: dialogue, monologue and aside. They are also performed by a third person narrator.


In Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1609) the famous monologue «to be or not to be, that is the question» of the character Hamlet occurs.


Linares, Marco Julio (2010) The script: elements, formats and structures. Mexico. Mexican Alhambra.
V MÉNDEZ, J DOMINGO (2002) The film script as a literary genre. Murcia: University of Murcia
Publisher (2014) Scripts are Elements. 12/07/2017. Script Writing. scripwritingsecrets.com
Editor (2016) 9 elements of script writing. 12/07/2017. KM Studios. kmpactinstudio.com
Terrin Adair-Lynch (2016) The Basic Elements of Theatre. 12/07/2017. Santa Monica College. homepage.smc.edu

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