Drama is a literary genre that shares many features of other forms of literature, but possesses a characteristic that makes it distinct. Like novels and short stories, dramatic works tell a story by employing the seven elements of fiction, which are a setting, characters, a problem, a plot, suspense, a point of view, and a theme. However, what sets drama apart from other literature is that it is performed by actors on a stage or in a film in front of an audience. The performers speak the dialogue, perform the actions of their characters and wear costumes to help portray their characters. To set the tone of the play or film, the stage is decorated to make the setting look like the setting of the story. In addition, lighting is used to draw attention to certain characters or parts of the stage and influence the mood of the dramatic work, and music is used to influence the mood as well.
Conversely, most forms of literature, such as poetry, short stories, and novels, are read. Novels and short stories are often written in the form of books, which sometimes contain pictures to help illustrate the story. But, illustrations in books do not often portray the entire story, as in drama. On the other hand, like drama, poems can be performed on a stage in front of an audience. However, this is the only similarity between poetry and dramas because poets do not actually perform actions, do not wear costumes, there is no music, and there is less emphasis on lighting. Furthermore, unlike drama, poets who read their poems are on their own, whereas in drama, there is a cast of actors on stage.
Drama can be a very entertaining form of literature. In contrast to reading literature, where you visualize the story in your mind, watching a drama unfold before your eyes is quite interesting and is a different experience. If a play or film has a talented cast who portray their characters well, and has a well-designed set, in addition to lighting and music that fit the dramatic work well, it can be a spectacle to watch.
However, in my opinion, one thing about drama that makes it less enjoyable than other literary genres is that it does not allow you to visualize the story with your imagination. When I read books, I am free to imagine the appearance of the setting, what characters look like, and the actions of characters. But, in drama, all of these things are determined for you and may not be as fascinating as you imagined.
Essentially, drama is distinct from other literature because it is performed in front of an audience by actors to tell a story, along with the use of a set, lighting, music, and costumes.
Przykuta. P Culture Violet. Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 17 Mar. 2010. Web. 24 May 2012. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:P_culture_violet.png>.
Sen, Piu. A play performance at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai. Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 15 Aug. 2007. Web. 24 May 2012. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_play_performance_at_Prithvi_Theatre,_Mumbai.jpg>.