Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action", which is derived from "I do".
The two masks associated with drama represent the traditional generic division between comedy and tragedy. They are symbols of the ancient Greek Muses, Thalia, and Melpomene. Thalia was the Muse of comedy, while Melpomene was the Muse of tragedy. Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been contrasted with the epic and the lyrical modes ever since Aristotles Poetics —the earliest work of dramatic theory.
In English, the word "play" or "game" was the standard term used to describe drama until William Shakespeares time—just as its creator was a "play-maker" rather than a "dramatist" and the building was a "play-house" rather than a "theatre."
The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a collective form of reception. The structure of dramatic texts, unlike other forms of literature, is directly influenced by this collaborative production and collective reception.
Drama is often combined with music and dance: the drama in opera is generally sung throughout; musicals generally include both spoken dialogue and songs; and some forms of drama have incidental music or musical accompaniment underscoring the dialogue .
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