Dramatic Speech

Speech, Dramatic


an important means of realizing a dramatic work. An actor possessing a mastery of speech reveals the inner world, the milieu, and the national origin of the character he is portraying. The technique of speech is an essential element of the actor’s art; it embraces the voice’s sonority, flexibility, and volume, as well as the actor’s control of breathing, his diction, or accuracy and clarity of pronounciation, and his expressiveness of intonation.

The nature and style of dramatic speech have changed with the development of the theater. The structure of ancient Greek and Roman drama and the large-scale theaters of the ancient era influenced the laws of classical Hellenistic declamation. The aesthetic norms of the classical theater of the 17th and 18th centuries demanded a measured, precise declamation that adhered to the obligatory stresses and caesuras of verse tragedy. The range of dramatic speech in the romantic theater was determined by the alternating intensification and diminution of the emotions being expressed; it was marked by acceleration and deceleration, by transitions from piano to forte, and by unexpected intonations.

The development of realistic dramatic speech is linked mainly with the Russian theater and in particular with the Malyi Theater. The transition to realism that was achieved by M. S. Shchepkin was largely related to speech. Shchepkin appealed for naturalness and simplicity in dramatic speech and asserted that speech should approximate the spoken language. A. N. Ostrovskii, who believed that it was necessary to listen to a play as well as to look at it, attributed great importance to the speech of actors. A galaxy of outstanding Russian actors, for example the Sadovskiis, received their training in Ostrovskii’s dramas. These actors were masters of speech who considered the word as the chief means of defining a role.

At the turn of the 20th century, K. S. Stanislavsky inaugurated a new era in the development of stage speech. In the method he developed for an actor’s mastery of a role, Stanislavsky sought ways that would help the actor to reveal not only the literal meaning of the text but its subtextual meaning, as well as ways that would help the actor to captivate and convince the other actors and the spectators by verbal action, or speech. Today, the technique of dramatic speech is one of the most important disciplines taught in theatrical institutes, schools, and studios.


Stanislavsky, K. S. Sobr. soch, vol. 3. Moscow, 1955.
Knebel’, M. O. Slovo v tvorchestve aktera. Moscow, 1954.
References in periodicals archive ?
The strong statement by the council that denounced recognition of Israel echoed that of Abbas, who said in a long and dramatic speech in Ramallah on Sunday that "today is the day that the Oslo Accords end.
In a dramatic speech on the Senate floor, without mentioning the President by name, Flake accused the Republican Party of having "given in or given up on the core principles in favour of a more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment .
THE NHS will cease to exist as we know it over the next five years unless it gets more money, Birkenhead MP Frank Field warned in a dramatic speech.
Boyd came to national prominence in giving a dramatic speech to the St.
Faced with such a grim diplomatic landscape, Abbas felt the need to do something " so he made his dramatic speech.
In a dramatic speech to the US Congress on Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu had called on the US administration to halt the talks which he warned "doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb.
A dramatic speech by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was an emotional high point of the meeting, but putting a red line in front of Putin's troops is a matter of urgency after which sanctions and talks may be better able to work.
Mr Paterson is now able to express his views, this he did in a dramatic speech yesterday, much to the discomfort of the Prime Minister; his speech in Westminster was made against a background of reporting that Conservative MPs are calling for Mr Cameron to toughen his stance on the EU.
Prominent grassroots pro-democracy group Occupy Central has long been planning to amass protesters in the city's financial district, but in a dramatic speech in the early hours, co-founder Benny Tai said the rally would now merge with the student-led protests outside government headquarters, bringing forward the official launch of the campaign to Sunday from the original start date of October 1.
Given that the ordinance had been proposed by the Congress, Rahul not only embarrassed senior party members -- many of whom were tied up knots -- post the dramatic speech but also stabbed Caesar AKA Manmohan.
The actors are game, from Captain America himself (who gets a big dramatic speech and just about brings it off, partly through being artfully underlit) to Tilda Swinton as a grotesque apparatchik with false teeth -- though in fact she goes a smidgen too far into cartoonish.