The Impact of Live Dramatic Performance on English Literature Students’ Interpretation and Analysis of Dramatic Texts

Document Type : Original Article


1 Islamic Azad University, Rasht Branch, Guialn, Iran

2 Tarbiat Modarres University, Iran



Drama is a composite art, a mixture of literature and many other arts, originally written to be performed, since its proper appreciation depends on its being observed, not just read. A play is not fully a work of dramatic art until the text is transformed to action and sound (Rezai, 1992). The performance of the text will reveal many indicative clues to the discovery of the theme, characterization and symbolism of the play. In our academic environments, however, all courses designed to teach drama focus on the written text, and almost no effort is made to incorporate the theoretical analysis of the text with the unparalleled experience of watching the live dramatic performance of plays. The present study undertakes to examine how effective this experience can be on the students’ understanding and evaluation of drama. For this purpose, an intact group of the students of English literature in Islamic Azad University, Rasht Branch, all at the same level of academic education, were chosen and randomly divided into two groups. A pretest determined their similar level of language proficiency before hand. The treatment, i.e. theoretical discussion and critical evaluation of a play, Sophocles’ Antigone, plus watching its live performance, was implemented in the experimental group for at least 10 sessions. The final step was the administration of a posttest for both groups to estimate to what extent they acquired the ability to the successful analysis of the dramatic work presented to them. The statistical analysis revealed that the experimental group which was offered the chance of theoretical discussion of the text and watching the play yielded more satisfactory results.