Difference Between Drama and Play


Main Difference

In the world of literature, drama and play are taken as the theatre as they are said to be on-stage production of the story. That story cab either be in the form of prose or the verse. In both the drama and play we have the characters, with features and dialogues associated to them. The subtle between both these terms imply when they are discussed in the terms of meaning and the usage. The word drama is derived from the Greek word ‘dran’, which means ‘action’ or ‘I do’. On the other hand, Play is derived from the Dutch word ‘plein’, which means ‘leap for joy’ or ‘dance’.

Comparison Chart

IntendedFor reading.For stage performance.
InterpertrationAudience themselves interpret the idea.Characters bring on the interpretation and idea.
Direct InteractionDirect Interaction between audience and dramatist.No direct interaction between audience and dramatist.

What is Drama?

Drama is the form of fiction writing which presents the story through characters and dialogues. The word ‘drama is derived from the Greek word ‘dran’, which means ‘action’ or ‘I do’. In other words, we can say that drama is about the performance and the idea of action. A drama has compact story plot that has various characters and events in it. One of the best parts of the drama is that characters are both the two-dimensional and three-dimensional in nature, which results in the complexion in the story. In the ancient times, the drama was purposed for reading in front of the audience. Hence, the interpretation of drama was solely dependent on the individual, as many of the events or ideas by the dramatists were not hurled on the audience. They were left up to the audience that how they perceive them. In the modern times, the drama is the visual representation of the story or the novel; it comes with characters and has on-stage performance of them. With the popularity of television, the drama become more of the complex nature and other than the stage or a theater performance, it became more exclusive to the televisions screens. Nowadays, we see that many of the famous novel or other literary work gets such adaptation on the TV screens as drama and those which get pictured in the cinema are known as films. The drama nowadays are also one of the mode of literary composition, which have the story and plot already written and gets the visual presentation on the TV screens. The person who writes or presents the drama is known as the dramatist. It will be pertinent to mention here that in ancient dramas we have the direct interaction in between the dramatist and the audience but now days as they have become more of the visual representation; there is no interaction between the audience and the dramatist.


What is Play?

The play is the mode of literature which is intended for the theatrical performance. It has quite the same features and essence as it is in the drama, the thing which makes it completely differentiable is that it is not for the reading purpose. Furthermore, the play has characters involved which go on to have the theatrical performance. The word play in the literature context has been derived from the Dutch word ‘pleien’, which means to ‘dance’ or to ‘leap for joy’. When we refer to the term play it can both be the written literary and its onstage production as well. The characters and dialogues are same in the play as they are in the drama. Many of the times, the play brings on the real-life event enactment on the stage. The one thing more which is one of the salient features of the play is that it presents the interpretation of the idea of the artist and the playwright who brought on the play on the theater. In the modern days, we have seen that many of the actors in the entertainment scene get their early practices done in the theater where they perform various plays.

Drama vs. Play

  • The word play in the literature context has been derived from the Dutch word ‘pleien’, which means to ‘dance’ or to ‘leap for joy’. On the other hand, the word ‘drama is derived from the Greek word ‘dran’, which means ‘action’ or ‘I do’.
  • Drama is the literal composition which is intended for reading. On the other hand, play is the mode of literary work, which is intended for the stage performance.
  • The interpretation of drama is most of the types dependent on the audience that how they perceive the idea or the thought given by the dramatists. Contrary to this, the artists or the characters in the play present the interpretation themselves.
  • In a drama, the direct interaction between the audience and the dramatist takes place, while in a play, there is no direct interaction between the dramatist and the audience.
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson