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The term acting in the theater is used either for a predominantly spoken drama or for a branch of the stage arts that is performed by actors . In classic multi-discipline theater , it describes the mostly spoken theater performances in contrast to music theater and dance theater . In analogy to these terms, drama is also called spoken theater . A theater building designed or used primarily for spoken theater is called a playhouse .


The terms drama and spoken theater are independent of the genre. They can denote both tragedy and comedy , melodrama or farce .

Gustav Freytag, on the other hand, distinguished drama as a smaller, more ordinary theater genre from drama ( Die Technik des Dramas , 1863) and thus favored a classicist type of theater piece, which today is often called closed drama .

Conversely, especially since the end of the 19th century, drama has been viewed as a higher genre than the music-oriented theater forms ( operetta , vaudeville ) and the Schwank , which is evident in theaters that switched from a popular repertoire to an educational offer, such as the German Theater or the New Friedrich-Wilhelmstädtische Theater around 1900.

In addition, the term acting is also used to delimit dramas ( drama then as a generic term) that are neither tragedy nor comedy, i.e. serious dramas with a good outcome.


It was not until the first third of the 19th century that the profession of actor separated from the professions of singer and dancer.

While classical drama also primarily aimed to bring the texts to the stage with a flawless pronunciation, which was seen as part of its educational mandate, the priority of speech training for drama has declined since the 1968 movement . Many varieties of directing in the 20th century from Peter Zadek to Christoph Marthaler have questioned the traditional emphasis of drama on the spoken (literary) language.

See also


  • Peter Brook: The empty room. 4th edition. Alexander Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-923854-90-0 .
  • Klaus Lazarowicz and Christopher Balme (ed.): Texts on the theory of the theater. reclam Verlag, Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-15-008736-8 .

Web links

Commons : Acting  - collection of images, videos and audio files