Using symbols

A symbol is something which stands for, or represents something else. Symbols are often used in drama to deepen its meaning and remind the audience of the themes or issues it is discussing. A prop often has a particular significance that an audience will instantly recognise when used symbolically in the work. What might the following things symbolise or represent?

Four icons showing: 1) White lab coat, 2) Dove, 3) Torn wedding photo, 4) Lamb
  1. A white coat represents medicine, science, authority
  2. A dove represents peace and tranquillity
  3. A torn wedding photograph represents divorce or separation
  4. A lamb represents new life, spring, innocence or sacrifice

Symbolic movements

Movement and actions can be symbolic too, particularly if you’re using Physical theatre as a form. In Mark Wheeler’s play, Too Much Punch for Judy, the keys being thrown are significant in certain important moments in the play. Remember that the meanings behind symbols can sometimes change within the same play.