Consider the following text.

Detective Johnson:

And you're telling us that nobody can vouch for you being at home on that evening...?


I told you; I wasn't feeling too clever and I just wanted to get some kip. Do you let people know when you're getting some kip, eh? Be serious...

Constable Talbot enters.

Const. Talbot:

Sorry, sir. There's something you should know... outside.

Detective Johnson:

[Standing] Interview paused at 8:17pm. Right! Let's get sorted.

Det. Johnson and Const. Talbot leave.

This text is a drama. Below are the clues to help you recognise that you are reading a play-script intended to be a stage-play:

  • it will be written as a script to be performed by actors
  • characters names are listed next to the lines they should speak
  • there are no speech marks
  • it will include – in square brackets or italicised – stage directions to advise the producer and actors what to do, how to speak and so on
  • depending on when the play was written, the language can be made to seem entirely natural and realistic or it can be metaphorical, rhythmical and poetic (as in a Shakespeare’s plays)
  • the structure is divided into sections called acts and scenes
  • the structure, or sequencing, will be made to create a sense of tension or a desire want to know where it all will lead, or what will happen next