The storyline is typically given in its entirety on stage in the case of a theatrical performance, but the tale is often part of a broader total in the case of a ritual performance, but both performances produce or feed into a narrative. Thus, theatre and ritual are both methods by which narratives are communicated and understood.
Theatre is one of the most ancient forms of communication known to man, dating back at least as early as 535 B.C. when Chinese philosophers invented acting out scenarios to explain concepts such as justice and injustice. Since then, theatre has been used to communicate ideas, stories, and values across cultures and over time, using different techniques and technologies.
Today, theatre remains popular worldwide because of its ability to engage an audience in ways other media cannot. The drama of a story can be more powerful than facts alone, helping audiences understand complex issues that may not be easily explained otherwise. Theatre also creates emotional connections between audience members and characters in the play, which leads them to think about the world around them and their place in it. This is why teachers use theatre to educate students about subjects they might find difficult else where. For example, students who have never traveled outside of their country can experience what it's like to live in another through theatre, since all people everywhere have some connection to others outside of themselves (usually family) and many needs (food, water, safety).
Performance art is frequently completely non-narrative. Traditional performing arts, by definition, are narrative in nature; they tell stories. Performance artists can narrate tales, but the manner in which these stories are given is frequently unique. Performance artists use actions, words, sounds, objects, and environments as characters in their narratives.
Happenings are performance art that uses physical activity as its main form of expression. They often include dance, music, writing, and other elements to create a scene or situation within the work. Happenings are not limited to any specific time period or location. The term "happening" was first used by German artist Hans Haacke in reference to his 1965 sculpture series in Chicago. He described them as "actions that change the environment - spontaneous events that occur during the exhibition time."
Traditional theater involves storytelling performed for an audience. It includes plays written by authors such as Aristophanes, Euripides, and Molière, as well as operas and ballets composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven. Theater has been popular throughout history because it allows for human interaction with the world around us. Through stories, we learn about people who have lived before us and places far away from our own home towns.
In many respects, the presentation of drama in theatre, cinema, and television is similar: all three give a tale delivered in dramatic form—an enactment of events by performers who talk and behave as if they were the persons they represent. In addition to this common feature, theatre and film each have other features that set them apart from each other and from radio.
The theatrical presentation includes scenery, costumes, lighting, and sound effects. Scenery consists of backdrops and sets which are used to indicate different places or times. Costumes include clothes worn by the actors, who are also responsible for providing their own hair color and style, makeup, and accessories. Lighting is used to create shadows and other effects on the face and body during speech scenes or when action is taking place behind the camera. Sound effects include music played by musicians as well as noises made by animals, people, objects, etc. Film versions often omit some or all of these elements because they are not necessary for telling the story on screen.
Radio drama is spoken word with no accompanying visual image. It can be presented live (e.g., on the radio) or recorded (for later broadcast). A variety of genres are available on radio, including comedy, crime fiction, fantasy, science fiction, soap operas, and true stories.