Topic 2 Essential playwrighting terminology

Below you will find a list of key terms that will be helpful for the remainder of the unit and that will assist you in writing some of your very own play.


A play writer; a writer who writes a play


Written dialogue and stage directions from the playwright


A person in the world of the play


A person performing the role of one or more characters in a performance


The series of events that occur during the course of the play

Setting/ World of the play

When and where the action of a play takes place. The world of the play expands beyond what’s written in the text.

Fourth Wall

An invisible wall situated between the actors and the audience. The fourth wall acts as a window into the world of the play in which the actors may choose to treat the audience as a wall or bring them into the world of the play by performing to the audience.


A long speech performed by one actor. This speech is addressed to another actor or the audience.


An exchange of words between two or more actors.


One portion or section of a play. It is up to the playwright how scenes are separated.