Everybody, and not just drama queens, likes to kick back and watch a great show. Whether the show is on a stage or a screen, in a novel, or being acted out by a hysterical couple in the middle of a restaurant, it gives the audience a chance to set their own personal dramas aside and take a break. Life is big, and drama is bigger. There are as many types of dramas as there are dramatic moments.
Drama is passionate, and passion equals love. Romance is not only one of the most popular drama genres today, it always has been. Just as Shakespeare celebrated Romeo and Juliet, the ancient Greeks found dramatic interest in the love affairs between the gods and goddesses, sailors and mermaids, and Odysseus and his mom.
In the case of Odysseus and his mom, those moments of romantic passion led straight to another highly popular drama genre, tragedy. Understanding that Odysseus and his matriarch didn’t realize who they were to each other originally takes a little of the "ewww" out and lends a little sympathy to the situation. A really good tragedy spills a lot of tears, both onstage or on-screen, as well as from the eyes of the beholders. Tragedy isn’t really completely tragic because it serves a useful purpose. It allows spectators to brim with emotion, to be transformed with compassion, and then to get up and leave when the story’s told.
A good sob story leads inevitably to the desire to yuck it up. There’s a fine line, it is said, between the drama genres of tragedy and comedy, which might explain the tragicomic mask that is the symbol of the theater. Whatever the reason, people the world over love to laugh. A really good comedy, like a really painful tragedy, makes the audience laugh because of compassion for the pratfalls, real or figurative, that the drama’s characters undergo.
Television has spawned an amazing range of dramatic styles and types. Viewers everywhere are frozen in horror and glee, eyes glued to the real-life journeys of the overweight trying to shed pounds, the love lost trying to be found, and the dancers and singers who brim with talent, or maybe not so much, waiting to be discovered. Cheaters are caught before the audience’s very eyes, questions are popped, weddings are held, and babies are born in docudrama after docudrama.
The modern world is doubly entranced by both high crime and its legal ramifications. Thus, two more drama genres are born. Television dramas about international espionage, serial killers, Internet hackers, and other criminals compete with cop shows featuring real-life criminals. Once those criminals, whether real-life or fictional, are snagged, yet another in the hit parade of drama genres is ready to unfold. Legal dramas that set the stage in high-powered attorney offices, money-challenged public defender offices, and real-life judge’s chambers leave viewers on the edge of their seats, deciding who’s right and who should hang.