well-made play


well-made play

Play constructed according to strict technical principles that produce neatness of plot and theatrical effectiveness. The form was developed c. 1825 by Eugène Scribe and became dominant on 19th-century European and U.S. stages. It called for complex, artificial plotting, a buildup of suspense, a climactic scene in which all problems are resolved, and a happy ending. Scribe's hundreds of successful plays were imitated all over Europe; other practitioners of the form included playwrights Victorien Sardou, Georges Feydeau, and Arthur Wing Pinero, who brought the form to the level of art with The Second Mrs. Tanqueray (1893).

Variants of WELL-MADE PLAY

well-made play French pièce bien faite

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