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A one-act play is a play that has only one act, as distinct from plays that occur over several acts. One-act plays may consist of one or more scenes. In recent years, the 10-minute play known as ‘flash drama’ has emerged as a popular sub-genre of the one-act play, especially in writing competitions. The origin of the one-act play may be traced to the very beginning of drama: in ancient Greece, Cyclops, a satyr play by Euripides, is an early example. The one-act play, very popular in the 20th-century, is regarded by many as a modern product. But this is far from the truth. One Act plays were written and staged throughout the 18th and 19th-centuries, as 'The Curtain Raisers’ or ‘The After Pieces'. They were chiefly facial and served to amuse the audience before the commencement of the actual drama or were staged for their amusement, just after it had come to an end. The famous one-act play ‘Monkey's Paw’ was first staged as a ‘Curtain Raiser' and it proved to be more entertaining than the main drama. It may be said to mark the beginning of the modern one-act play. It was great Norwegian dramatist Ibsen that gave to the one-act play its - Modem touch. It was he, who, for the first time, introduced the minute Stage-directions into the one-act play. Before him one act plays were written in poetry, but he made prose the medium of his one act plays. In Short he made the drama, simple and real, and brought it nearer to’ everyday life. He made the modern one-act Play what it is and his example has been widely followed. George Bernard Shaw and John Galsworthy are two of his greatest followers. Bernard Shaw, a writer of international fame and the chief English dramatist of modern times, very Closely follows the technique of Ibsen. His plays have long stage directions and are marked by a truly Ibsenian realism.


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