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Perhaps the greatest difference between fiction novels and short stories and theatrical drama is the limited scope of the stage for which the play is written. Plays are written to be performed within the restrictive size of a stage unlike the other fictional styles, which can encompass a virtually unlimited scope. For example, the novel The Red Badge of Courage is set on the battlefield of Chancellorsville, Virginia. The story includes long marches, hundreds of soldiers on both sides, horses, cannon, and large battle scenes. Such a story could hardly be told on a small stage. Dramatic works are usually written with the size of the stage in mind. For example, the stage of the Park Performing Art Center in Union City, NJ is 68 feet long and 28.5 feet deep with a 40 feet high arch. Many theatres are much smaller.
Another primary difference is the necessary use of dialogue found in plays. While fictional novels and short stories can tell much of their story through narrative, dialogue is an essential part of the play: The characters must tell the story, not the author.
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