We respond to a drama to that extent to which it corresponds to our dreamlife.
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A play is basically a long, formalistic polemic. You can write it without the poetry, and if you do, you may have a pretty good play. We know this because we see plays in translation. Not many people speak Norwegian or Danish or whatever guys like Ibsen spoke, or Russian - yet we understand Chekhov and the others.
Here's what happens in a play. You get involved in a situation where something is unbalanced. If nothing's unbalanced, there's no reason to have a play. If Hamlet comes home from school, and his dad's not dead and asks him if he's had a good time, it's boring. But if something's unbalanced, it must be returned to order.