Exaggerating the expression of emotion onstage by vocal tone, facial expression and body language gave rise to the term “melodramatic.” The cartoon "Dudley Do-Right" is one example of the genre with Snidely Whiplash as the stereotypical villain.
Melodramas are a perfect vehicle for teaching oral language and theater arts SOLs. Check out the following free scripts from TeachersPayTeachers for a fun addition to any classroom or drama club’s repertoire.
Ruth: the radio melodrama (The title character and Naomi may be thrown out of the pitiful little hovel they call home if they can't pay the rent to villain Black Bartholomew. Will Boaz step up to the plate and save Ruth before it’s too late? This comedic radio version needs little memorization since most lines are delivered reader's theater style.)
The Lost Gold Mine (explores the theme of California's Gold Rush with parts for up to 25 students plus audience participation)