soliloqies (was Changeover0
emcmullin at kl.com
Thu Jan 27 11:53:07 EST 2000
> >Philip. (Wondering why films (US: movies) so seldom include soliloquies)
>From classes I have taken, I've been told that in writing for drama you are
supposed to show the action and let the thought or motivation be inferred
from the action. So the idea is, wherever possible, to show rather than
tell. Also, if something must be told to explain the ensuing action, it
"should" be stated as briefly as possible and "should" also be exposed
during action - such as a conversation or the main character's reaction to
events told to a third party. Something like that. I found this whole idea
really hard to absorb, but now that I've been "taught" it, I do tend to
notice it happening in movies.
This current rule is far more stringent in movies than for stage, which is
why movies made from stage plays or from screenplays written by playwrights
tend to be more verbose and also seem to more often take place in scenes and
acts that are set (like rooms) - David Mamet being a good example. And who
is that fellow who did that Men Being Mean movie (what was it called? Does
anyone know the one I mean?) - that was very playwright-y. I took an
evening class on screenwriting and the teacher kept reinforcing "Film is a
visual medium, not word driven."
Sometimes when I see a movie which begins with a sort of voice over
introductory soliloquy, I become suspicious that the makers have fumbled the
ball and muddied the story to such an extent that they have to rely on
intrusive voice over explanations from the main character who, within the
action of the movie, gives no indication of being a narrator. This happened
in True Romance, but they kept it to the very beginning. But its presence
told me that somewhere along the way, the story had a different ending than
the one I saw at the theater. Because the narrating character is Not the
main character and never narrates again - except maybe at the very end to
say "gee, it all worked out okay." Also the incredibly forgettable Mobsters
was a really good example of how not to use the voice over narrator tool.
I'm getting off track. I can feel it ;)
Personally, I don't see any reason for this prejudice against the soliloquy
in dramatic arts. Most of the recent plays I've seen, when they have
soliloquies, have them where the character basically raves blindly at the
audience - it's often funny but it hasn't been memorable. But maybe that's
just because I've only gone to see wicked black comedies which *would* have
raving unhinged characters anyway. But it would be nice to see the
characters reasoning themselves to a decision and waxing deeper and more
real, instead of just raving around with clever humor.
"My favorite line from the review was something like "My name is
> days ago I died. Then things really got interesting."
Say Nat, what's this show? I call that an eyecatching line :)
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