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Additional info for American Drama in the Age of Film
In movies, it is reaction that gives every moment its potency. That’s why listening in ﬁlms is so important, as well as the use of the eyes in the close-up” (11). The ﬁlm actor does less, exerts less energy, reacts instead of acts because the audience, the camera, rests nearby. Despite the variety of shots that may require a separate style of acting, more melodramatic or more intimate, the majority of shots are what Tucker calls the “intimate” theater style which translates, not coincidentally, into the standard style of realism.
Actors project theatrical performances according to the size of the space in which they’re working. In ﬁlms, though, actors constantly adjust their performance within a single ﬁlm according to the size of the individual shot. In Tucker’s schema, a mezzanine view in the theater is equivalent to a long shot in the cinema in which the entire human ﬁgure is visible; an orchestra seat in the middle of the house is akin to a midshot in which the human ﬁgure is seen from the waist up; a front-row seat is similar to a medium close-up shot from the chest up; and, ﬁnally, an extreme close-up shot has no parallel in the live theater (5–9).
The bigger the conﬂict, the more clamorous the voice” (Right to Speak 225). This louder, more emotional, ringing voice carries the message of the play, though it might not be in easily understood words. Harold Pinter observed an inverse relationship between emotion and speech years ago: “The more acute the experience the less articulate its expression” (11). The actor, then, in the great pitch of a turbulent drama, relies upon the emotional intensity of vowels to convey depths of feeling at the expense of intellectual consonants.