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Script Analysis for Actors, Directors, and Designers, 4th Edition by James Thomas

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CHAPTER 3

Background Story

Now that we have studied the present, we can turn our attention to the past. The lives of the characters begin long before they appear on stage, and their pasts are indispensable for understanding their present lives. Every dramatic story has a past, but the conventional time and space features of the theatre require special writing skill to illustrate all of it through dialogue in action. Playwrights employ a unique kind of narration to reveal the past while the stage action continues to advance. The common term for this dramatic convention is exposition, but sometimes it is also referred to as previous action or antecedent action. The word exposition comes from the Latin root exposito, meaning to put forward or to ...

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