Monday, June 19, 2006

Stage Directions in Death of A Salesman

The setting description for Act I of Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller make me wonder how feeling such as Linda has "she more than oves him, she admires him, as though his mecurial nature, his temper, his massive dreams and little cruelties, served her only as sharp reminders of the turbulent longings within him, longings which she shares but lacks the temperament to utter and follow to their end" (1557) are communicated to the audience? Can they be? They can help an actor, perhaps, set her mind to how to speak and act.

I also wonder about the symbolic directions for when one can and cannot walk through the invisible walls of the house. Will the audience pick up on this? And even if it doesn't, will it work on subconscious minds to create an effect?

Text has the luxury of getting or attempting to get inside of people and seeing them even better perhaps than they see themselves. Some things I suppose cannot be visually communicated. I'm thinking of Dr. Harry McCraw's relating of a comment he once heard about the carriages sent to Tulkinghorn's funeral in Bleak House: a film cannot quite communicate the fact, as Dickens so clearly presents it in text, that people sent only their carriages and driver to the funeral but did not attend themselves . . .


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