Thursday, July 23, 2015

Characters

I'm rereading E.M. Forster's classic Aspects of the Novel, just now re-finding a wonderful passage on the troubles novelists suffer with characters as they write.  He then contrasts the woes of the novelist with those of the playwright:

These trials beset the dramatist also, and he has yet another set of ingredients to cope with - the actors and actresses - and they appear to side sometimes with the characters they represent, sometimes with the play as a whole, and more often as the mortal enemies of both.  The weight they throw is incalculable, and how any work of art survives their arrival I do not understand...   
...but, in passing, is it not extraordinary that plays on the stage are often better than they are in the study, and that the introduction of a bunch of rather ambitious and nervous men and women should add anything to our understanding of Shakespeare and Chekhov?

Anton Chekhov reads The Seagull - Wikipedia



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