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The Show Must Grow On: Act I 8/44

The Show Must Grow On: Act I 8/44 published on 3 Comments on The Show Must Grow On: Act I 8/44

Artemisia: It’s no shame that you haven’t drawn a sword yet, Leachtric. In every class, someone has to be last. And frankly, if there’s not a broadsword in your heart, I’ll eat my shorts. When someone is held up like this . . .

. . . it can mean they have a strong internal conflict that they’re struggling to resolve.

Leachtric: Well, I may be second-guessing the direction of the army all around me and the evident objective of these wars —

— I’ll think about it, sir.

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I think that’s my favorite but also least favorite thing about musicals, how sometimes they seem to treat the songs as entirely separate from the dialogue. Like how a character wondering if they should be a singer because it’s considered silly for a man, can break out into song about it, then once the number is done go right back to talking as if nothing happened, no matter how many people were in the room or who joined in. It provides a nice contrast and look into their head, but it’s also Jarring As Heck.

I like that device. It’s a fun evolution of the soliloquy (a speech that’s out loud to the audience, but that other characters in-story can’t hear), a time-honored playwriting technique that sadly has only fractionally survived into movies and TV. And using lyrics and prose for separate purposes can make the distinction between “word balloons” and “thought bubbles” more clear than an all-prose version could.

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