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The Actor’s Language – Text and Subtext

1. TEXT is what is said (it is the outer world of the character)

2. The text is what we get from the screenwriter. Text is what forms the script – it is the dialoque and the stage directions

3. The Text in a script is like a map: we use it to find out where we are going – but how we get there is up to the actors and the director

4. SUBTEXT is what is thought (it is the inner world of the character)

5. People don’t always say what they’re thinking. Subtext is what your characters really think or believe – the content underneath the spoken dialogue.

6. What characters are really thinking has a great effect on how actors move and how they deliver their lines

7. CONTEXT means the circumstances in which the text is used. It is usually the background, time period or the environment relating to a particular event in the story.

8. The director can also adapt the context of a script to conform with the particular needs of a production. For instance, Baz Lurman’s version of “Romeo and Juliet” which was updated to the modern suburb of Verona yet still retained the original dialogue.

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