Exposition of the Stage versus Film

        I find it very interesting the way the exposition of the stage version of a play is so much different from that of the film version of a play. For you see it is much easier to do the exposition in a film because you have a lot more tools available to you. You have the ability to use things like location change, flashbacks, etc.

        When creating the exposition for a film version of a play such as, the 1973 version of A Dollís House directed by Joseph Losey, you have the ability to put together shots of scenes that show what happened before the present time of play. Film makers have wonderful tools like flashbacks to show the audience the information they need to know to be up to speed while watching the show. Another excellent tool that film makers have to use that is less readily available in live theatre is the use of location change, such as the snow scenes in the movie. Very seldom do you see a film shot entirely in one location, which is usually the only choice offered in live theatre. You simply move the cast and crew to a different location and get the shot you need, and voila you have location change.

        On the other hand, when you are dealing with exposition in a play--that is being performed on a stage--you must often times explain the exposition through the use of the dialogue in the script. While, it may seem simple enough to just write in the characters talking about the exposition, it is much more complex than that. The author must smoothly incorporate the exposition into the dialogue between the characters in a way, which goes unnoticed by the audience, but which still sinks into their brains for when they are thinking about the story line of the play later. A good example of this would be this yearís Murray State Universityís production of Henrik Ibsenís A Dollís House. The conversations between the characters had been set up in such a way that it seemed casual and had a nice flow.

Benjamin Hawkins