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The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Barron's Booknotes
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There's a difference between reading a play and reading a novel.
The most obvious thing is that a play is all dialogue, whereas a
novel will often have many paragraphs of prose describing what
a character is thinking. In a play you have to figure out what a
character is thinking by what he says, and what others say about
him, keeping in mind that people don't always speak the truth,
or at least the whole truth.

Another difference between a novel and a play is the audience
each is intended for. When a novel appears in print, it is as
ready as it's going to be for its audience, the individual reader.
But the script of a play is a blueprint for a performance by
actors, in makeup and costume, on a stage set, before an
audience of more than one. Whatever ideas a playwright has in
mind, whatever words he puts on paper, the play is meant to be
seen and heard, not just read silently by one person slouching in
an armchair.

But even if you can't actually attend a performance, and have to
settle for reading the script, there is a way to get a more
complete idea of what the play's supposed to be. Read some of it
aloud, "playing" the different characters: How would you say
these words if you were in the same situation? What gesture
would you use to make this point? Maybe you can get a friend
to try it with you. It may sound silly or embarrassing, but it
really does help. And it's fun.

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The Crucible by Arthur Miller - Barron's Booknotes

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