What happens to a play when it’s made into a film? Does one just shoot a pre-existing stage version or break away from a theatrical setting entirely and take it to locations and film lots? Close-ups are a part of cinematic language that doesn’t have an equivalent on stage. How do they focus or distract from a line of text’s meaning? Similarly, filmed voice-overs have largely replaced stage soliloquies and asides. What’s the effect of this further intimacy of ‘reading a character’s mind’? Three hours of play text are often cut down to 90 minutes for the attention span of a film audience and long thoughts are broken into smaller, more digestible sound bites. How does this diminish the poetry and its deeper meanings? Imagery becomes more important as the eye does the work and the ear becomes more attuned to the atmospheric musical underscoring than the text, which is often negligible in popular movies. The works of Shakespeare have been filmed in every known permutation from direct stage tapings to blockbuster studio versions to highly adapted teen versions without a hint of original text. How does one attempt to capture the power and the passion of a work like The Changeling on the screen?
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