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Elizabeth Myers

on 13 March 2014

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Transcript of Subtext

Subtext: Saying more without saying more
What is Subtext?
The thoughts that we imagine an actor having while they are speaking.
The intended meaning of a particular statement
What an actor means rather than what is directly stated
For any given line, there could be many potential subtexts.
"You don't know how many expenses we squirrels and skylarks have Torvald."
Subtext of this line could be genuine. Nora could be directly saying that Torvald does not fully understand what her expenses require.
Nora could also be using this line passive aggressively to mean "you have no idea what my life is truly like or what I need."
The subtext of a line is what allows us to get different interpretations of an actor's portrayal of a given character
This also aids in characterization, because the subtext of any given line enables us to see a character's true personality.
Let's go back to Act 1 and see a couple of different interpretations...
What's the subtext here?
How do we determine subtext?
Look at the context of the lines. What is the exchange about between the two characters?
What is the implication of what a character says?
What does the character want in this particular scene?
What is the character's ultimate objective?
What obstacles prevent the character from reaching his goals?
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