Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Elia Kazan on Dramatic Unity

On The Waterfront (Directed by Elia Kazan)
Elia Kazan, director of classics such ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘On the Waterfront’, on the importance of dramatic unity:

The subject of writing for the theater or screen defies easily formulated rules. The best rule of screen and play writing was given to me by John Howard Lawson, a one-time friend. It’s simple unity from climax. Everything should build to the climax. But all I know about script preparation urges me to make no rules, although there are some hints, tools of the trade, that have been useful for me.

One of these is ‘Have your central character in every scene.’ This is a way of ensuring unity to the work and keeping the focus sharp. Another is; ‘Look for the contradictions in every character, especially in your heroes and villains. No one should be what they first seem to be. Surprise the audience.’

- Elia Kazan, Kazan on Directing.

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