I wrote a couple of weeks ago that Pozzo doesn’t have a consistent voice, but is constantly trying on voices. While I do think that’s true, I have decided that too many voices is too many, and have settled on five, which I call the trumpet, the flute, the rasp, the squeak and the bark. And I have gone through the script and identified which line gets which voice (or perhaps which voice gets which line). It’s an interesting exercise.
Ten years ago, I learned some questions to ask about each line of dialogue from a Nearly-Legendary Director, may he rest in peace. Those questions included whether the speaker is for the line or against the line, whether the line is in a major key or a minor key, and who the line is addressed to and what the speaker wants from the person so addressed. All excellent questions! But I have begun to wonder if the questions about each line are less important than the process of going through each line and asking something about it. Anything, perhaps. Rising inflection or falling? How many feet are there, and how far apart are the emphasized syllables? Is this the first time the character has ever said those words? What would be the opposite of the line?
The truth is that any of those would yield useful ideas about the lines. All of them would. And, really, almost anything would. Just the act of picking a question and then going through line by line and coming up with an answer is helpful. Well, I say that, but I mean after the basic process of knowing what each actually means, in context, which is, frankly a lot of work in itself. And that’s different from the process of memorizing the lines, which—again, a lot of work.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,