A “take” is a precise “look” in a given direction, for instance, towards the audience or towards another character. Particularly with masks and puppets, the “take” to the audience is an essential technique for suggesting the subtext of a character by exploiting the audience’s imagination. In unmasked play it serves to emphasize moments of anticipation and reaction. The take to the audience eventually evolves into the aparte, the aside, and the soliloquy.

The double-take is a special case, mainly used in Comedy.

In referencing the audience, the actor turns them into the “gods,” pleading for their sympathy. Thus, in Tragedy the audience become arbiters of conscience; in Comedy, scorekeepers of a game of one-up-manship.

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Jonathan Paul Cook © 2010