Alice Gerstenberg Writing Styles in Overtones

Alice Gerstenberg
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Dual Characters

Overtones is the first known instance of a playwright using two actresses to portray a single character. By splitting each character into two parts, Gerstenberg allows the audience to hear the inner thoughts and desires of the character without having to stop the action. Prior to this, when a playwright wanted the audience to hear a character's private thoughts, he or she would use an aside or a soliloquy. An aside is when a character speaks directly to the audience, without the other characters onstage hearing him or her. A soliloquy is when a character is alone onstage speaking his or her thoughts out loud. Both of these techniques often bring a momentary halt to the action of the play. Gerstenberg's dual-character technique allowed the audience to experience the "outside" and the "inside" of the characters simultaneously, thus creating the possibility of continuous action and of an...

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This section contains 536 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Overtones Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Overtones from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.