Wednesday 14 September 2011

Tension and Release

For a while, I've been thinking about tension and release. It's a very prevalent and yet difficult to define concept. We all know what tension is, but it's hard to describe. We know when it's there, but it's really hard to create it. It's a very important part of modern film-making.

semi-random picture to increase the tension.

I suppose one quick attempt to define the terms is this: Release is resolution or closure and so tension is the absence of that resolution, i.e. a situation requiring resolution. Clear? We get onto more concrete definitions in a later entry.

To think about it in terms of broad genre, drama is about the building of tension and comedy is about the release of it. Roughly speaking.

Below is a quick list I made of emotional situations which create tension and a possible release...

sadness - happiness
regret - forgiveness
anger - relief
loves me not - loves me
enmity - reconciliation
tragedy / loss - coming to terms with it
serious - laughter
hate - love
argument - making up

There will be more on this soon as it's something that's definitely on my mind. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this fascinating but underexplored area of performing. My thoughts are currently all over the place, as you can tell.

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