a child was needed as background for a scene.


Senior Member
Good day, everyone!

The piece of text I'm having trouble with interpreting comes from a novel "Mister Max" by Cynthia Voigt. Here's the whole fragment (the boy's parents are actors and they run a theatrical company): "After his eighth birthday, Max’s parents began to give him jobs in the theater— prompting actors during performances, keeping track of props, even sometimes appearing onstage if a child was needed as background for a scene."

What exactly is meant by the part in bold?

A - if a child was needed as an extra
B - if a child was needed as part of a scene in order to introduce some background to a story (i.e. showing a character in his younger years)
C - something different altogether

  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hullo Rafael. If the script said (for example): "Street café scene. Main characters are sitting at a table at front of stage. In the background a child in rags is playing in the gutter."

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    All three, but in particular in order to introduce or deepen some background to a story.

    For instance, some directors of Midsummer Night's Dream have brought the little Indian changeling boy onstage. He's not essential to the action, but plays aren't about what's essential (otherwise they'd be haikus), they're about what the audience can see. "Don't tell me, show me" is the watchword.
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