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Movie or play with this type of character?

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Can you think of a movie or a play with a narrator that stands apart from the actors to tell the story, but also reacts visibly to the actions of the characters in the story and in doing so becomes a character himself?   I feel like I've seen this, and I can't remember how it was done.

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Kevin Spacey does this in American Beauty (and also in the TV show, House of Cards).  

I am not sure, but I think Death of a Salesman uses this, as well as Our Town. 

ETA: Rereading, I don't think those are examples of what you are saying--you mean the narrator isn't in the action, but has some interaction...hmmm...

 

Edited by Chris in VA

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Yes, Our Town has a narrator. It has been years since I read it, so I’m not sure if the narrator actually gets involved (emotionally, whatever) in the story or if he just offers commentary.

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16 minutes ago, hopeistheword said:

Yes, Our Town has a narrator. It has been years since I read it, so I’m not sure if the narrator actually gets involved (emotionally, whatever) in the story or if he just offers commentary.

no, he doesn't.  He is a narrator like in the Greek plays sense. Completely outside of the story's action. 

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Into the Woods.  The narrator is pulled into the story in the second half.  "I just tell the story, I'm not part of it."  Then another character says, "Some of us don't like the way you're telling it." Then he meets his end.

At the beginning of Secret of Kells the best intro ever is given in a voice over by what is a character in the story itself. "I have lived through many ages..."  The narration at the beginning is an introduction, the rest of the story doesn't have a narrator.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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It's a series, but Jane the Virgin. The narrator is not a character (only a voice),  but does very much react emotionally to the events in the story.

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Monty Python Quest for the Holy Grail. Not exactly a narrator, but the historian is somewhat of a narrator and eventually gets killed by a character in the story.

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Into the Woods and Series of Unfortunate Events were my first thoughts. But that doesn't really happen in their film/TV versions. Just the stage and book versions, respectively.

Also, The Big Lebowski. The narrator only briefly shows up, but he's clearly a real person in the world of the movie.

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Arrested Development. I've always enjoyed Ron Howard's narration in that show. 

Eta: you could just watch the pilot episode and get a really great sense of how it works. Plus it's one of the better pilots I've ever seen. 😊

Edited by MeaganS
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not a movie and not the same thing but has anyone read any Theodora Goss?  She does this thing where one character is telling their stories but other characters keep interjecting to tell her how she’s telling it wrong or being over dramatic or ridiculous.  Its quite clever.

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On 3/23/2019 at 2:07 PM, PrincessMommy said:

no, he doesn't.  He is a narrator like in the Greek plays sense. Completely outside of the story's action. 

But he does interact with the daughter character, correct? He's the one she complains to (see my post above). It's been a bit since I've seen it, too. 

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Aaron Burr, in Hamilton.  He stands aside and narrates the story from Aaron Burr's perspective, and also IS Aaron Burr throughout the show.

The Wonder Years (TV show from the late 80s-early 90s).  The main character, Kevin Arnold, narrates the story as an adult looking back on his own childhood.  
(young Fred Savage plays young Kevin Arnold, while adult Daniel Stern plays adult Kevin Arnold/Narrator)
 

Edited by Suzanne in ABQ

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I've seen that in greek plays, and some Shakespeare productions ( Kenneth branaugh's henry v.  derek jacobi was the chorus).

and George of Jungle- has a narrator,  (and at least one character was arguing with him.)

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5 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

I've seen that in greek plays, and some Shakespeare productions ( Kenneth branaugh's henry v.  derek jacobi was the chorus).

and George of Jungle- has a narrator,  (and at least one character was arguing with him.)

 

Oh yes!  Shakespeare.  How could I forget.  In Midsummer Night's Dream, the character, Bottom, introduces the story, then is a major part of the story, then tells the conclusion.  I believe Puck breaks the fourth wall in the middle as well, to explain something.

 

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On 3/23/2019 at 9:12 AM, lavender's green said:

The snowman in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The original House of Cards, although he's very much party of the story from the beginning.

And the original is so much better than the follow-on.  

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