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Opening Scene. LEARNING GOAL: Students will analyse the opening scene to understand the world of the theatre and the characters in All About Eve. SOUND - Dialogue. INTRODUCES US TO WORLD OF THE THEATRE.

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opening scene

Opening Scene


Students will analyse the opening scene to understand the world of the theatre and the characters in All About Eve.

sound dialogue
SOUND - Dialogue


Addison:“The Sarah Siddons Award for Distinguished Achievement is perhaps unknown to you.”“has been spared the sensational and commercial publicity that attends such questionable "honors" as the Pulitzer Prize and those awards presented annually by the film society”

  • “exclusivity” of the theatre
  • Competition between theatre and film. Theatre looks down on film
sound dialogue1
SOUND - Dialogue


Addison:“To those of you who do not…know anything of the world in which we live - it is perhaps necessary to introduce myself.”

“These hollowed walls, indeed many of these faces, have looked upon Modjeska, Ada Rehan and Minnie Fiske; Mansfield's voice filled the room, Booth breathed this air. It is unlikely that the windows have been opened since his death.”

  • Self importance they feel as part of the club.
  • Addison is finally “in” after being an outsider for so long
  • Long, respected history. To the point of staleness.
sound dialogue2
SOUND - Dialogue


Addison about Addison:

“My native habitat is the theatre …I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theatre”

Addison about Margo:

“Margo is a great star. A true star. She never was or will be anything else or anything less...”

Addison about Eve:

“been profiled, covered, revealed, reported, what she eats and when and where, whom she knows and where she was and when and where she's going...”

  • His whole world is the theatre. And he believes his role is an important one.
  • Indicates distinction between stardom (respect from peers) and celebrity (popularity with public, perhaps only fleeting and temporary)
sound dialogue3
SOUND - Dialogue


Addison about writers and directors:

“Minor awards are for such as the writer and director - since their function is merely to construct a tower so that the world can applaud a light which flashes on top of it”

Addison about Max Fabian:

“one to whom each production mean potential ruin or fortune. This type is out to make a buck. Meet Max Fabian.”

Addison about Karen:

"Nothing in her background or breeding should have brought her any closer to the stage than Row E, Center”

  • Sarcasm - recognises the work that is the hardest is undervalued. People only worship the actors.
  • Max has no artistic integrity – only part of the theatre for the financial benefits
  • Establishes Karen as an outsider – only allowed on the inside because of her marriage to Lloyd
sound music
SOUND - music
  • Triumphant and elegant

Gives feeling of grandness to situation and ceremony.

Softly playing strings

  • Gives epic/romantic feel to the story as Addison recounts it to the viewer.
mise en scene
Mise en Scene
  • French
  • Means “placing on the stage” or “in the scene”
  • Refers to how everything within a scene – placing of characters and objects, music, lighting, dialogue - all works together to give a particular view or perception of the scene.

Mise en scène

Crowded room – adds to tight knit nature of the group

Chandelier indicated grandeur & glamour of this world

Paintings also of theatre – everything in their world is theatre


Mise en scène

Majority of people are men – links to Margo leaving to become a wife

Wait staff look on at proceedings fondly – perhaps ex-actors – indicating the waiters are part of this world.


Camera Use: Zoom to close up

Award is focus of evening – reoccurring motif throughout film as what they are trying to achieve.

A symbol of achievement and ambition.


Cutting to complement narration

Displeased reactions to Eve winning and Addison’s smirk indicate there is more to the story

Could pique viewer’s interest


Technique - Pause

Focus on the moment during applause. What she has always wanted.


Zoom to close up

Transition for Karen to take over the story

what do we learn about characters
What do we learn about characters?
  • Insiders: Margo, Bill, Lloyd, Eve
  • Outsiders: Karen (by marriage), Addison (essential, but also later ‘venomous fish wife’), Max (investor)
  • Addison: sarcastic, enjoying the discomfort of others as Eve wins her award
  • Eve is the focus and all characters are somehow linked to her
  • There has been an event that has disjointed characters. They aren’tsupportive of Eve.
what themes are developed
What themes are developed?
  • Insiders and Outsiders: those who are in the club
  • Group Identity: Tradition of theatre, important to belong and be part of this group. Everyone wants to join and stay. Surrounded by pictures of actors and actresses of theatre.
  • Stardom vs. Celebrity: Stardom more respected. It’s enduring, whereas celebrity is fickle.
  • Ambition: achieving Sarah Siddons award.
cinematic techniques
Cinematic Techniques
  • Mise en scene
  • Close up
  • Cutting of images
  • Sound – narration, music
  • Pause - for focus
how the viewer is positioned
How the viewer is positioned…
  • Actors/celebrities don’t deserve more recognition than those who write and direct, etcto“constructa tower”
  • Recognise important need of belonging to the theatre world and how exclusive this club is.
  • Recognise traditional and stuffy nature of theatre and how those in it look down upon the flashiness of film industry.
  • Question Eve and her rise to stardom


  • Students will analyse the opening scene to understand the world of the theatre and the characters in All About Eve.


Write two TEEL paragraphs joined by a linking phrase.

E.g. topic sentences:

It is in the opening scene at the Sarah Siddens Award ceremony that the audience learns of the supercilious and traditional nature of the theatre world.

This scene is also used to establish which characters are insiders and which are outsiders.