Comments on a Beat Analysis

by Dr. Dennis Barnett

Acting II

1. This beat, which begins our scene, begins with Vera's entrance. [1] She is worried for Natalya's health and wondering if that is the reason she has been called. Natalya quickly reassures Vera and urges her to sit down, which she does. The conflict is that Vera does not want to be in the room alone with Natalya, but Natalya triumphs when she gets Vera to sit with her. [2]

2. In the next beat Natalya begins by reassuring Vera that she is loved and wanted, then proposes the idea of marriage. [3] Vera does not grasp her meaning at first, but when she does she bursts out in tears. She does not want to be married, but resigns herself to Natalya's control. [4] The conflict is reached when Vera says that she is in Natalya's power. Natalya wants Vera to believe that she is loved and commands Vera to smile, which she does.

3. In this beat Natalya tries yet again to make Vera comfortable by pretending that they are sisters and asking her what she things about getting married. [5] Vera agrees that she is too young, but Natalya goes on pretending that all the man wants is to court Vera. Vera gets curious at this point and Natalya reveals that the suitor is Bolshintsov, an older, rather ugly gentleman. [6] The crisis is reached when Vera bursts out in laughter at the very idea. Natalya's hopes that Vera would consent, at least to being courted, are smashed.

4. Natalya sees immediately that Vera does not care for Bolshintsov and quickly dismisses the subject. [7] Vera, in shock continues to question Natalya about the subject. Natalya comments that Bolshintsov couldn't please a young girl because young girls all want to marry for love. [8] The crisis is reached when Vera tries to confirm her belief that Natalya married Arkady Sergeyich for love. Natalya reassures her, while also commenting that perhaps young girls are right about marrying for love. She then quickly changes the subject. [9]

5. Natalya reminds Vera once again that she wants them to be friends before once again bringing up the idea of marriage. She wonders at the real reason for Vera's rejection of Bolshintsov because she is suspicious that Vera loves Belyaev. She finally comes out and asks Vera whether she loves someone else. Vera does not understand at first and they converse about the various men in her life. The crisis is reached when Natalya asks about Vera's feelings for Belyaev and Vera replies that she likes him very much. [10]

6. In this beat Natalya questions Vera further about her relationship with Belyaev. [11] Vera finally opens up and tells Natalya about the time they have spent together, Belyaev's kind heart, and the way he picked a flower for her. The way Vera describes it, they are very good friends, but he thinks of her as a child. Natalya is reassured at first, but the crisis is reached when Natalya asks once more about the true nature of Vera's feelings for Belyaev and Vera suddenly "presses her face to Natalya Petrovna's bosom." It is at this moment that Natalya realizes Vera does indeed love Belyaev and that there is a possibility that Belyaev may love Vera. [12]

7. When Vera looks up, she sees a change in Natalya's expression and that she has become quite pale. She becomes worried for Natalya's health, but Natalya reassures her that she is fine and simply wants to be alone. Natalya pushes a tearful Vera out the door and ends our scene.


1. What is Vera's objective in this scene?


2. I have to read into this. What is the objective? I can sense it, but you need to just come out and say "Her objective is…" Also clearly state the tactics. What tactic does Natalya use to reassure?

3. Clearly delineate shift in tactics and objective. Give me the exact line they change on.

4. When Natalya achieves her objective, it changes.


5. 2 and 3 could be the same beat. The beat probably changes on Vera's response. (bottom of 3)

6. Do less summarizing. That is not necessary unless it helps you to explain objectives and tactics. Just tell us what the objectives and tactics are and where they change.



7. Vera's objective is to achieve Natalya's assurance. Her tactic to achieve this goal is to question.

8. Natalya changes tactics here with talk of love, could be a new beat.


9. Vera puts up an obstacle, though she doesn't know it, and Natalya counters it. Natalya doesn't want to talk about herself; she wants to know about Vera and whether Vera is in love.




10. Finding the crisis is good, and an important step, but you also need to make the objectives and tactics clear.

11. Beat change could come later. Natalya questions Vera until she is absolutely certain about Vera's lover for Belyaev, when "Vera presses her face to Natalya Petrovna's bosom." When she is sure, she changes her tactic and possibly her objective as well.



12. Don't be indirect. Again, we have to read into it to find the objectives and tactics. Clarify.











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