And the nimble gunner
With linstock now the devilish cannon touches
[Alarum, and chambers go off]
And down goes all before them.
—William Shakespeare, Henry V (3.0.32–35)
The scene is dull. Tell him to put more life into his dying.
Action has consequences, whether equal and opposite or otherwise. Dramatically, it is these consequences that are the story, not the implied projectile. Why do we care about what’s happening? Because we see how it affects someone, or because by showing the wall behind them getting shot to bits we realize what is at stake for our hero.
In live theatre it’s rare to get to show the actual physical effects in terms of damage to scenery or blood effects. In full-budget movies there ...