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Susan,
 
You should definitely look to the silent work of Buster Keaton.  Keaton
was reared in vaudeville and shows a lot of that heritage in his short
_The Playhouse_.  There are theatre references in much of his work.
As for books on Keaton that would include the information
that you are looking for, look for _Buster Keaton and the Dynamics of
Visual Wit_ which is George Wead's dissertation.  Also _Keaton: the
Silent Features Close Up_ by Daniel Moews.
 
Good Luck
 
-Missy
 
Dr. Missy (Melissa Lee Price)  [log in to unmask]
Je suis blonde, mais pas bete. [log in to unmask]