This essay is about how paintings by Christian Krohg and Edvard Munch can be described as «theatrical» and «absorptive» in the way Michael Fried uses these terms in his writings. It argues that both Krohg and Munch explore diffe- rent kinds of absorptive and theatrical strategies in their paintings, and that they share a common interest in this, despite choosing diffe- rent approaches in their compositions. This is especially striking when it comes to their use, and non-use, of facing characters.