Monday, February 9, 2009

Chekhov Post

Non-verbal communication and the Chiltern monologue ("An Ideal Husband")

What struck me in the last lesson was the exercise about the Chiltern monologue (about women idealizing men in their relationship, while men tend to see their female partners more realistic and recognize their flaws). It is incredible, how many possibilities language offers to its users and thus, how many different "versions" of this monologue or scene we could produce. First I thought, I could not produce anything reasonable. But I managed to convey Chiltern's opinion only with stage directions. I had "no dialogue" and decided to do the monologue without any words. It showed me the power of gestures and why we continually communicate, even if we don't speak a word. It also reminded me of the psychologist Watzlawick who (I think) said "You cannot not communicate". Personally, I used a projector to show newspaper headlines (of Chiltern's dishonorable actions), or a liquor bottle and dollar bills to illustrate the vices of men. Thus, I came to the conclusion that language is really only ONE part of communication. The situation the person is in, his or her clothing, mimics, gestures, age, gender, ethnicity, religion/ culture, sexual orientation and the point in time are just some other important features of the communication going out from one person - even if the person itself may not be aware of it or maybe even wants to avoid that. 

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