Where do words go when we have said them…?

by Joachim Matschoss | 1 January 2017

nonverbal theatre should play an important role in the canon of performances

Where do words go when we have said them? …maybe in one ear and out the other? That applies in real life more and more as multiple conversations happen in everyone’s life 24/7, a whats app call in one ear, a phone call in the other, Facebook updates left hand, a quick text with the right. But in theatre? The poor writer has slaved over crafting a cacophony of words for the audience to hear, analyse, be moved by… Pinter has even chiselled his pauses into an art form so that the words can shine. But there are other ways, particularly for young people to explore… I would like to encourage fellow artists/teachers that work with young people to create original work that believes in the power of visual theatre/nonverbal theatre/physical theatre (whatever “label” you might want to use) that at its heart has storytelling.

Have you ever sent a text message or even an old school email to a friend, only to have the person you are sending it to misinterpret the emotional content of that message? One of the problems of digital communication has to do with the lack of context that body language (or, more accurately, nonverbal clues) those messages have. We are using emoticons to indicate what we are “feeling” because we have realised we are missing the layers of communications with which we surround the actual words we speak. The nonverbal clues we send and receive from others are vital: eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, posture, gesture, touch, intensity, timing, pace and intensity are all elements of nonverbal communication we use to interpret the emotional content of a communication exchange.

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