Nuances in communication
by Vimala Ramu
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)
Having had a small opportunity of hobnobbing with different media-visual, audio and audio-visual on stage, radio and TV, my mind pondered over the slight differences in the types of communication on these three media.
A stage play of course is the multi-sensory communication with the audience. Before the advent of microphones one had to shout and enunciate clearly enough to project one’s voice ‘to reach even the last bench.’ In fact, in the regular auditorium, the architecture itself would be designed in such a way that the best of acoustics would be produced. This was evident even in the days of Roman amphitheatres.
When the pedestal ‘mikes’ were invented, the actors had to position themselves in front of the mike whenever their turn came to talk so as to be heard well. This used to give rise to lot of artificiality unless the movements were well rehearsed to make them look natural.
When the hanging mikes came, the actors had more freedom to speak from different positions on the stage and still be heard. But now with the clip-on mikes one can be as natural as one wants as they have the facility of voice modulation. One can whisper and still be heard. They have the added innovative facility of the artists speaking from among the audience.
During the radio plays, the broadcasting being single sensory, stricter rules was followed. Having chosen a set of artists with a variety of voices to suit the characters, each one would be asked to speak in their own pitch and volume and not to be carried away by the last speaker’s voice (How I wish this could be followed in real life too!). The artists were asked never to cut through each other’s dialogue unless required by the script as the listener would not be able to distinguish any word from the auditory mess served ( I remember late Vasanth Kavali reprimanding, ‘Gojju maad baydi’- (don’t make a sauce of the dialogues).
During the rehearsals and recordings the loose script sheets had to be dropped on the carpeted floor very…very…softly so that the highly sensitive microphones did not pick up the rusting of the sheets and amplify it. All this had to be done without a break in the delivery of dialogue.
The peculiarity of the TV plays with single video camera as had been the case those days was, the cameraman would ask the actors to mention a dummy word or do a dummy body action (which would be edited later) before starting the actual dialogue so that he could follow the cue and had time to turn the camera towards the speaker and catch the whole dialogue. Can this be used in real life also? Every time I start a dialogue with ‘No’ (ille/ unn in Tamil) my husband thinks I am contradicting him. My ‘no’ does not carry any negative connotation. It is just a dummy dialogue starter like some people use ‘you know’ as a starter/filler (mostly seen in novice cricketers when they are interviewed).
Such subtle nuances if followed in daily life too will avoid interruptions, clashes and shouting and make the world a more peaceful place peopled with good listeners. ******