Copyright

Character Dialogue & Nonverbal Communication in a Drama

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Character Motivation in a Drama

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Two Forms of Communication
  • 2:24 A Classic Example
  • 3:49 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Characters in plays have two ways of communicating with the audience and each other. They can use verbal or nonverbal forms of communication. In this lesson, you'll learn about how both are used in drama.

Two Forms of Communication

Imagine this situation: you're out to dinner with a friend. You've been watching this great TV show and five minutes into your explanation of your favorite episode, you notice your friend staring off into space, pushing food around her plate with her fork, and even checking her phone for messages. You ask her, 'Doesn't that sound like a great show?' She responds that it sounds really great.

In this scene you're getting two types of communication from your friend. Her words tell you that she's interested, but her body says the opposite and you have to consider both signals when you're trying to understand your friend's reaction. Characters in plays are just like your friend; they communicate with words and with body language.

The two types of communication described in the opening scene are verbal and nonverbal. Verbal communication means getting across ideas by using words. What we're doing right now - that's verbal communication from me to you. Nonverbal communication means getting across ideas wordlessly, usually through visual means. In our opening example, the verbal communication was the words exchanged between you and your friend and the nonverbal communication was your friend's lack of eye contact and the fact that she checked her phone, both of which could indicate boredom.

In plays, the dialogue is the words spoken by the characters. That's the verbal communication. Stage directions are written notes to the actors and while these notes can give the actors some cues for nonverbal communication, most of what actors do on stage in terms of body movement does not appear in the script. Instead, the actors and director work together to create a plan for how the actors will communicate nonverbally.

And it's not just body language. Facial expressions are part of nonverbal communication and so is proximity. Proximity is the term for how closely two or more people stand. Characters who stand close together communicate their comfort with each other. Those who have to have space between them are less comfortable with each other. Even something as simple as space can communicate a lot about the relationship between two characters on stage!

A Classic Example

The audience learns about characters through what they say and do. In other words, through their verbal and nonverbal communication. Let's look at a famous example to better understand how the two types of communication work together.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support