The Audio-Video Channel

Much has been speculated about the mysterious channels via which actor-to-actor interaction and actor-to-audience interaction actually happens. So much that we must take it as a fact that the ongoings seem so strange and unexplicable that people tend to need the supernatural to explain it. How can it happen, that emotion is transferred? How can the audience seem to know what somebody thinks or is up to?

Great master Stanislavsky himself speculated about some strange kind of “radiation” that was happening between people, some telepathic force that would explain the interpersonal ongoings. Thinking of the 1960`s colported Cold War Russian submarine experiments with telepathic rabbits, he was not really behind his time in the early 1900s.

But except some possible smelly or hormonal ongoings between actors on stage (who come close enough to each other that these channels of communication can start to unfold their influence), there is only two channels via which everything is transferred:

There is audio and there is video. There is what can be seen and what can be heard. Nothing else can step through the gap between the stage and the audience. No thing else. What can not be seen or heard is simply not part of the game. There is no extra channel for empathy, nor for feelings, nor for recognition of somebody`s thought or intent.

And what steps through the gap, in an audio or video way,  is only of one kind: It`s information. Nothing else than information. The information is in the words as well as in the rhythms and timbres of our voices, in the range and phrasing of our movements, in the way we look at things and in the way our sternum moves when we breathe. But it`s all information, only information.  And all the strange occurences we have in theatre, from being able to read thoughts and intents to getting infected by emotions are all human functions, many of them unconscious, that enable us to decode this information in an as useful way as possible. What`s useful is maybe less clear than it seems: There is quickness against exactness, there is broad image against detail. Which is more useful? The answer of them all: It depends.

That is why we, as the professionals who produce the audio-video images must know that no matter how invisible the thing we want to transfer seems to be: It must be contained in the see- and hearable. As long as it isn`t, it isn`t there.