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      A GUIDE TO WHAT PEOPLE LEAVE UNSAID by Barbara Biddison

      b29We would have been in final dress rehearsals for ALMOST, MAINE now. So, I'm thinking about the play and about the playwright, John Cariani. He includes notes of all sorts with the script--on punctuation, on place, on the northern lights, on the people, on cast size and ages. He obviously thinks a lot about this sort of thing. Here is one I think we could use in our everyday life. In the script, sometimes you see dialogue in brackets. [like this] The character does not say these words. It is a guide to what the character leaves unsaid.

      When I am in conversation with someone and feel like saying, "I don't know what this means," then I would like a guide to what is left unsaid. Is the speaker being sarcastic? Friendly? Angry? Funny? Or just offering information? Actually that is what emojis are for, a smile ? means "just joking." I guess that's why there are so many emojis for written communication.

      An example from the play:

      Ginette. And the stars are just [awesome]---...! She doesn't say the word "awesome" but it tells the actor how to say "and the stars are just." The part that the speaker doesn't say is known as nonverbal communication. We do this all the time in real life. But we are seldom "taught" how to do this, so sometimes our nonverbal message doesn't match the verbal one, and the listener is left to puzzle over the message. Just as you are sometimes left to puzzle over an email message.

      We need Mr. Cariani to provide a guide for our sometimes misunderstood communication.. If all the world's a stage, then listen to him," Please don't completely dismiss the stage directions. Many are actions--actions that are of equal importance to what is spoken."

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