Multimodalities and dramatic imaginations in mise-en-scène communication
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This dissertation is a micro-analysis of one particular type of communicative practice, the "mise-en-scène communication," which emerges as people talk and build scenery in their everyday work experiences in a theater consulting company in Taiwan. This dissertation engages in interaction analyses of participants' naturally occurring talk and face-to-face interaction in the set design meetings. Three findings are documented. First, mise-en-scène communication is multimodal. The participants use visual representations to communicate. These visual representational tools include architectural drawings, scale models, miniature props, and 3-D models and animations. The use of visual representations and communicative resources of language, gestural and postural conduct, the material surround, and physical objects enable the participants to visually communicate, envision, and construct scenes in and through talk and interaction. Second, mise-en-scène communication concerns three key organizing, work practices of creating an entirety of the theatrical space, including the scene-setting practice, the staging practice, and the measuring practice. This study finds that in these three major mise-en-scène practices identified, the theater artists express and formulate scenes and dramatic ideas in their talk. At the same time, they also frequently turn to bodily conduct as a source of insight into configuring, expressing, and formulating dramatic scenes. Third, the architectural drawings, the scale models, the props in miniature, and the computer simulations of theater space provide a material, perceptual field, which shapes embodied interaction systematically performed within it. The architectural drawings enable the participants to project the perceivable space through language and bodily behaviors. The miniature model and objects in a set create a full stage of symbolic communication in which scenes are arranged and dramas are spoken and created. Moreover, the theater artists manage to use language, gestures, and semiotic resources of the computer program, Maya, and its design interface to communicate and build 3-D scenes together. This research concludes that the plurality of channels exists in human communication. The micro-analysis of mise-en-scène communication reveals such a communicative process in which the participants draw on multiple modalities to visually construct theatrical meaning out of the set of visualization objects.