The theater starts from the garderobe and communication from the door threshold
Although ambiguous, this expression contains important rules for successful communication. As Shakespeare brilliantly remarked:
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.“
As well, our social life has many similarities and intersections much like theatre, where everyone plays a role according to their own script which may involve comedy, tragedy or drama. In theater as in life, there is room for improvisation, spontaneity and being natural but keep in mind there is no opportunity for a second take. You can replay the role tomorrow, but what happened on the stage is a relic of the past.
Coincidentally, some modules of our social competency training employ techniques taken from theatrical acting such as body language, the art of flexibility, role playing, stage freedom, intonation and emotion management, empathy and much more. Also, the theatre is a special place which follows rules of conduct and etiquette which is included in the module of good manners. The favorite expression of Stanislavsky (the founder of the school for the training of actors): “The theater starts from garderobe” is reflecting the basic principles that are adhered to by a person who is competent in communication.
Literally, this expression means that every detail is important in the theater — a building, and an interior, a wardrobe and even a garderobe. What’s in communication? Absolutely the same as in theatre, everything matters. You may speak properly, but if your body language does not resonate with what you say, the communication will be broken. You may speak properly and your body language is correct but if you don’t know how to build relationships, the communication will not develop. You may speak properly, master your body language and establish wonderful relationships, but periodic conflicts may destroy all your efforts. Thus, everything is important in a connected communication process be it positive or negative results.
Another interpretation is that the garderobe is what we see first when entering the theatre and creates a first impression or so-called prelude to the main action on the stage. How is this metaphor relevant in communication? Very much so, noting that the first impression about you is formed in the first minutes of communication and predetermines the attitude about you. Undoubtedly, the first impression can be changed by time and actions, but such an opportunity does not always exist.That’s why your smile and your suit can either work for or against.
Further, the theme of garderobe can be developed in terms of the fact that the theater has its own rules and as in a mini-state they begin practically from the entrance, when we show our ticket silently agreeing to comply with these rules. Competence in communication also implies adherence to certain rules, namely the rules of etiquette, conversation, courtesy, dress codes and so on. These elements always speak louder than any words and elevate you in the eyes of others.
Finally, when we say that “the theater starts with garderobe” we imply that there is a place between the theater entrance and the auditorium, in which visitors leave their outer clothing, hats and large bags. Symbolically, this means that you partially get rid of the “social shell”. In communication it’s comparable to “being yourself,” and meeting this type of person in today’s world is very rare. Keeping in mind that our behaviour includes boundaries and self-control, it’s ok to show our beauty and elegance which emphasize the qualities that distinguish us from the others and make us special.