Chit-chat in the lab: The fourth wall

Me: Dude, I need something to write about.

Nair: That just doesn’t sound right to me. You write when you have something to write about, not the other way around.

Me: It’s just that I want my blog-hits graph to look a certain way. I need about 40 more hits for that.

Nair: So write about that. Write that you want to make some graph look a certain way.

Me: That would be breaking the fourth wall.

Nair: I don’t get the reference. Fourth wall?

Me: Yeah… the fourth wall. In a traditional theatre* there are three walls around the actors, and the ‘fourth wall’ separates the actors from the audience. That is, the actors are supposed to behave as if all four directions around them are bounded. That’s why you’ll never see a proper actor look directly into the camera. This is also why when Tina Fey winks at the camera on 30 Rock, it actually is funny; it’s also why when one of the ‘-kanths’ of Tam cinema give out proclamations that are cleverly (or not) inserted into their dialogue, it sucks so bad, but I digress. I’ve never written as if I have an audience; it’s never felt right to me to say something to somebody I have to assume will be reading my blog sometime in the future. I can’t break the fourth wall. Mine’s made of reinforced concrete or something.

Nair: You’re going to write about this now, aren’t you?


*There are also Theatres In The Round, where the stage is at the centre, and the audience is all around, a la a boxing ring (except that WWE athletes, e.g., routinely talk to their audience)

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2 thoughts on “Chit-chat in the lab: The fourth wall”

  1. Somehow I have a feeling this conversation didn’t completely happen with Nair.

  2. The last line was something I put in, so yeah… you’re right, technically. Otherwise, though, it was Nair, and it was in the lab.

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