by Charisse Baxter, dramaturg
Smoke signals. Pictographs. Hieroglyphics. Morse Code. Computer programming. Lemon juice. Emojis… and so much more! The quest to communicate has been constant throughout the history of humanity, and along the way, all kinds of methods of exchanging information have either lost their meaning for a while, or were always intended to be secret and used only by those ‘in the know.’
During the Victorian era, when Oscar Wilde was writing his society-skewering plays, there were several communication methods employed by those who were in on the underground code-speak. One such method was the ‘language of flowers’, with which messages and feelings could be expressed by particular floral arrangements. Another, slightly more secretive (and therefore more fun) method, was ‘fan language’, in which ladies and gentlemen could conduct entire conversations under the noses of their chaperones.
Take a look!