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Monday, August 10, 2009

WWS Finishes Under 90 Minutes

Lest there be any doubt that the WWS is more factory than theatre, the latest directive from management is that the show must finish in 90 minutes. So I kept a ruthlessly rapid pace throughout both shows last night, bulldozing through moments where I normally allowed slight pause for theatrical drama, clipping the end of my fellow actor's lines, ignoring interruptions where improvisation is called for, not waiting for audience applause to die down before delivering text, and cutting words from my own text where possible. With the aid of the other actors, we delivered the show in 90 minutes the first seance and 87 minutes the second.

Management was perfectly tickled.

Pace is important, to be sure. Too often actors overindulge in their own stretched out moments of drama, or confusion, and the show slows to a crawl. Or. Stop.

But to ignore the audience and the occasional special moments of improvisation makes the show impersonal and can undermine the credibility of the characters, in my view. Allowing for special moments yet keeping a good pace is not easy. It's an art that not everyone can master. Hence, I imagine, a blanket solution for all to a problem that belongs to a select few individuals. (Me, of course, not one of them. I can't be to blame - this is my blog!) Perhaps one day we'll be able to relax again and respond to the audience in a natural way that allows each show to be individual and special, and builds the credibility of the characters and the moment, without being slave to an arbitrary time limit.


Sam said...

It's a shame the show hasn't been able (or allowed is more precise reading your blog) to keep it's high standard.

The pacing was already fast (not allowing to enjoy your meal and the show in full) and this certainly won't help.

I'm glad I've discovered your blog and I'll keep checking for future updates.

Trent said...

Thanks for your comment Sam. I've now managed to find a reasonable balance between pace and quality of performance by streamlining some scenes and lines. This allows freedom to respond to the audience and other actors. Whether the show is better or not I don't know, but I admit I feel more energized. Some other actors have managed to adjust as well. Unfortunately our adjustments won't make more time for you to eat the food which, by the way, is VERY good these days.

Laura said...

I'm coming with my family in September & we are hoping to see your show. Having read your comments & blog we would very much like to come when you are working! We haven't booked our seats yet so I was wondering if you could let me know on which night during our stay you are performing! We are arriving on the 14th sept fort 3 nights.
Thanks in advance, Laura