About This Blog

I really like theatre, and I like writing and talking about it.

This blog is mostly about my relationship with theatre, the moments that make me fall in love with this art form, and the times when we don't always get along.

I'll be writing about things that I like, that I think are good and interesting and want to share. I will probably also write about things that I don't quite get, or think are wierd. I may also write about things that aren't theatre, strictly speaking, because it's my blog and I can.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Question From A Friend

I was inspired to start writing in particular today because I got this email from a friend, and I thought other people might find it interesting:

Theatre question for you.

I went to a play on Friday night that to put it nicely drug like slow molasses in winter. The first act was 2 hours – ohh my goodness. There were sooo many places it could have been cut.
Then, there was a 15 – 20 minute intermission and the 2nd act was another hour, which part of it should have been cut.
If a play is running 2 – 3 weeks, can a director, after the first performance or weekend, cut scenes? Surely the director had to know how long that first act is. It was so draggy it was painful. I know there’d be hurt feelings on part of the performers who were cut but heavens to betsy!

This was my answer to her:
It depends on the play; if it’s a published play that they had to license the performance rights for, then the director probably isn’t allowed to make cuts. If they’re doing an original piece, then it can go a couple of ways:

-if they get feedback that the play is running long, or things aren’t working, they may make changes from one performance to another (I have some friend doing a sketch show, and they made a bunch of changes after opening night based on what the audience did and did not like)

-a lot of directors like to consider the show “locked” after their final dress rehearsal; it takes such an effort to put a show up, they may feel it’s too much strain on the actors to ask them to memorize changes. Instead, they’ll workshop the material based on this run, and apply those changes to a future run of the show

-Or, sometimes people are just too pretentious to believe that EVERYTHING they do isn’t perfect.
True story about my friends' show, by the way. They're doing sketch comedy, and I went with a group of people on opening night. There was some REALLY funny stuff in there, but there were a few sketches that just sort of drifted off without a proper ending, and one that just completely fell flat. Plus, it was running about three sketches long. And kudos to them, instead of getting offended (which SO many artists do), they took the feedback, and made changes that make the show stronger.

In the case of my friend's email, this was actually a big-name musical from the 60's, so the director couldn't have cut it. But perhaps this director wasn't making choices that moved the show along effectively, or it could just be a case of the show aging well. Sometimes those old chestnuts just wear out.

1 comment:

  1. When I was a tech theatre major at Western Michigan University, one of the few phrases that stuck with me was:

    "You got good stuff and you got great stuff. Cut the good stuff."

    It's curious to me how many people are offended on the concept of cutting "good" stuff. This is mostly from not artists or new/young artists.