All a writer does when he/she get into run-throughs is look at the stopwatch. It’s all about the clock (cause it’s a nice place to deflect, and it’s also a good indicator if a show’s over-staying its welcome). So here are the numbers from last night’s dress rehearsal — and mind you, it’s the first run-through we’ve had in two weeks.
Prologue start time: 8:07
END OF ACT I – 8:50 (43 minutes)
END OF ACT II – 9:20 (30 minutes)
Run time for acts I & II: 1 hour and 13 minutes
START OF ACT III: 9:38
End of Act III – 10:03 (25 minutes)
End of Act IV – 10:43 (40 minutes)
Run time for acts III & IV: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Run of the whole show not including intermission, 2 hours and 18 = very good news for our show!
Back on May 31, our first act ran 51 minutes and we were well over 1 hour 23 minutes run-time before the intermission. So we’ve cut 10 minutes in pruning away critical sections, including about 2 minutes of Trigorin’s 3 page monologue at the end of act 2 and a page of “adapted/invented” dialogue between Treplev and Yakov at the top of act 2 and other judicious text trims throughout. Another key performance element is Treplev, Trigorin and other driving through their longer speeches; the company picking up cues; all the usual tightening that happens as an ensemble learns their show better and better. And so we anticipate being able to lose another 3-5 minutes in run time before our work is done. And this spells = A Huge Relief … That we enter first preview tonight not having to worry inordinately about cutting our work anymore than we already have.
It’s a good feeling. And guess what? The story’s holding up pretty good too.
More after we get our first audience in tonight. It’s Pay What You Can at 7:30. Looking forward to it.