The Casual Reporter: WWS Finishes Under 90 Minutes

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.


  1. Am trying to find the wife of a gentleman from Los Angeles who played Buffalo Bill in Paris at least 10 years ago and was in his 60's then. I worked with his wife Paula on a TV show. Her maiden name was Jones (I think!) and was in her late 30s. I am trying to find a mutual friend of ours that worked on that TV show and Paula is the only person I remember working with there!

    I can be reached at

    Many thanks for any help you can give me.

    Barry Friedman
    Phoenix AZ

  2. Ya, I agree. It seems like the show has become more more in accordance with how all of France works. I love a lot of things about this place but that isn't one of them. Doesn't matter who will be enjoying the show, as long as its exaclty
    90, then get em out and load up the next bunch!!


I don't publish comments I feel are inappropriate, but since they filter through my email first, feel free to say whatever's on your mind. I enjoy the interaction.