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May 14, 2007

It's not just newspapers...

Bridgette Redman

The trend for shorter and tighter seems to be everywhere.

I've heard many people complain whenever a show goes over 90 minutes. I've sort of scratched my head over that in the past. If the show is good, I'll gladly sit for three hours--especially since most theaters still have intermissions for longer shows. At the point I've made the effort to come to see a show, I want to be entertained and I'm willing to sit for however long it takes to tell the story (provided the show is compelling).

Yet, many audiences don't feel that way. I was recently talking to a director who had abridged George Bernard Shaw's play St. Joan. He rightly pointed out that few people today would sit through the three and a half hour version unless you had star-quality actors. Even with celebrity-name actors the longer shows can be a hard sell.

It's a shame, really. When we cut things down to the bare minimum we often sacrifice the subtelty and complexity. We feed into the movement toward a soundbite society that is incapable of layered decision making and limited in its critical thinking.

Posted by Bridgette Redman at May 14, 2007 5:06 PM

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