Thursday, April 5, 2012


A friend of mine, Beth (from this post), who also stage manages, cannot stand intermission. She says it interrupts the flow of the show.  Even when kept to the correct length, they are choppy and completely unnecessary.  As a stage manager, she just hates dealing with them and the complications that they create.

As a stage manager, I don't mind dealing with them, but I do wonder at their necessity.  People will sit through a two hour+ movie without a break without even thinking about it.  Hell, they'll even sit through a three+ hour movie; possibly with more grumbling, but they'll still do it.  However, if a play runs more than about 90 minutes without an intermission everyone gets up in arms.

Is there a reason for this?  There's no reason people can't just sit through the play like they do for a movie.  Maybe it's just so ritualistic and traditional that it's an integral part of theatre?  Maybe people just have the expectation of intermission, so they get horribly upset if it's not there?

I don't really know, but the whole mindset is baffling to me.  My college once did a four hour play that end up having two intermissions.  I'm not entirely sure why we couldn't just have one intermission in the middle, but whatever works I guess?  Ultimately, I think I've accepted that intermission is just part of theatre and I don't mind dealing with it.  I'm just not sure it's necessary.

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