Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Question of the Day: Show Length?

Asker: John Hefner - solo performer - www.thehefner.com

Best known Show: The Hefner Monologues

Question: Dear Mr. Fringey,
I'm down here in Orlando at the Fringe Festival, performing
the 75-minuteversion of THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES, and have noticed
an odd trend: thevast majority of the shows here are 60 minutes.

Should I go for the entire 90-minute full version of the show
for Boulder and other festivals from here, or stick with the
shorter (but possibly inferior, it's hard to tell?) 75-minute

Dear Mr. Hefner,
Well, the majority of Fringes out there prefer a 60-minute
show that's why you probably see so many productions running
at60-minutes, In some fringes they will actually cut the
lights out at60-minutes - such as the San Fran fringe.

To tell you the truth, most fringe audience members are
accustomed to a 60-minute show... and even 75-minutes is
too long, so yes, the longer show can and will work against
you in the fringe. Since everyoneelse is working on the
60-minute time frame, a lot of audience members
may skip your show because it will throw their schedule

If you're doing a show, I believe you should have at
least 4 options:
1) A solid 2-3 minute pull out for teasers
2) A 30-minute version for odd fill opportunities
3) A 60-minute version for Fringes
4) A 75-90-minute version for traditional theater venues

When I first started running my show it was a 90-minute show..
.. I cut it down to 60-minutes and it was leaner and meaner.
You're probably too close to the show to see what you'd need
to cut in order to make it into a 60-minute show. It can be
done.... and believe me and it will make it a better show.....
and no, you won't lose any of the message.

In order to cut... think of places where you can increase
the pace... look for lines that don't get laughs.... and
look for a large section that you can do without.

Ok man, good luck!
Mr. Fringey

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