Patterns in Time: Pacing Action on Rough Boards

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”

—Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Time seems to slow to a crawl and stop when you are listening to a dull speaker. A short lecture given in a monotone can appear to last for hours rather than a few minutes.

Conversely, a good speaker who varies his or her inflection and pacing can make a long speech fly by and leave the audience wanting more. I once auditioned an actress for a narrator's role in a film I was directing. Since I wanted the character to have a sexy voice but didn't want the actress’ choice of material to influence my decision, I requested that she read distinctly ‘un-sexy’ material for the audition. The actress found ...

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