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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Is an interval in a stage show a good idea? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

seamagu
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Hi all,

Just looking to tap into your collective wisdom.

I have a stage show coming up in a few weeks.

It will be about 40 mins to an hour. Do you think a 5 minute interval in the middle is a good idea? Or, should I just run through the entire set in one go?

Thanks in advance,

Sea
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zinser
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Do the whole thing in one go. You only need an interval if you are doing a very long show, say two hours. And usually in a theatre. You will lose the momentum if you have a break in a 40 minute to an hour show.
seamagu
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Great, thanks for that,

Regards,

Sea
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emptysafe
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I'm just revisiting Derren's Evening of wonders. And there is an interval. Both for relaxing and collecting audience's notes.
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seamagu
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Yeah, I have a drawing duplication at the end and I need about 20 or so audience members to draw a picture on an index card, I could maybe collect them during the interval.
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Martin Pulman
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I think you would be ill advised to take an interval. Derren Brown's show's are in theatres and last up to two hours. The TV screenings are only edited highlights, not the full show.
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For a 40 minute show you will kill the momentum of the show with an interval. If you need things drawn or written for a large DD or Q&A, for that sized show it is worth engineering a way to have this done at the beginning of the show.

There are a few reasons to have an interval, and they are largely to accommodate people's difficulties remaining still for longer periods - need to wee, want to get a drink, have a smoke, get up and stretch their legs etc, that simply aren't pressing for a shorter show. The venue might like it if you give people the chance to go and buy another round of drinks, but when you are trying to get the show going again after ten minutes and half the audience are in the bar then you might regret it.

Just my thoughts of course.

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MrRyanD
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I had a stage show at the start of this year. It was a 2 man show so we had an interval to split the acts up. I wouldn't personally have an interlude for a 40min - 1 hour set. But how about getting the audience to do their drawing on the index card as they enter for the show, or come to pass them out whilst you do an effect at the beginning and come back to them at the end?
Mindpro
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Is there a reason for an interval? If not I too would say no, especially for such a short show. It will ruin momentum and unless it is a longer 90 minute or two hour show, or two distinct and separate acts, or if there is a purpose such as set changes, major wardrobe/costume change, selling concessions or merchandising, or to purposely breakup the show, I would stay away from it in such a short show.
seamagu
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Great advice here guys, appreciate it,

Thanks,

Sea
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C.J.
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Depending on your stagecraft and pacing, audience attention can be expected for between 30 and 60 minutes for most performers, and can be reasonably pushed to 90 minutes. Therefore, you'll notice that most stage shows (be they magic or theatre plays) only tend to break for an interval if both sides of the show will be 45 minutes or more. This is a good rule of thumb, but is dependent on your ability to manipulate the focus, energy and tension of your show. It is hard to pull people back in after an interval, so you need to be at peak performance, AND offer them something worthwhile to come back. But ultimately, an interval isn't just an "I need a wee" break; It is a way of splitting between two acts of a play, so does the "story" you are telling through your mentalism warrant the separation into two chapters? If you use an interval, you want to carefully shape your crescendo into the break, and give people a feeling of suspense that will ensure that DURING the interval, the audience talks about you and the show, and what they are expecting to happen next. If you can't build your act to achieve this, then no interval is better, even if the show runs to 2 hours.
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C.J.
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Oh, and in response to the specific idea in the OP above, no, 5 minutes is not a good amount of time for an interval, ever. It doesn't give people long enough to DO anything; if there's a queue for the toilet, or someone wants to have a wee AS WELL AS a cigarette, then they won't have time. And ideally, if there's an interval, people will want a bar, and 5 minutes is not enough for people to buy and consume a drink at leisure. An interval should be at least 15 minutes (in my opinion), and if you can't justify letting your audience go for that long (and the ensuing challenge to draw them back into the story), then you have found your answer.
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kinesis
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My last full stage show was 2 x 40 mins with a 20 min interval. At 40mins - 1 hr, I suggest you don't have a break. If you have a good variety of pace, people can kinda catch their breath as it were and won't need a break. Good luck.

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Scott Soloff
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Quote:
On Aug 8, 2014, seamagu wrote:

It will be about 40 mins to an hour. Do you think a 5 minute interval in the middle is a good idea?


No
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eSamuels
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Intervals (referred to as 'intermission" in North America) are sometimes dictated by the venue in order to sell drinks/concessions.
My last theatre show was 2 X 45 with a 20-minute break (as per the venue contract).

That said, I agree that 40 minutes is way too short a set for a break of any kind. By the time you've gained any kind of momentum, you're taking a break!

I would also suggest using the pre-show (not meant in THAT way) dead-time period to engage the audience, who arrive early, in some activity or procedure (filling out billets, etc.)

e
seamagu
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Hi all,

Its pretty clear an interval is not a good idea for my show. I do like the idea of getting billets completed as people arrive early. That idea will actually really help,

Thanks,

Sea
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saysold1
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I agree.

Only break should be of the "leg" variety ....

Good luck.
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TonyB2009
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I concur. No interval unless the show stretches towards ninety minutes.
emptysafe
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Quote:
On Aug 8, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
I think you would be ill advised to take an interval. Derren Brown's show's are in theatres and last up to two hours. The TV screenings are only edited highlights, not the full show.

Got it. I thought it was just more than 1 hour since this is how it was televised.
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JanForster
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Quote:
On Aug 9, 2014, TonyB2009 wrote:
I concur. No interval unless the show stretches towards ninety minutes.


I agree... my full evening show is roughly 120 minutes pure performance with an interval of app. 20 minutes. 40 minutes I would not interrupt, you might have difficulties to get your desired attention back after you got it and built up. And specifically in mentalism you need extreme good qualities as an entertainer if you do not want to die like many do. Then it doesn't matter what and how you do and structure a show. Jan
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