This week marks the 10th Anniversary of Because I Can, the solo theater piece that I wrote and performed from December 2-5, 2004. The anniversary prompted me to call the show’s director,Daisy Walker, to say hi and to ask a question that had been on my mind for a while: “Why did we spend so much time rehearsing the transitions between scenes?”
Daisy responded with a passionate monologue about the importance of keeping things moving, and the risks of having the audience disengage between scenes. One of Daisy’s lines stood out: “Theater time is like computer time—every second of waiting is an eternity.”
The “computer time” analogy hits home. The hourglass, pinwheel and status bar have become dreaded symbols of wasted time. We hate to wait! In fact, 40% of people will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. That’s why eCommerce companies invest millions in software and infrastructure just to cut a second off their webpage load times.
Daisy's point is that live audiences are equally impatient: they will mentally click on a new window if the "load time" between scenes is too long. That's why she choreographed and carefully rehearsed every scene change of my show, keeping the audience engaged not just during each scene, but in the spaces between them. And that's why it's worth investing our time in keeping every event, presentation, meeting or show as tight and "gap-free" as possible.