It's All in the Timing

Photo by Annie Roi. Used by Creative Commons License.

Pausing is important. On stage, that quiet is crucial for a number of reasons. Set up a punch line. Make sure the audience hears the meaningful line. Allow a reaction to speak instead of an action. In dance, that moment of stillness is a beautiful contrast to movement.

Right now, I have the pleasure of working with Jared Reed on Good Doctor. The man is master of the pause. He gives just enough time to allow a situation to become suitably awkward, or reflective, or comical. That’s something I’m working on. It’s so easy to rush into the line. To “do” something. But that quiet time is important.  It gives the audience time to process what they just heard and saw, and to get back with you for the next bit. It gives you and your fellow players time to react, to share a moment.

I think the pause is underrated. Underutilized. In theatre and in life. People are uncomfortable with silence. We are afraid of what it might reveal if we sit in reflection. If we give others time to process our words and actions. If give ourselves time to really feel and react. Much of our daily interactions are done without thought or consideration.

I’d like to suggest a pause. Not too much, or the momentum never comes back. Not too little, or it’s ineffective. Work to find that right time in each situation that allows time for thought and feeling. It’s certainly not easy. But it’s very important for clean, honest, intentional interactions- on stage and off. 

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