This is the second Meeting Recap for 12.03.13. Previously, I elaborated on how to outline a speech. Here I will talk about best practices when cutting a piece.
Tell A Complete Story
Your primary objective when cutting a piece (be it prose, duo, solo acting, etc.) is to tell a complete story. Make sure your selection has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Or in other terms, make sure it includes exposition (where does it take place and who is involved?), some sort of conflict (does your character have an obstacle to overcome or a goal to achieve?), and some resolution (don’t end on your climax — your audience won’t know what to do).
Establish Essential Information
In any play or novel, there are lots of sub-plots, dialogue, and even characters that are non-essential for telling the complete story. Cut them. (If the sub-plots are your favorite part, then make one of them your main story. But if that doesn’t include a beginning, middle & end, then try again.) Make sure everything you include advances the story.
Change It Up
Once you’ve eliminated everything you feel is not essential, you’ll most likely still need to cut for time. So how do you determine which content is worth keeping and which can be set aside? Choose scenes & characters that offer some variation in pace, characterization and tone. Showing variation to your judge will set you apart, whereas ten minutes of static performance can put him/her to sleep.
Good luck, and happy cutting!