Author Topic: AEA Breaks during very long one-act readthrough  (Read 2472 times)

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Kalsang

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AEA Breaks during very long one-act readthrough
« on: Dec 20, 2011, 01:52 am »
Post #1:
My question is, what constitutes a run through?  I had a first read through of a one act tonight, and when I saw that we still had 30+ pages to go at 80 minutes, we broke.

I would not have broken if it were a design run, but at a first read I was unsure and decided to err on the side of caution. 

The one act timed out at 1 hr, 50 minutes with a main character who is on every page of the script...

The Director allowed me to break, but the Artistic Director wanted clarification on the rule... This is SPT, and there is no rule...

Merged with post #2:
So my question is... what constitutes a run?  Is a first read-through a run?

I did a first read through tonight, and the one act - assumed to be about 90 minutes - turned out to be 110 minutes...  The artistic director questioned my request to break  (he was right that it interrupted the flow etc.) but, while I am happy to skip breaks during a design run or a dress run, it seemed like a first read through was dubious...

Again, this is an SPT house, and I could find no reference in the handbook.

EDIT: Merged Kalsang's two questions together and split off the discussion into its own separate thread. Some posts below will appear to be doubles if members responded to both of the original questions. - PSMKay
« Last Edit: Dec 27, 2011, 01:18 pm by PSMKay »

MatthewShiner

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Re: Re: Breaks During Run-Throughs
« Reply #1 on: Dec 20, 2011, 02:14 am »
I would argue that a read thru, up until intermission, would count as a run - but I would give a longer break. 

Now, if they were discussing and not just reading, then I would call foul and take a break.

But, I feel like you can always prepared everyone for this by saying, we are going to do a read of Act 1 up until intermission, and then take a 15 minute break. 

I have never had a cast question that choice. 
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nick_tochelli

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Re: Re: AEA Break Question
« Reply #2 on: Dec 20, 2011, 06:56 am »
What there should be is a rule against one acts being longer than an hour and a half in run time....

I personally don't consider read throughs a run through. While I understand the first read is intended for everyone to get the the flow of the show, I don't feel there's harm in taking the break. It also depends on the director and if they are stopping to work on something/explain something. If they're doing that, take the break definitely.

That being said, I've also plowed through breaks to finish a read through and tack time onto the break to make up for it. But it's something I will run past the director and cast before we start the reading. I've always viewed this as a discretionary call.

Rebbe

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Re: Re: Breaks During Run-Throughs
« Reply #3 on: Dec 20, 2011, 08:35 am »
I usually have had productions take a break during first-read through for one acts, but I will have discussed with the director beforehand where a good stopping point would be.  I’d want to find a place to take a 5 in the middle of the play, even if it means breaking earlier than 50 minutes in, rather than cutting us off right at 80 when the end is in sight.  At the same time I could see doing as Matthew suggests for a 2-3 act play. 

If you were just caught off guard by how long it was going and wanted to protect the actors’ rights, it might be helpful at this point to have a chat with the director so they know where you were coming from, and that you are not completely inflexible moving forward. 

My discussion with AEA centered around runs directly preceding tech week, and I think they may have given a different answer for first reads, so I believe your decision was supported by the rules as written in SPT.  While a break does interrupt the flow, my perspective is that a first-read isn’t the epitome of beautiful flow-ing-ness to begin with, and it’s important to establish early that breaks will be respected.  I’ve found that if the first read through is at the kind at first rehearsal that’s swimming with VIPs and the entire theater staff,  plenty of them will be eager for a break earlier than 80 or 90 minutes in.  It’s also a stressful day for the cast, and I think giving them a chance to relax and refresh will be of greater benefit in terms of seeing the flow of the end of the play than pushing through would be.
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smejs

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Re: Re: AEA Break Question
« Reply #4 on: Dec 20, 2011, 08:59 am »
To constitute a read-through as a non-stop run seems silly to me. I've almost always stopped during a read-through...but granted, it's also often stopped itself by some discussion. It usually gives a director a chance to bring up a "thought" when you come back from break before going on, too.

I'd want to pull someone else in to help me make the runthrough call though, especially since there's no SPT rule. And if you decide you're going to make it a runthrough, make sure everyone knows and what constitutes it no longer being a runthrough in some pre-determined discussion. (An arbitrary discussion, but might as well try to lay out something.)

smejs

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Re: Re: Breaks During Run-Throughs
« Reply #5 on: Dec 20, 2011, 09:06 am »
I don't know that I've ever had a nonstop read through, so I've never thought about doing one of those without stopping. But I do think like Matthew said to prep it ahead of time like that "we're running this much, then taking this longer break...without stops" for a run, so you're not quite as dubious about it. I do wish that this was clearer in all of the books. At least you can pull wording from other contract books as a sort of backup of why you thought it might be legal.

VSM

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Re: Re: Breaks During Run-Throughs
« Reply #6 on: Dec 20, 2011, 12:04 pm »
Use your common sense people. Put away your stopwatches and let the flow of the play dictate the break time.
If you need to stretch the time to 85 minutes to accommodate the material, by all means make that call. If you have the chance to break earlier, do it. Feel the room, use your intuition. Don't abuse anyone but don't be inflexible either...
Ordo ab chao

Kalsang

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Re: Re: Breaks During Run-Throughs
« Reply #7 on: Dec 20, 2011, 11:50 pm »
Thanks folks.  FWIW, I talked to the director prior to the read through, and we both thought it would be about a 90 minute read.  I would have simply been flexible and let us get through it, but when we got into it, it was a lot longer than we thought -- 110 minutes... 

All you can do is use best judgement in a given situation.  I did that, and explained my reasoning.

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