View single post by Doug B
 Posted: Mon Oct 4th, 2010 03:34 pm
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Doug B

Joined: Thu May 20th, 2010
Location: Eastsound, Washington USA
Posts: 94
For the contemporary length record there is The Coast of Utopia which was done as three separate plays and ran a total of nine hours usually over three days but there were at least a couple of performances that put all three together.

Book-it in Seattle is running Cider House Rules part 1 and part 2.  They ran Part one several months ago, now they are doing part two but on at least some Saturdays they run the two shows back to back - part one as a matinee and part two as the evening show. 

Several of Eugene O'Neill's plays run over four hours.  Originally The Iceman Cometh ran five hours plus three intermissions.  In the latest Broadway incarnation it ran four hours and fifteen minutes with two intermissions - a friend told me that one of the intermissions was a long dinner intermission.

A couple of years ago I saw a production of Jeffry Hatcher's Murderers which ran a two hours and fifteen minutes WITHOUT an intermission.  Believe me - we were all floating long before the end of the play.  (Three 45 minute monologs.)  It was a new play then.  I hope he shortens it before I ever see it again.

I have to echo the others:  A play should be as long as it takes to tell the story.  Regardless of how long or short it is, if it is compelling theater, it will be presented.

If I can, I use a word count rather than a page count to determine running time.  Unfortunately most published scripts are not in a format that yields a word count.  I have had good luck with 165 words per minute - plus or minus depending on the number and length of stage directions.