Back in November, when I saw the Shakespeare’s Globe touring production of Love’s Labor’s Lost up in Santa Barbara (short review // full review in podcast), I mentioned that in the critical press, some balked at the edit of the play, complaining that the (pre-intermission) first half runs all the way to the end of Act Four.
Well, I usually like it when the intermission takes place somewhere between the halfway point and the two-thirds point of the play (as long as it feels organic to the plot and pacing of the play as a whole). Anything before the midpoint, and you’re making the audience work harder in that second half when play-fatigue may be setting in; anything later, and “what’s the point?” the play was going to end soon anyway.
And the end of Act Four? Well, it’s about 60% of the way through the text. So that works for me. And for organically dramatic pause? Act Four ends with the men’s decision to abandon their oath, woo and win the women, and provide “some entertainment for them in their tents” (IV.iii.347). And that works REALLY well.
makes me wonder if these critics have ever read the play, or only some kind of Cliffs Notes summary of what happens in every scene, not realizing that the fifth act is a MONSTER in length…