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FISH5: What is pace?

Pace could be seen as how the audience thinks.

In the fish exercise (see Fish1-4) I ask half the group to become audience and to clap whenever they want the leader to change. The shoal of fish have to change direction, change leader, on the clap.

There is no doubt when the audience want to clap. Everyone wants to clap at the same moment. There is a moment when it is too early and a moment when it is too late. After that the audience will begin to distrust you, and then become bored.

The performers' goal is to internalise the clap so that as a they feel the moment and change leader on or momentarily before the clap.

Audiences is ruthless. They are torturers. They enjoy clapping. They enjoy trying to make you go faster. It is a bit like the experiment where people are invited to press a button to deliver an electric shock to a subject. They develop a taste for it and press more and more.

But although they do this instinctively they don't know how pace works and this is your power. Your power as a performer is knowing that pace isn't about going faster. Pace is about changing the leadership. And you can play with that. Do it sooner, do it later. Think of a shoal of fish they change direction and leadership with a natural ever changing rhythm. And if the group can lead itself then it can lead the audience.

Pace is dictated by the time between changes in direction. Not how fast the fish are travelling. Change of leadership is the action. How often, how quickly it happens is the drama.


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