This spring I took a class on Live Lit at the Story Studio. The Story Studio is a place where writers can go to take classes and workshops, or just hang out and write.
The concept of the class was writing for the page versus writing for the stage. What you’re reading right now is the page. You can start reading and stop, go back and read something or skip ahead. Reading on stage isn’t like that. Time is an arrow and it moves in one direction. Clicking above brings you to the stage.
It’s a different kind of attention.
Our first assignment was to write something one minute long, then two, etc., working our way up to five. The biggest lesson was that an audience never actively wants to see you fail but actually hates seeing you fail because they’re (usually) empathetic and it makes them feel uncomfortable to see you bomb. Their empathy and attention, however, are finite resources. So use your time wisely, and don’t abuse the fact that you have their attention.
I try not to. Here’s me performing my final piece. I went long. Sorry.