At my first 24 hour new play workshop, I was asked to write a 10 page play. I wrote 25 pages instead. I don't know how to cut things.
My director took a dodge-ball and threw it at the actors until they learned all 25 pages. They were off book in under 12 hours. Eventually the director married one of the actors, but that's not relevant to the story.
The play was about crazy people. I only like plays about crazy people. I'm sure plays about sane people have some value, but I don't see it. This is also not relevant to the story, but I don't know how to cut things.
A buddy of mine came to see the final product. There were 8 shows, and the whole thing ran for about 50 minutes. 17 of those minutes consisted of the 25 page play I wrote in the first 12 hours of the 24 hour process.
My buddy decided to be a snarky critic of 7 of the 8 plays that had been created in 24 hours. He decided to loudly mock 14 of the actors who were performing 7 of the 8 plays that had been created in 24 hours. He spared 1 play and 2 actors, but I have a feeling he was just trying to be a good buddy.
I yelled at my buddy after the show. I told him he was being an asshat. He responded, "Sorry, I didn't realize theatre was the only art form you're not allowed to criticize." He told me he thought that what he had seen was not good, and his loud complaints and cheap jibes were his genuine reaction to the art.
I have taught a number of young people about theatre. Sometimes, when they don't understand what's going on, they make loud noises to try to get attention, assuming that everyone else must be as confused and bored as they are. I think this is called "inappropriately drawing focus," and I think theatre teachers do their best to discourage this behavior in young actors. A poor teacher will usually yell at the child and tell them to stop. A good teacher will figure out a way to make the child understand what is happening in the room, and find a way to motivate them to become engaged and interested in the theatre process. This paragraph is an unnecessary digression from the story, but I don't know how to cut things.
After my buddy had told me why he had behaved in the way he did, I yelled at him again and told him to stop being an asshat. One day later he was brutally thrashed to death by an errant hippo that had somehow managed to make its way to the American North East.
Sometime later, I thought about why it was that I was so irked by my buddy's asinine comportment that night. In general, I'm a big fan of audience members letting performers know exactly how they are feeling at any point during a production. So I wondered why it was that I was so furious with him that night.
The nearest I could figure, it was a problem of scope. He had only seen 16 actors play their roles for 50 minutes, and then he deemed it bad. I had seen 32 people get together and decide that instead of drinking 192 beers, they were going to spend 24 hours making 8 plays. I had seen 8 writers spend 12 hours putting 95 pages of text together for 8 directors to stage with 16 actors. I had seen 4 random challenges get thrown at 8 groups of 4 collaborators who were already dealing with 1 nigh impossible task. I had seen 8 groups of 4 collaborators overcome those 4 challenges, and surmount that 1 terrifying and exciting task. I had seen a group of humans get together to try to tell stories to other humans in innovative ways. I had seen theatre happen. And I think that's good.
But then, I don't know how to tell what's good or not. That's why I don't know how to cut things.