For the experienced, confident presenter or speaker the pause becomes natural. For the less experienced it’s more difficult and yet mastering it can be the surest way to improved performance.
In music as Claude Debussy once said: :”Music happens in the space between the notes.” The pause – for dramatic effect – is equally vital to acting. This is what I learned from one actor answering these questions.
How important is the pause to the actor?
It is everything, the difference between the ordinary and the exceptional performance. It should be part of an actor’s DNA.
How do you know when to pause?
Sometimes the author tells you by writing PAUSE in the script, or SILENCE when a major interruption is called for. The director will usually ensure the instructions are followed.
Most times however it is instinctive.A recognising of the sub-text, a sense of the moment, feeling for the response you seek.
It is everything that cannot be said with words. A look. A breath. A moment of connection. The most intimate and profound moments can happen in silence, when the emotional weight of something is too much to express through verbal language.
“The most precious things in speech are the pauses.” – Sir Ralph Richardson