BardBlog’s got a good point, noting the difference between the prologue from Romeo and Juliet clearly saying “two hours’ traffic of the stage”, and with the more accepted feeling that Shakespeare must be 3 or 4 or even 5 hours long. Why the difference?
It’s all in how quickly you deliver the lines, apparently. “Stop acting between the lines!” he tells us.
Shakespeare’s plays (and most other classical works) are not natural everyday speech, it’s thought and action. When people criticize Shakespeare saying “nobody talks like that!” smack them. I mean, say, “That’s the point!” People think a lot faster than they speak, and if the verse is thought, then the words need to move a lot faster than natural speech.
Of course there are times when the verse should be spoken slower, and maybe even (gasp!) pause.
I guess I’d have to see it. Somebody show me a scene and say “These people are playing it too slow” and then show me that same scene and say “It should have gone more like this.” Then I’ll understand better what’s being discussed here.