Performing a one-person show is hella fun. You thinking of doing one? I say go for it, and I’m going to help you. In this blog series I will share with you all my ideas and experiences with writing, self-producing, and performing a solo show.
To begin: Why do it? What can you expect to get out of it? Based on my experiences from years of performing mine, here are some benefits and results you can expect from doing a one-person show (and in my subsequent blog, I’ve list some results you ought not to count on):
You can expect:
Freedom of material – It’s a creative free for all, like a great puzzle, figuring out how to tell your story creatively, playing with all the different elements of theater craft: characters, music and sound effects, recorded voice over, lights, narrative structure, costuming, staging. Big toy box, all yours.
Confidence as a performer – there you are, standing on stage, tethered to nothing but your own presence there. Some may see this as a frightening thing – the whole shebang is riding on you! I see it as freedom and great training for feeling comfortable in front of audiences. Much becomes clear: what works and what doesn’t, how the audience wants you to succeed. I love that direct connection with the audience; it’s unambiguous.
Satisfaction of telling a full story – You’re not just a bit player – the butler who comes on in Act 2, or the co-star who gets one line. This is all you, taking the audience on a full journey. You get to flex your full actor/performer muscle. No holding back. You take the audience through the funny parts, through the drama, to the climax, to the end. It’s rich and rewarding acting work.
Relatively easy to produce – I say ‘relatively’ because while producing theater is straightforward, it’s intense; you’re juggling lots of details all at once for a prolonged period of time. But a one-person show is nimble. Where a multi-actor play might require a 50’x30’ stage with full lighting, multiple set pieces, tons of wardrobe, tons of actors to corral, etc., a one-person show can be done with a minimal set (I use just a chair), in a variety of venues (I’ve performed in tiny theaters, massive theaters, conference rooms, hotel ballrooms, outdoor stages, a movie theater, churches, a lobby atrium, a restaurant), and with minimal technical needs, if desired. Have show, will travel!
Those are some of the goodies. Enjoy!
With great love,