Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Divulging the Material that Will Create Your Solo Show

Creativity Coach and Comedian Alicia Dattner discusses how to put your life fodder together into a coherent and entertaining show.

Writing the story of your life (or any other made up story for that matter), and then performing it for others, can be a difficult task.  A one man show or one woman show however depends on your ability to reveal the nitty gritty of your story in a way that is fascinating and entertaining, as well as perceptive and often humorous as well.

Read the whole article HERE.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Setting Up systems, Letting Go of Goals

Let's say you want to put together a solo show. You could make it a goal to have it done by such and such deadline or to get it into such and such theatre or festival.

What if you removed the goal and just focused on the system for getting to your end point?

Interesting article: "Forget Setting Goals. Focus On This Instead."

Check it out HERE.

Friday, November 22, 2013

5 Ways to Promote Your Solo Show Through Facebook

I'll admit, of all the skills I've developed as a solo performer, marketing is the one that falls furlongs behind the others. It is not that I hate marketing, it is just that it is such a mystery to me. Push comes to shove, I can't say what makes people come see a show, or pick one show over another. I don't think there even IS a blanket solution for this dilemma. But, I bet one could hedge his or her odds. In that vein, here's a nifty article on using Facebook as a solo performer to market your show...

Don’t use Facebook just to promote. It may seem counterintuitive, given the goal here is to get people to come to a show, but the trick is to make people want to come to a show without you having to beg. The solution? Make them love you for you. Post “like”- and comment-worthy things. If you’re a comedian, have funny status updates—when people see that you make them laugh, they’ll remember that when you end up posting a future status update about your one-person show, and will thus be inclined to come laugh in person.

See the whole article HERE.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bill Bowers

Bill Bowers [Credit: Maureen Roy]
The confessional/autobiographical solo show is something, it seems, that everyone who's ever had a childhood takes a stab at. At any given fringe festival there will be a number of shows where the performer tells a very personal story of growing up anorexic/ agoraphobic/ foreign/ gay/etc. In fact, a fun game can be made of observing how these shows distinguish themselves from one another, usually with some novelty. My favorite is when the performer ties in the coming of age story to something like a sport or occupation (hair dressing or something) or even some sort of talisman (like a suitcase of old items).

Bill Bowers, who many consider to be the most talented American mime of his generation, has been touring an autobiographical solo show. This past summer he was at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The fresh approach for his performance is twofold. First, it is a spoken play in place of his usual wordless mime pieces. And, the piece includes his life as a solo performer.

The show is called It Goes Without Saying. And from the descriptions of the show, it begins as just the sort of solo show many rightly dread: a series of autobiographical "true stories" that, as an audience member, one hopes will be amusing. More often than not, one fears the show will actually turn into just "some things that happened to somebody I don't actually give a crap about." 
Bowers has an easel on stage, with the words "True Stories" on it, an easel that will then be flipped, page by page, by the performer. And for the first fifteen minutes of the show the audience is treated to this performance hook. It appears to be nothing new.
But this is Bill Bowers and things, inevitably, start to pick up. The play follows his journey of growing up a young gay boy from the Big Sky country of  Montana, one of the most under populated western states. He goes on to recount his outrageous jobs as a performer, his torment from losing a lover to AIDS, studying with Marcel Marceau, and the whirlwind of working on Broadway.
It is a full show about a full life. It has that artful meta-theatre vibe. It becomes something much, much more than just a series of "some things that happened." 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fringes, fringes, everywhere...

As a solo performer, one of the best outlets for putting one's show in front of many audience members is to tour it to a variety of "fringe" festivals. Fortunately there seems to be a renaissance of festivals springing up all over the United States, many of them much less expensive to produce at than their Canadian Fringe counterparts.

Enter the United States Association of Fringe Festivals

FringeFestivalsUS is an online directory and calendar of many Fringe Festivals around the country. Set up after a Fringe organizers’ meeting in 2008. It’s designed and maintained by the staff of the Minnesota Fringe Festival in Minneapolis-St. Paul; content is contributed by all the Fringes that participate in the producers’ meeting.

We at TSP applaud this resource. Great idea. Take a look HERE.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dailey rituals

Creating a solo show is difficult work. Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes a piece is developed over years. Either way, just as most creative individuals in other media figure out, a certain series of working methods must be developed to really, consistently do one's best work. With this in mind, I stumbled upon this great article in The Guardian by Oliver Burkeman...

Rise and shine: the daily routines of history's most creative minds 

For instance, Benjamin Franklin spent his mornings naked. Patricia Highsmith ate only bacon and eggs. Marcel Proust breakfasted on opium and croissants. The path to greatness is paved with a thousand tiny rituals (and a fair bit of substance abuse) – but, this article maintains, six key rules emerge.

Worth a look. Read it HERE.

Related articles... HERE and HERE

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

29-Night Epic Monologue on the Horizon for Daisey

From the Public Theatre website...

World Premiere 
Created and Performed by Mike Daisey 
Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory 
September 5 - October 3, 2013

Provocative monologist Mike Daisey, hailed as “the master storyteller” by The New York Times, returns to The Public with a breathtakingly epic theatrical event: a story told over the course of a lunar month, a new monologue every night, in 29 unique performances. Each evening works alone as a single episode, but together they tell a vast story that spans the globe and stretches across the 20th century to the present day and beyond, weaving together the secret history of the space race, notorious art forgeries, the angry ghosts of class and communism, and the still-beating heart of the military industrial complex. With hilarity and biting satire he will strive like Sheherazade to tell a story night after night, using our American empire as a backdrop to illuminate our moment here at the dawn of the corporate age. Audiences can be part of this epic experience as well as tune in online to experience the largest story ever attempted in the American theater.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Congrats to Michael Urie

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to North-Texas-Actor-turned-New-York-Solo-Actor, Michael Urie. Judging from the 2013 Drama Desk Award he recently won and a host a swell reviews he gives a tour-de-force performance in Buyer & Cellar...  a solo, multi-character piece about a young gay man who ends up working for Barbra Streisand.

Written by Jonathan Tolins
Directed by Stephen Brackett

Played at Rattle stick Playwrights Theatre
March 4 to May 12.

Here's a pretty thorough review on TheatreMania.com

And you can follow Urie and his possible future solo performances at his website.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dan Hoyle and process

Back in November of 2010 I posted on Dan Hoyle and his one-man show THE REAL AMERICANS. I saw him perform in in Philadelphia back in early 2010. Great show and Hoyle is a great performer.

Anyway, I revisited online a short kind of mini-documentary about the making of THE REAL AMERICANS and really got a kick from seeing Hoyle's behind-the-scenes process.

Definitely thought it was worth a repost.

And here he talks about performing in Portland at PCS and below that on Charlie Rose...

Dan Hoyle and Portland. from Portland Center Stage on Vimeo.

Here's a link to him in 2008 on Charlie Rose (be warned, the video is touchy...)