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."