Solo performance is “…one of the most beautiful, honest, powerful mediums we have. There’s an intimate relationship between the audience and (the actor)… It’s just a perfect soul exchange.” Or, so says John Leguizamo.
Given that, who WOULDN’T want to create a solo show?!
Well I’m in. And, as I’m doing research for my own project, I’ve found there are lots of resources out there which I’ll share with you. Firstly, In my experience if you want to do something, find another person who has already done it and then do what they did. You will of course put your own spin on it, but hey, a role model is a fabulous thing!
I recently met Tonya Meeks who has written a one-woman show and teaches workshops on how others can do the same. She sold out the Hollywood Fringe Fest and has since toured her show all over the country, and is MAKING MONEY doing it. Here she answers a few questions from LA Actor’s Blog.
Tell us a bit more about you Tonya…
I have worked as a psychotherapist, producer, writer, and actress in solo one woman shows since 2004. I love sharing my true life story in the hope of giving others courage to share their stories as well. In addition, I believe in theatre you have a cathartic process between audience and performer. This is a reciprocal healing process.
I truly believe we all have a story to share and that if we are authentic, vulnerable and tell the truth the story will land with an audience.
Solo work is different from a play because the cast consistents of one performer. Though I describe my work as a play with one performer. I typically break the traditional style of solo performance and include a live dancer and sometimes a singer to create a balance with one modality.
What do you feel you have learned from doing solo performance?
I have learned to stand in my own skin.I have learned to love and follow my intuition through performance.I have learned to honor and love my mother. Plus, each show I learn a new piece about myself and the characters I play.
I describe my performance work as a spiritual experience. I have been sober for 12 years and I found my spirituality and faith through performing. This an experience of trusting the universe, being in the moment, and letting god/divine speak through me.
What is your advice to anyone wanting to create a solo show? Where do they start?
You start with a thread of inspiration, a spark, a strong emotion, the thing that haunts you in your life. I go for the guts… the deepest piece. The piece that scares me the most. Yet, in this the light can shine through and the dark material for me has so much hope and light.
You start free writing, doing daily morning pages from Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and then start writing beats or areas that you want to explore– such as a relationship– then break down to specific piece, a climax, for example the end of the relationship.
Then I work in a nonlinear way then go into the theatre and and improv the sections you have discovered in free write.
The most important piece for me is I book a show date and then set myself in motion without turning back or procrastinating. Deadlines are my lifesavers in creating solo work.
To find out more about Tonya’s next Kuai Retreat where she’ll get you started on YOUR solo show click here!
Tonya’s sequel show opens
at Electric Lodge in Venice 3/30/2016, 8 PM
You can get tickets here
And find out more here
* If you are an artist in the process of creating your solo show / one-person performance piece, I invite you to share your process and your journey in the comments below, as well as info. on your show! *