Authenticity can be said to be the heartbeat of one’s life.
The more authenticity you allow in your self-expression, your choices, and your identity, the more fulfillment and satisfaction you will experience for yourself, and the more positive, authentic impact you will have on those around you.
Every instrument resonates with the next: the most powerful frequency wins. You are an instrument too; one that you play extremely powerfully when you create and perform a solo show – a show born of who you are at your deepest and most unique levels.
Afraid that authenticity will seem egotistical?
Writing a solo show can be the least egotistical activity you can commit to. When done from a place of soul, rather than a place of ego, it is actually the most holistic form of theater, born and manifested from your deepest, most sacred personal vision.
Sharing your heart openly is a transformational experience for those who stay with you in that space of openness and vulnerability. That kind of authenticity does not demand change, it invites it naturally, like a flower opening to the sun, and you too are transformed by its performance.
Everyone has something to say, but most of us are afraid to say it. Or we feel something powerful, and we can’t put a core enough name to it. So we stop ourselves.
It is easy to say to ourselves, “Oh it doesn’t matter. I’m nobody special. What does it matter if I don’t share my story?” To that one person (or to those 10,000 people) who has been waiting for your story to be told in just your way so that that authenticity – that resonant musical “note” of authentic self-expression that is you – may activate her deeper knowing, it matters in the way that oxygen matters. Your simple story allows her to accept her experience, to heal, to grow, and yes, to live more in authenticity herself.
Solo Show As Authentic Healer
I have created and implemented a process to utilize contemporary monologues as a therapeutic form with populations of people experiencing trauma, transition or loss. There is no form that I have found that has the possibility of being a more powerful testament to the human spirit than the solo show. On a profound level, it is about the willingness to show up onstage and reveal our humanity to one another.
Unlike the artifice inherent in traditional theater, this is no smoke-and-mirrors euphemism. Solo Performance is based on the direct experience of the performer him- or herself. It is based on real life experiences. The emotional story is the performer’s story one way or another, every time. This includes documentary theater performers, such as Anna Deavare Smith and Danny Hoch, who are choosing their subjects for interview. It is their personal point of view and choice to frame particular subjects in a particular way that shows us who they are.
The Actor’s Exit – No More Casting Calls
One of the more frustrating questions an actor can hear is, “So, where do you work?”, as though actors can be employed as office workers are, which is not the case at all.
If you are an actor, you know that the primary pain of being an actor is the feeling that your possibilities and your future lie entirely in the hands of casting directors, and in the hands of that fickle mistress: fate. When you write your own show, and learn how to mine the wealth that is your own authentic being, in order to continue to write transformational solo shows, you take your fate into your own hands; you empower yourself to be the actor that you are, instead of waiting for the permission of “being cast”.
So how do I do this?
This is a process of uncovering, and it begins, always, with questions. Questions are sacred in that they invite exploration and openness. Here is a list of questions that will help you start to frame your story, your show, and your journey.
Questions To Consider If You Are Writing A Solo Show
- What story do you want it to tell? Why do you want to tell it?
- What is it’s most essential message at it’s core?
- How are you going to tell it?
- Will it be in 1st person or 3rd person?
- Who will the supporting characters be?
- Will the protagonist be you? As yourself, or as a character?
- Will you use media/ visuals/props/costumes? If so, how do you imagine them being woven in?
- What is the heroic journey the protagonist has set upon?
- How does it manifest in the outer world?
- How does it manifest in her inner (emotional/spiritual) world?
- What are her goals?
- What are her obstacles?
- Does she have companions along the journey?
- What are the stakes?
- Are they high enough to be dramatic?
- What will make an audience care about her?
- How is your protagonist vulnerable?
- Is there a chance she will fail on her journey?
- What are the points on her transformational arc going to be?
- What will the outcome be?
- Getting BIGGER than yourself- How will your show excite and transform others?
- Why is your show important/meaningful/enlivening to others?
You are the story.
You are always the starting point. You are the story. And everyone, including you, is holding their breath to hear it. Now…take a breath.