So to recap, Part 1 of "So You Want to Write a One Person Show", I spoke about discovering the Central Moment that your show pivots on. You did free-writing about this pivotal moment and you held it close to your heart, a secret for yourself.
Part 2 of "So You Want to Write a One Person Show" we looked at the moments that lead up to the Central Moment of your revelation in your solo show. We explored possible turning points and after effects of the Central Moment, and we looked at possible through lines, the threads that sew your stories together into one cohesive piece.
Part 3, Write write write. It can be tempting in this phase to feel as if it's time to choose a topic and stick with it. You may have chosen a topic for your show in your first step but something else keeps coming up. You may want to talk about being a used car salesman and tell us about all the cars you sold and all the old ladies who bought them. But every time you write, you write about your mother's tattoos. Or your mother tattoo. It can be disconcerting to find that your subconscious is steering you in a different direction than your conscious mind. For now, don't worry if it seems like you're going in multiple directions, or if it seems difficult to focus. It's like making a patchwork quilt. You need a lot of patches. At a certain point, you take all your patches, and you see which ones matches…. Lay 'em all out on the floor, see what goes where.
What you're doing right now is allowing things to bubble up from the surface that may never have been give voice or permission to speak. I'm giving you permission right now not to know where this is all going, and I'm also giving you reassurance that if you stay committed to this process, it will go somewhere, in the end. As my friend Avishai says, "It's all good in the end. If it's not good, it's not over."
In this step, ponder characters: is this show coming from the different voices in your head? Different voices in your body? People from your childhood? Loved ones in your life now? People in politics? People at work? If it's a personal story, what's the context of the world? If it's a worldly story, how does it affect you personally? Show, don't tell.
Let's try some Natalie Goldberg-esque exercises. Do some of these or all! Do it in pairs if you can, and read them to each other after each exercise. Don't make comments afterward, just set the timer again.
- Set the timer for 10 minutes and write about the first time you tasted an artichoke.
- Write for 10 minutes on why you want to write and perform a one person show.
- Write for 10 minutes on performers you're inspired by.
- Write for 10 minutes on imagining the insecurities of the performers or artists you're inspired by. Imagine the/your world if they decided not to create the work that's inspired you, because they didn't think anyone would care.
- Write for 10 min on the one thing about you that you really don't want people to know.
- Write for 10 min on the one thing about you that you really, really don't want people to know.
Stay tuned for part four, and let me know how your process is going! If you have questions or concerns, I'd love to hear and address them in my blog.