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.
In writing my solo show last year, there were a lot of obstacles. I wanted to tell a story, but I didn't really know what the story was. I knew I had traveled to India. I knew how I felt before. I knew how I felt after. But when people would ask me what I learned or gained from the trip, it was difficult to really put it into words. There were also a lot of personal changes that I went through in the past couple of years that related to my trip to India. I broke up with the man I was seeing during that time, and it became imperative to include my relationship in the telling of the story. Only I didn't quite realize that it was over with him! And in order to tell the story about how India changed me, I had to live it. Art was imitating life which was imitating art.
What stories are you living out, and are you able to step back and see them? It can be difficult to see things that are in our blindspots, and even more difficult to speak them, let alone to speak them to the public. These "secrets", these things we know but don't tell even ourselves, these pieces of ourselves we hide from daylight, they are the juiciest, most delicious parts of your story. They are what make people come to the theatre. They are what move us to laugh and cry when watching someone on stage who we don't know or care about, who suddenly becomes an inspiration. It could be information about a violation, a betrayal, a secret fantasy, a longing, an indiscretion… How deep can you go? And will it benefit you to go there? Will it benefit your audience as well?
To access these parts of you, try an exercise: take several deep breaths deep into your belly. Sit with your back straight and your feet on the floor. Let your eyes close and your breath return to normal. Ask your conscious mind to relax, and begin to allow the subconscious mind to speak. Information may come in phrases, pictures, or sounds. Focus now on the story at hand. Ask your subconscious to un-conceal whatever it is that would be most helpful for you to know in order to tell this particular story. Sometimes it can help to trick yourself a little in order to hear the answer.. You can tell yourself that you don't have to stick with the answer–that you only have to hear it once and can forget it if it's too much, which it could be. Know that your subconscious will only allow itself to divulge information which you can currently handle. When you're ready, take another few deep breaths, sense your body, come back to the room, and then write for at least five minutes about what you discovered.
If you're looking for more support in developing your one person show, consider solo show coaching with me. I work via Skype with actors, writers, and standup comedians across the country.
Comedian & Creativity Coach