Tag Archives: one man show san francisco

So You Want to Write a One Person Show, Part 2 of 7

So You Want to Write a One Person Show, Part 2 of 7

In my last post, Part 1 of 7 on writing solo shows, 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 bosom.  

Writing solo show takes guts.  Mostly, the guts to get out of your own way.  You can still keep it private.  In fact, you could keep it private forever.  You could write this show solely for discovering a truth about yourself.  What is that private truth that you have not even allowed yourself to know about you?  

I have made so much sense of my life in crafting a story arc out of the miscellaneous and non-linear events in my life.  I believe we're hear to find and make meaning.  

Leading Moments

As you explore the Central Moment, begin to write about what led up to it.  What was happening in and around your life?  Who were you before that Moment?  What kind of friends did you spend time with?  What was your family like?  How did you spend your free time?  What kinds of thoughts ran through your head and why?  What did you know to be true about yourself?  Answer each of these questions with an example, a concrete smaller moment that shows us an event occurring.

Turning Points

How did this Central Moment then change your world?  Write about the changes that took place after this event happened.  Write scene after scene.  Don't censor.  Did your thoughts change?  Did your friends change?  Did people react differently to you?  Did you stop going somewhere?  Did you start going somewhere?  What did you start wearing?  A smile?  A purse?  A bathing suit?  A fedora?  All of the above?  Perhaps these changes seem to have nothing to do with your Central Moment.  All the more interesting to note them…

Through Lines

What co-incidences do you notice that have to do with your Central Moment? Begin to keep a journal of co-incidences and synchronicity.  Note each time something comes full circle.  Note the through-lines that string together the random moments in your life relating to this Moment.  Begin to think back to childhood.  What memories from when you were 4 or 7 years old seem to relate to this Moment?  Find the earliest memory that relates to this moment and anchor your through-line with it.  Then, look at your dreams and fantasies of your future.  Which of those have to do with your Moment?  Write about them in concrete ways.  Show, don't tell.  

Write Write Write

During this process, it's imperative that you don't censor yourself.  Set a timer for 10 minutes, and just write.  Don't take the pen off the paper.  Let yourself be surprised.  Know that no one will see it.  Say something to yourself you haven't dared to speak until This Moment.

Ready for Part 3 of 7 on "So You Want to Write a One Person Show"?  Stay tuned!  I'll be writing it in the next few days.

So You Want to Write a One Person Show? Part 1 of 7

So You Want to Write a One Person Show? Part 1 of 7

So you want to write a one person show? Not everybody does. It used to be most people felt they had one good novel in them. One good album. Five minutes of good standup. Maybe one good screenplay. You take the particulars of your life and assemble them in a funny or touching or absurd or poignant way and they become universally understood as human. And after that, you have to actually get good a the craft and technical know-how.  There's charisma, and there's skill.  Possessing charisma might bring you to the stage, but building skill is what can keep you there. 

Today, especially in the San Francisco theater and standup comedy scene, solo shows or monologues are becoming a great venue to speak your life.  And many people are taking the form to the level of mastery.  You've heard Eric Bogosian on CD, you've seen Spading Gray on DVD, maybe you went to the theater and saw your first solo show in person.  And now you're Inspired.  "This is it!" you realize.  This is how I want to tell my story!  (I'm chomping at the bit to go see two shows at the Marsh in San Francisco: Ann Randolph's Loveland, and Dan Hoyle's The Real Americans.  I'm on my way in the next week to see Dan Hoyle!)

So if this is your first foray into the world of possibility in creating your first solo show, where do you start?  Well, you start where only you can.  You already know in your heart why you're reading this.  Something incredibly important, intense, and powerful occurred in your life.  It may even be connected to some issue out in the world that is equally important, intense, and powerful.  That's where you start. 

Begin by allowing yourself to speak what that is.  But keep it to yourself for the moment.  This is a precious moment, when you acknowledge to yourself what it is you know you have to tell the world.  Take 30 minutes and sit.  Let yourself write the it down.  Write in whatever form: bullet points, a poem, short pieces of prose…  Write what comes about the CENTRAL MOMENT of this powerful event or truth in your life.  During this central moment, where are you?  What time of year is it?  What are you wearing?  What does the air smell like?  Who is with you?  What music do you hear?  What did you eat that day?  What are the sensations in your belly?  Write with a pen and paper if you can…  let those images and emotions wash over you and spill onto the paper directly from your heart through your hand to the page, and make Natalie Goldberg proud.

When you finish, don't yet show it to anyone.  It's a tender and sweet piece of work you're doing, and you deserve to have it held with your own utmost compassion before opening it to others. 

Ready for Part 2 of 7 on "So You Want to Write a One Person Show?"  Stay tuned!  I'll be writing it in the next few days.