Acting Alone, the Life of a Solo Performer
April 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
Wikipedia defines monologue as when the character on stage may be speaking his or her thoughts aloud, directly addressing another character, or speaking to the audience, especially the former. That may be what solo performers do, but it’s very much more. I have been performing in one man shows for over twenty years now.
My first solo show was called “The Boston Twilight Mystery Tour”. Written and directed by Grey Johnson and produced by Carol Schreck, it was a 90 minute, 6 character voyage through the darker history of Boston and it took place on a tourist trolley. It might sound like a rather silly venue for an actor, but it was among my all time favorite productions. As an actor, you get used to relying on your fellow performers. They give you your motivations, reactions and even your lines when you go up (forget your line). When you’re on stage alone you get none of that. It’s you, the script and the audience and it can be exhilarating.
I actually had my inaugural experience on stage alone in my first play, “Goodbye Charlie”. The play started off with a long, a very long monologue by my character eulogizing his departed friend Charlie. To my and my director’s (Jim Lannon) amazement, it went well. In fact it was probably what got me hooked on being on stage. Umteen plays later my friend Jim Cooke’s one man show “Calvin Coolidge: More Than Two Words” got me thinking I should try my own solo project. Most people know me as an actor, but I have degrees in education, physics and instructional media. Ten years as a lecturer/photographer/writer at the Charles Hayden Planetarium also gave me a perspective on edutainment. Take all of the above, shake it around for a while and the result was “Galileo Galilei, the Starry Messenger“.
My goal with this blog is to share some of my ideas, experiences and discoveries on being on stage alone. I welcome questions, suggestions and your anecdotes on your experiences with the art of solo theater.