Reflections on Solo Theatre
intended as provocations ...
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Reflections on Solo Theatre #1
For me theatre celebrates our connections with the rest of humanity ... its not all about us but what is created when connecting with our characters and stories and with the imaginations of the audience ... and it should be no different whether our characters are real or imaginary ... ourselves or other people ...
Reflections on Solo Theatre #2
Pina Bausch once said: "I am interested, not in the way you move but in what makes you move (like that)" ... and we should be interested not in the way we speak or move or feel but what makes us speak or move or feel (like that) ... we cannot make superficial changes to our performances without creating a lie (aka acting)
Reflections on Solo Theatre #3
Ken Campbell famously quotes Charles Forte in The Recollections of a Furtive Nudist saying that everything is connected to everything else and so everything should be punctuated with hyphens ... but that only connects what is on the page ... what we've already thought or felt or experienced ... Forte goes on to say that a full stop is a lie ... or a hyphen coming straight at you ... I understand now why I prefer ...
Reflections on Solo Theatre #4
Actors sometimes think its easy to throw together a solo show as a showcase for their talents ... showing off has nothing to do with Solo Theatre ... at its best the performers skill in communicating characters and narratives goes unnoticed as we (both performer and audience) engage with and are affected by the lives and experiences of others ... ironically this requires even greater skill ... to make it all seem effortless ...
The process can seem so easy because it is exhilarating to see the world through other's eyes ... but the preparation, focus and concentration required is immense ... we seek inspiration and insight but never know when or where they will come ... best not to think about how clever we are
Reflections on Solo Theatre #5
Solo Theatre benefits from a different approach to the text ... a different approach to direction and a different approach to performing ... Solo Theatre benefits from a different approach ... conventional techniques ... research/analysis/actioning and all the rest add ever more layers of words ... try vivid imagery/feelings/perspectives and the unknown ... leave open possibilities ...
Reflections on Solo Theatre #6
Don't forget the audience have imaginations too ... the audience will often create a better image for us than anything we can create on stage ... work with that shared imagination ... the audience are happy to play multiple roles ... they will fall into those roles unbidden (its why they go to the theatre) ... if you do cast them in specific roles do not fake their responses or pretend participation ... engaging with an audience's imagination is audience participation at its best
Never underestimate the audience ... but never make unreasonable demands either ... as Ken used to say ... you must give everybody a chance to get on the bus before driving off
Reflections on Solo Theatre #7
We often barely understand our own motivation or the reasons for our behaviour ... why then do that for the characters we play and exhaust their possibilities as human beings ... rather than imposing agendas on characters and narratives ... seek to discover them ... this is especially true for autobiographical work ... we may not understand ourselves as well as we think we do ...
I am always drawn in by the contradictions in someone's life or character by what I don't understand ... and these paradoxes are there to be experienced not analysed or solved
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