Talking to yourself

One man show? Sounds good no? Control of your own material, how you see and play the character, what amount of tech (if any) you’ll use plus so much more. You are in complete control then you start rehearsing…

Besides one friend sitting in for half-hour, no one else has laid eyes on it. This Saturday evening a room full of people will see the 20 mins I have been working on. You start to question whether working on your own is:

  • 1) advisable
  • 2) lunacy
  • 3) the norm

You book a space for three hours and off you go. Did that feel right? Felt okay, maybe it needs refining. Why didn’t that work? I haven’t got the right way of presenting it. These are just some of the conversations in your own head whilst you’re rehearsing. Add on top of that the realisation that you have been talking to yourself for three hours, and conflict can happen. Have I done the right thing?

This weekend, whilst developing another show, I met another performing working on a one hander. I asked how often she worked on her own. She said for the majority too – sometimes in a shared space where you could ask others to briefly look over excerpts. Maybe I haven’t been as dumb as I thought…

Of course there is no uniform approach and you’ll always need eyes on the piece during the development process. Some of the doubts expressed above probably are due to fear. This isn’t the first solo show I’ve done. The other was at university however, a much safer place to try such an experiment. The parallels were again most of it was on my own – lecturers only ever saw it three times before it hit the stage – one was my dress rehearsal!

What I have learnt? If you are wanting to go it alone like I have –  get someone in mid-way through. That way if you’re up the wrong path, they can drag you back in time. If you’re not, then they can help pick up those pieces you have missed. Get a hold of a video camera and film yourself – don’t rely on it completely though. It is a useful one step removed. I tried a mirror but it’s still too ‘real time’ for me. Trust your darn instincts – that’s something I’ll always say regardless in a cast or solo. Also keep moving – don’t sit and think too much. Try it happy, sad, angry, or slow, mid, quick. Work backwards, out of sequence you never know!

Who knows what an audience will make of it. Saturday will be it’s first airing in a work in progress evening at the Barbican Theatre, Plymouth, called BETA 5. Now all that is left is get that tension and turn it your advantage.

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