Friday, February 24, 2012

A Solo Performers Prayer

Dear Great Supreme Divine Theater Junkie,

As a solo performer...please support me in the following

1) Let me move beyond writing monologues that really belong as "shares" in an Alanon meeting

2) Let me learn how to create interesting, funny and unique characters that bring my story alive.

3) Let me understand the difference between offering a great and compelling show to an audience vs. holding an audience hostage and making them listen to all my childhood trauma

4) Let me see the difference between intimacy and indulgence

5) Let me inspire and bring joy to my audiences through my whole, funny, open, poignant, powerful, enraged, tempered, alive, authentic, one of a kind Point of View

6) Let me have the courage to be myself, not a poor imitation of someone else. I am not here to be trained as a "Mini-Nina" or a "Mini-Ruth"

7) Going back to #6, let me have the strength to walk away from any performance/improv/acting/dance teacher who wants their students to embody a younger version of themelves, rather than supporting them in their original process. Let me remember that this is called "narcissism"

8) Let me believe in myself and be transparent enough to offer a true offering for my audience. Let them walk out of the theater stretched a bit. Larger. More expansive. Open. Provoked.Thinking. Feeling.

9) Help me find a great solo performance coach and director before I attempt to put my show on stage. Have mercy on the audience

10) Above all, let me have a sense of humor about myself. Life isn't so serious and it's my job as a performer to find the laughs, perspectives and inspirations along the way!

Thanks a lot for my gifts and for letting me born in the Era of Spalding Gray and John Leguizamo who have led the way~ Love, Your Servant of Love and Truth

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Staying Kosher or Why I am Performing A New Show


a one woman show
written and performed

This is the title of my new show and I am performing it this year, come hell or high water. Come financial ruin or panic attacks. Come global warming or weight gain. Come menopause...well, you get the idea.

I am a single mom. I teach solo performance, direct and produce an enormous number of solo performances every year. I train others to do what I do, run a business and produce a festival.

And, these are no longer compelling reasons for me not to be performing my own shows. My shows are what began all of this. My shows are what gave me my life, my calling and my purpose. My shows taught me what I needed to do to offer this form to others.

My shows changed my life more than any other thing that has ever happened to me with the exception of becoming a mother.

I am going to tell you the truth. The honest to God truth.

And it goes back to the aforementioned panic attacks. I got them. Unexpectedly and terrifyingly in the middle of my life. At the age of 38 to be exact.The first attack was right before I went onstage in one of my shows. I was sweating, felt nauseous and though I had been performing with ease since the age of 14, I almost didn't make it up onstage. I remember my director talking me off the ledge and once I got onstage, I was fine. But that turned out to be temporary. More severe panics came followed. My body was out of control and I would have these burning chest sensations that were terrifying and felt like heart attacks. I would become convinced that I was choking on food because it was so hard to breathe and swallow. For a few years they were quite debilitating. For about six weeks, I became agoraphobic and flying on planes became out of the question. And, so did performing my own show.

And, with the exception of a few times a year storytelling nights, I essentially just stopped. A few years ago, the writer, Natalie Goldberg said to me "Tanya, you have to begin again. It's what keeps you kosher" And, I know she is right. And yet, I have avoided it by saying that I am too busy with all my students, other writing projects, and parenting. But, I cannot avoid what my Soul knows. That I cannot become a teacher who doesn't perform. Because all I do for others is actually informed by my own art. And my art, like it or not is solo performance. As a performer.

My Soul also knew that I would need way more support that I have ever had before to get back on the proverbial horse. And so,what did it do but give that support to me.

My show is called LOVE. It is the show I have wanted to write my entire life. It is the show of my deepest longing, the impossibility of that longing and the longing denied and fulfilled. The show has been partially written for years. But I never had a satisfying ending. Now I am living it.

And so I am booking the theater for this fall. I ask you all to ask about it, and hold my feet to the fire. The way I hold yours.

And come to the show.....