I write a lot about the shows that I work on with professional actors. For actors, a solo show can serve so many purposes. It can re-ignite a career. It can connect actors with their deeper creativity. It is an opportunity to write their own dream role. For many professional actors, writing and performing a solo show takes their life in a new direction because the experience is so satisfying.
But what is the place of a solo show in a non-actors life?
In my experience, everybody has a story to tell that can change lives and reach hearts. We have an innate wisdom that wants and needs to be expressed as we go farther along on this journey of living. As we meet and overcome obstacles we are equipped to teach and inspire others.
Some people write a book. Some people write a blog. And some people write and perform a solo show. Solo shows are now showing up in lieu of a "key-note speeches". They are showing up at conferences, festivals, and at universities. No longer a marginalized art-form, solo shows are empowering others and changing lives in a variety of venues and under different circumstances.
If one doubts the impact of getting a message across in a clear and effective way that changes lives, look no further than the impact of Mike Daisey's one man show this year at The Public that shed a light on the abominable working conditions of Apple employees in China. The show was featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and inspired a public outcry and confrontation of Apple.
I have worked over the years with "regular people" who have had a story to tell and have chosen to create a solo show. Some have been Veterans, some cancer survivors, some have overcome mental illness or the loss of a loved one. Some have lived with HIV and some have become climate change activists. One had a small time mafioso as a father and was trying to come to terms with their relationship.
All have presented their stories to the public in a myriad of ways. All have something in common. They are each walking the "Hero or Heroine's Journey" in their own way.
After all these years of working in my field, I am convinced that we all love solo shows because we are all craving intimacy. We are all looking for models of how to overcome pain, sorrow and adversity. We are all needing to laugh and cry together. This is what our heart longs for.
I do this work because of the love. The love of expression. The love of owning "what is" and the play of creating "what could be". The love of the alchemical process that happens in the theater. The love of transformation that authentic stories tell. And the love between the performer and audience as for one shining moment, we rise on glory..looking straight into the fire and holding each other.
Change your life this year. Write and perform a show. Don't wait any longer to offer your gift, change your life and inspire the world around you.