Building Your One-Person Show: Power of Collaboration

When is a one-person show NOT a one-person show?  If you’re lucky, ALWAYS! Allow me to explain…

As you create your one-person show, your work will benefit immeasurably from outside feedback, input and direction, just like any other stage production or play. In building my first show, I worked with a co-writer, directors, co-producers, choreographers, dialect coaches, set designers, lighting designers and musicians. All brought something wonderful to the project, and helped take my work farther than I could have alone, let alone even have imagined alone. In many ways mine isn’t a one-person show, even though it’s my story and I’m the only one on stage.

So how do find people and get them to work with you?

Find them by:

  • Asking around (ask friends, industry colleagues, local theaters).
  • Going to see other people’s work. Look for writing/directing/stage elements you like and find out who did it. Contact them, ask them.

They’ll want to work with you because (one or more):

  • You pay them. (In the big cities – LA, NY – there are even classes you can take to help you create a one person show).
  • They believe in you, your work, and/or your message, and they feel an urgent need to help get that out into the world.
  • They enjoy the work.
  • They want the credit for their resume.
  • You reciprocate and help them with something in return.

Don’t underestimate the power of the last reason: reciprocation. Team up! When I started building my first one-woman show, back in 1994, I teamed up with another actor who was building his own one-man show. We met weekly with new writing, read aloud/performed for each other, and gave each other feedback. A great way to get help, as well as the extra insight that comes from critiquing someone else’s work.

As it happens, I am currently building a new one-person show. I’m lucky to belong to a writers’ group, and they’re unspeakably helpful with guidance and ideas for the script. My partner Anthony is helping with the sound design, and I’ll have directorial help from another friend.

Harness the amazing power of feedback and collaboration!

With great love,
Jonna Tamases
www.madlively.com

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