Divulging the Material that Will Create Your Solo Show

Writing the story of your life (or any other made up story for that matter), and then performing it for others, can be a difficult task.  A one man show or one woman show however depends on your ability to reveal the nitty gritty of your story in a way that is fascinating and entertaining, as well as perceptive and often humorous as well.

via www.creativeheartcoaching.com

Whether performing standup comedy or making a new painting, your creative process feeds on bits of truth from your subconscious. Here's how to dig inside and get the goods…

Solo Performer and Comedian Bill Santiago Interview

image from assets.nydailynews.com Alicia Dattner> I remember you'd been performing for a year when I first started and we met… How did you start doing comedy?

Bill Santiago> I had friends that were interested and got me hooked. But it appealed to me right off. Say what ever you want to say. Use your wits. Get people to see things your way. Laughter. Applause. What's not to like?

AD> What was your motivation to write a show about dancing?

BS>Whenever I'm dancing I have this inner monologue going on, about about how well it's going or not, all the characters out there that you see and meet and dance with, whether I just nailed a move, or someone's foot, the constant frustrations and occasional moments of unparalleled joy, and the simple human interaction of being that close to someone you don't know and trying to synchronize. Plus how obsessive people can get about their dancing, and how far it's come, the Latin dancing, from the way that my parents danced, how people are taking it now to a ridiculously Cirque du Soleil level that is frankly laughable. 

And the way the different people dance the different dances, and how each dance has its own tricks and personalities, salsa, versus tango, versus bachata, versus samba, versus flamenco, versus cumbia, versus merengue, and on and on. And the teachers, my God, they're all such crazy gurus! And the whole process of learning, how you have to train yourself to absorb these movements into your own being, and how thrilling it is to be learning. There's a lot there. 

The quest to become the dancer you'll never be and enjoy yourself as much as possible along the way. It's a comedic gold mine, really. And combining standup so closely with dance is new for me, allows me to be physical on stage, and look for the humor in the physicality as much as in the words. And I get to work with super musicians, and invite people from the audience to come up on stage and dance with me. It's very interactive. It's always a different show, you know.

AD> What's your favorite thing about dancing?

BS>My favorite thing about dancing is the connection that you have with where you come from, this music stirs that in you, and the escape that you have from everything else in your day, in the periphery of the present. I love that when you're dancing nothing else matters, and if you're lucky you can let go, and maybe connect with someone else in a very unique and beautiful way. But it's high stakes because there is a lot of pride on the line, that's the stuff of funny. 

image from www.speakoutnow.org  AD> What's your favorite thing about comedy?

BS>My favorite thing about comedy is whatever latest the line I am working on to perfect, or idea that I am trying to get traction on. When it works, when I finally get it to gel and I hear the laughter, it's very satisfying. I like that bulls-eye feeling. It's also nice when people remind you that you are doing good work, that it has affected them, that it matters, that they want to see more and that you are appreciated. 

AD> How would you classify what you do? Is it standup? Is it solo performance? Is it something else?

BS>It depends on the project that I am working on, the particular show. The "Funny of (Latin) Dance" show is way beyond standup, but standup is the basis of my approach, I apply that skill, those chops to this new topic, and hopefully renders an entirely new kind of show. 

AD> Anything else you'd like to share with us?

BS>I'd love to share some of the spontaneous magic that happens on stage when I invite folks from the crowd to come up on stage and dance with me in this show, but you are just going to have to come out and experience it for yourself.

Bill Santiago performs all over the country.  Go see him. 

-Alicia

How to Actually Manifest Your Dream, Part 6 of 7

Pushpin
In the last post, we used different hats to have your inner creator, appreciator, and editor work with you.  Today, it's time to look at the logistics of your project.  Is it an album?  A one-person-show?  We'll take a break from the "inner work" to look at a checklist of possible things you might to do help the world receive your gift more fully. 

Take note that as you come close to fruition, you will be likely to find ways to self-sabotage all the great work you've done so far.  Keep in touch with your daily action partner, and keep posted somewhere the purpose why you're doing this to help stay powerful in the face of obstacles.

The creative part:

  • Is your work "on track?" Have you been spending the right balance of time creating/editing/planning?
  • Have you gotten feedback from people who gave constructive information about your piece without criticism?

The event:

  • Have you sent emails?  Put out a press release?  Sent the info to lists and groups and social networks?
  • Have you created images or video to let people see a preview so they can get exciting about the event?
  • Have you been letting everyone you know and meet how excited you are and how they can participate?
  • Have you asked people to support you by helping at the event?
  • Have you checked on the venue?  Have you checked on the people putting together any external part of your project?
  • Do you have to pay for services?  Let people know about your preferences?  Have someone host or introduce you?  Will other people perform/exhibit/etc at the event?

This is the time to cull all of the work you've done into what feels like a "finished piece".  It's likely that it won't "feel" finished.  Don't worry.  As my friend Brian says, "Better done than good."  You'll always have time to improve upon it or make something even better with all that you've learned from this experience. 

Before you present your material to the public, make sure that you've presented it to a good friend who can give you feedback with enough time to re-vamp anything that needs clarification.

In the final post on actually manifesting your dream, we'll get to the best part: celebration!

"Action that is inspired from aligned thought is joyful action.
Action that is offered from a place of contradicted thought
is hard work that is not satisfying and does not yield good
results. When you really feel like jumping into action, that
is a clear sign that your vibration is pure and you are not
offering contradicting thoughts to your own desire. When you
are having a hard time making yourself do something, or when
the action you offer does not produce the results you are
seeking, it is always because you are offering thoughts in
opposition to your desire."

-Esther Hicks

Want to write a one-person-show? Do it now!

Longnow
I've been working on my one-woman-show for the last year, and I'm
really excited to let you know it's going to be featured in the 2008 San Francisco Fringe Festival in September!  It's called The Punchline,
and it's all about my dream of being a famous comedian and the things
that get in my way…  I've had lots of help from some really talented
and generous people, and I'd like to share with you some simple ways to
get started.

So, here are five easy steps to get started now on your one-man-show, a one-woman-show, a solo-transgender show, or a
very long monologue from someone of unspecified gender… 

Step one:  Decide
to tell your life story.  (This is what all first works are
about–first albums, first books, first drinks…  You can write about
politics and stuff when you've gotten yourself out of the way.)

Step two:  Write your truth, and tell it from the point of view of all the characters in your life (or all the characters in your head.)

Step three: Book
a show two months from now, and tell everyone you know to come see
you.  Publicize!  (This ensures that you'll really do it.)

Step four:  Get
some studio time and a director to give you feedback and incorporate
it.  Then, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.  (Don't ask your wife or your
boyfriend or your dog what they think of your work.  They won't be able
to give you helpful criticism until they see the show on opening night.)

Step five:  Perform! 
Take your due on stage, strut your stuff, and tell your story for
real–be the most you-est you you've ever been, share your story in a
way that lets the audience fully see who you really are.  (Hint: the
less you care how good you are, the better you'll be.)

In another blog, I'll let you know about some good teachers, directors, and other resources for solo shows.

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So, do it now!  "Yesterday is rarely too early but tomorrow is frequently too late."