If you assume an audience, will it exist?

Perhaps more to the point than a faulty memory, is another, perhaps even bigger, problem. My audience. Where are you? Are you attending academic conferences? Are you reading academic journals or texts? Are you in the classroom? Are you on social media? Are you perusing print media? When I remember the sinking feeling my heart experiences every single time I read the guidelines for submissions for an academic journal, or when I present a conference paper before a tiny audience, or when I read yet another theater review that has gotten the performance exactly WRONG, I think NO, these are not my audiences.

Which brings us back to here. To me writing this blog about monologues. Because in writing it, I will make my own audience – YOU – even if I have to make you up. Sort of along the lines of the memorable line from the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, “If you build it, he will come”, but instead of me building a baseball diamond, I will build a monologue. And in that monologue, I will put into it all that I have learned about the solo performance form from attending scores of them, from teaching them and watching what students do with them when they perform them, from participating in a solo performance workshop intensive with Tim Miller which culminated in my creating a 5-minute solo performance of my own performed before an audience, and from doing my due diligence of reading the academic scholarship. And, yes, it’s true, my memory of the performances can be shadowy at best, but I can flesh my memory out with the help of reviewers’ details, script material, photographs and video/audio recordings when they exist, and when I get the nerve up with the help of the performers themselves if they agree to speak with me.

Incorporate an action here that marks the making of an audience…an exaggerated action that makes it clear that I am creating and shaping an audience.

Because everyone, or almost everyone, needs to see and hear the stories that these performers are telling. The stories that get us out of ourselves and into the worlds of others. The stories that are the ones NOT told in the mainstream media or on social media. The stories that are NOT told in the right way.

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