All the world’s a stage

Surely by this point you know better than to think I am kidding. Or that I could let too much time pass by without still another Shakespeare allusion. Was Shakespeare kidding when he gave Jaques these words in As You Like It? Would I be writing all of these blog posts if I didn’t think there was something to this notion of the world being a stage and the stage being a world?

So, yes, even if you are far, far, far away from Broadway and Times Square (which at this time of year is probably a good thing), it might be fun to think about how you, too, can fit yourself into the world of theater. Hopefully, by now, if you hadn’t already been doing this,  you are tossing around the idea that even though you may be far away from NYC (whether physically, psychically or spiritually), you can still access and experience the power of the theater and specifically the power of the solo performance through a variety of methods.

Yes, you can PERFORM a solo performance, whether yours or someone else’s, whether on an actual stage before an actual audience, or in your bathroom before the mirror, or in a classroom, and yes it can be empowering.

Yes, we can and should READ solo performances. But we need to publish more solo performance texts in order to do this. I love Extreme Exposure, but so many more solo performances have been created since 2000. Yes, there are individual scripts of Tim Miller’s work and of Anna Deavere Smith’s work and of Holly Hughes’ work and of Danny Hoch’s work and of John Leguizamo’s work (including a graphic narrative version of Ghetto Klown), but there are no published scripts for lots of other performers and, perhaps more important, there is no new anthology that allows these voices to be read/heard together. We need a new anthology that contains the words of a Joe Assadourian AND a Lucie Pohl AND a Diana Oh AND a Liza Jessie Peterson or any of the dozens of others that I have mentioned. In order to teach/write about/archive these works, we need to have access to more of their written texts.

Yes, a REVIEW can help those who aren’t able to attend a live performance, understand what happens during the live performance. Though rant number 1 despairs over the state of theater criticism, I still haven’t given up on the possibility of reviewers helping us to access the work of solo performances. If theater critics do their jobs properly, there will be much more access to these performers and to their performances. When I say access, I mean ACCESS. Access comes when the review helps us see what actually happens on stage between the performer and the audience.

And, yes, you can ATTEND a solo performance. I still haven’t given up on the possibility of folks accessing these performances in person themselves and the move of more than a few solo performers to the bigger houses of Broadway suggest that a solo performance can indeed sustain large numbers of audiences. BUT this cannot happen if pricing continues to skyrocket through the roof. And, it’s probably also necessary to get these solo performances onto stages outside of the big cities.

So where will we find you in this world that is a stage? In front of it, behind it, on it, or some combination of the three?

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