“Behind every brilliant performance there were countless hours of practice and preparation.” – Eric Butterworth
After a significant season of preparation for your solo show performance consisting of writing, re-writing, memorizing, blocking, rehearsing, marketing, and the slew of other responsibilities a solo artist takes on; the single most important thing to do before stepping onto the stage to perform is to embrace a pre-show warmup ritual.
I toured for over 13 years as a solo artist and now work with hundreds of s as they prepare to perform their one-person plays. In all of these experiences, I have learned that there is a massive difference in the quality of a performance that had a significant warmup experience versus those that did not.
To bring your very best self to the stage, be certain to set yourself up for success by not just diving in cold. We need to focus on “An Empowering Pre-Show Warm Up for a Solo Artist.”
This month’s blog will focus on various components of a warmup ritual that may help you get in the “Zone” as a solo artist.
1) Step through the show
Stepping through your show simply means that you are standing on stage and walking yourself through the story you are about to tell. For some actors, that may look like doing a rapid fire speed through of the entire script executing all of the blocking and character work full speed ahead. For others, it may simply be talking through the throughline while marking the blocking loosely, and some actors like to hold the script in hand and read it quietly to themselves as they walk around feeling the support of the stage beneath their feet. The point is to envision clearly the path of your show before sharing it with your audience on show day.
2) Engage in a Spiritual Practice
A Spiritual Practice is not about religion, it is about getting yourself grounded on a Soul level. That can take on a lot of different forms. It may be done through meditation, listening to music and dancing or simply drowning out the outside noise, praying or chanting, doing breath work or yoga. Whatever gets you out of your head and into your Soul is what you will want to do to calm yourself, quiet your mind, and enter the state of serenity necessary to carry an entire show with focus and confidence.
3) Physical & Vocal Warmup
As a solo artist, your body is the vessel you have to tell your story both physically and vocally. Therefore, it requires a certain level of athleticism. Be sure that before you step on stage, you
have taken the time to warm up your voice and body. Singing scales, doing annunciation exercises, stretching, dancing, whatever method you choose, be sure to get your vocal cords and your muscles moving pre-show.
4) Hydration & Nutrition
While I would not recommend eating or drinking directly before getting on stage, I do think that properly nourishing your body in the hours leading up to your show is very important. You need your brain to be operating sharply and your body to be energized. You also do not want to be experiencing a dry mouth while speaking to an audience for an hour or more. Think about the food and beverages that pump you up versus weigh you down. Does caffeine keep you alert or make you jittery? Do carbs give you strength or put you into a food coma? Really consider what you put into your body on show day and make wise choices that will set you up for an optimum performance.
5) Character Meetings
If your solo show involves multiple characters, I encourage you to partake in what I call “Character Meetings.” This is the practice of spending time in the body and voice of each character. It can be helpful to start with actual lines they say in your show, but then allow yourself to walk around and improvise using vernacular they would use. Witness how they show up in your body, where they carry their weight, the facial expressions they make, the pace of their speech and the rhythm of their movement. Consider doing this exercise in the order of appearance that your characters appear in your show. This will help you organize their entrances and the order of events in your script.
This is a short list of ideas to give yourself a proper warmup experience before your show. However, there are so many more to be added to this list. Ask yourself what you most need to feel in your mind, body, and spirit before sharing your story from stage and then come up with a warm-up ritual that allows those needs to be met.
Being a solo artist is not easy, but it is so rewarding. So set yourself up for success by utilizing today’s insights, and please continue on your solo journey. It may not be easy, but it is so worth it!
Enjoy these Solo Theatre Resources to further guide you on your solo journey!
Tune in and Support the Soaring Solo Community as we share our stories from stage in multiple festivals Internationally!
Award-winning director and developer, Jessica Lynn Johnson, hosts a slew of powerful solo show script readings and fully staged productions addressing various impactful and inspiring topics.
This enticing lineup can be found by CLICKING HERE FOR MORE INFO.
Start writing your own solo show one Freewrite at a time with “FREEWrite Friday”!
Join BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST WINNER Jessica Lynn Johnson for FREEWrite Friday!
Utilizing thought-provoking writing prompts, Jessica will lead you in writing exercises that are sure to assist you in the development of your solo show.
A one-person-play is not typically written in one fell swoop. Rather, the Soaring Solo Methodology teaches that the creation of Solo Art is much like that of creating a Mosaic…one beautiful piece at a time.
All that is required to attend this inspiring event is a willingness to explore, having a pen, paper, or some other means of capturing your thoughts, the ability to access Zoom, and signing up on this page as your official RSVP.
We look forward to having you join the Soaring Solo Community in this event because your story matters!
CLICK HERE TO RSVP and obtain the Zoom link and password.
Attend the Soaring Solo FREE One-Person Play Development class ONLINE!
No matter where you are in the creation of your solo show, idea phase, curiosity phase, full draft written, touring the festival and college market, BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST & Founder of Soaring Solo, Jessica Lynn Johnson, will meet you where you are at and take you to the next level! All that is required to attend is a willingness to explore, a pen, and some paper. No previous writing or performance experience necessary, and no need to have written anything to bring to class. Each week Jessica will guide you in exercises to help generate and stage NEW material! So come and meet other creatives in a supportive space for expression and exploration! The class is ongoing and so you may pop in and out as you please as long as you RSVP by clicking here for this FREE ONE PERSON PLAY CLASS.
Schedule an Online Coaching Consultation with Jessica Lynn Johnson to discuss the possibilities for your solo show!
Jessica brings her 15+ years of solo theatre expertise to work privately with solo artists from all over the world on an as needed basis.
A 1 on 1 Consultation is for you if…
-You are curious about creating a solo show, but you need writing prompts to help you generate material.
– You are tossing around ideas for your solo show, but you need some accountability and encouragement to commit those ideas to the page.
-You have already written some material, but you need expert feedback on editing, story structure and play formatting.
-You have a great first draft, but need guidance on how to utilize multimedia and solo theatre technique in order to make your show a dynamic piece of solo theatre.
-You already premiered your solo show and now you want some tips on how to tour colleges and festivals, and garner accolades and great reviews!
-You have heard great things about Jessica’s work and you’re curious about hiring her as a Director & Developer for your solo show, but first you want to feel her out and see if she is the right fit for you and your project.
Wherever you may find yourself on your solo journey, Jessica will help you overcome whatever immediate obstacle stands between you and your solo success. If you resonate with many of the things on this list, then take the next step by emailing SoaringSoloArtist@gmail.com for more information.