As the tumult of 2020 comes to an end, I invite you to make some meaningful progress on your solo show so that your one-person play can come to fruition in 2021.
With that intention in mind, I invite you to experiment with what I’ve coined the “Mosaic Method” of creating a solo show.
As I always say to my students, the process of writing a solo show is much like that of creating a vibrant mosaic.
First, you accumulate many beautiful pieces, then you sift through these eclectic pieces to determine which ones will make it into your final work of art, and finally you arrange these pieces into one cohesive masterpiece.
While I cannot delve into this methodology in its entirety in a single blog entry, I will give you a tasty sample that is sure to help you make some meaningful progress on your solo show.
The Mosaic Method is rarely linear and therefore freewriting without censorship is an important aspect of this approach.
Below are a few poignant questions to help you begin to develop some magnificent mosaic pieces, and eventually allow them to culminate into a powerful one person play.
So, grab a pen and some paper and, one at a time, freewrite on these questions and see what your responses reveal to you about what your solo story wants to be.
1) What is an important question you have sought to answer throughout your life?
In traditional playwriting, there is usually a Dramatic Question.
A Dramatic Question is the central question that your solo show and/or the protagonist of the play (which may or may not be you) seeks to resolve throughout the course of your script. The story arc and various plot points should contribute to answering that question.
In order to avoid a solo show that merely meanders from one anecdote to another, with no clear direction or driving force behind it, it is essential to determine what Dramatic Question your play aims to answer.
For example, maybe your story asks:
Does true love exist?
Will money lead to real happiness?
What is healthy sexuality?
Is there a God?
How can serious trauma be healed?
And so on and so forth.
There may be several important questions that you are currently pondering or have pondered over the course of your life; so, it may take you some time to determine which question you want to focus on for this particular solo show and that is ok. Take your time and explore.
Let your intuition, curiosity and creativity guide you and eventually the dominant dramatic question will become clear.
2) Who are the primary people that have impacted your life the most?
Any good play has captivating characters. Whether we love them or hate them, the cast of characters in a play must capture our attention and help to propel the story forward.
With that in mind, consider who your mentors have been, what enemies you’ve battled, which lovers you’ve connected with, the best friends you’ve related to, the mysterious strangers you’ve encountered, and the family you’re from. Start to evaluate all of the main characters of your life.
As you isolate who these key players are, recall how they have influenced you and your life journey. Reflect upon the lessons they have taught you, and how they have changed and challenged you for better or for worse.
3) What is the genre of your life story?
Every solo show has its own style.
As you assess your life, does it have the tone of a romantic comedy, a dark comedy, an action film, a family classic, a horror or a thriller, a mystery or a drama, or even a true love story?
Honing in on the “genre” of your life will help you give a personality to your one person play and identify which stories from your life might best suit that “genre.”
That’s the beauty of solo shows, there’s no one way to do it, and no “correct” style to adhere to. Therefore, categorizing your life in this way will help guide you as you add your unique touch to the genre of solo theatre.
Hopefully, freewriting on these questions and considering these concepts has helped you to start to collect some colorful mosaic pieces, and don’t stop here! Check out the various solo theatre resources below to help your mosaic pieces manifest into a solo theatre masterpiece.
Jessica Lynn Johnson
Founder and CEO of Soaring Solo LLC
Tune in and Support the “SOARING SOLO SALON” on Thursday December 17th @ 7pm (PST)!
Award winning director and developer, Jessica Lynn Johnson, hosts an evening of brand new solo show excerpts. This enticing program will be pre-recorded and then safely streamed from the Whitefire Theatre featuring six superb Solo Artists. There will be a post show Q&A with all of the artists, hosted by Jessica, on Zoom. This event will be monthly. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THE SOARING SOLO SALON.
Start every Hump Day off right with FREE Guided Meditation and Writing Prompts with “Isolate Meditate Create”!
Join BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST WINNER Jessica Lynn Johnson EVERY HUMP DAY @ 9AM (PST) on ZOOM for ISOLATE. MEDITATE. CREATE!
This is a 100% free, guided meditation and writing prompt experience is designed to keep you healthy, connected and creative EVERY HUMP DAY during STAY AT HOME and who knows, maybe you will even write your one person play with the content you create.
CLICK HERE TO ATTEND ISOLATE MEDITATE CREATE 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 and 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.
1 on 1 coaching and 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 resonated with many of the things on this list, then take the next step by emailing SoaringSoloArtist@gmail.com for more information.