There’s nothing quite like the extraordinary high you feel when you take that final bow after your solo performance.
Your heart is rapidly beating, your adrenaline is pumping, and it feels as if you are floating above the theatre in a cloud of pride. Afterall, you just gave your blood, sweat and tears to a packed audience of adoring friends, family and fans. Even if your performance was a virtual event with the audience safely at home, your post-performance high is other worldly.
And then there is the next day-
You feel thoroughly and completely exhausted on every single level. You are emotionally, physically and mentally drained. It is likely that you also feel a deep sense of loss or depression.
I call this the post-performance comedown.
Some solo artists continue to bask in their high for days afterward and their buzz gradually wears off; but more often than not, solo artists confess that after their initial solo show high, they experience an equally intense low.
This can come as a shock to the solo artist and typically they cannot quite put their finger on what is causing the complex feelings they are having.
So, why do many solo artists experience such a severe downturn when they were soaring solo a mere twenty-four hours prior?
While I am not a psychologist, I am a solo artist myself and have led hundreds of solo artists through the solo journey. That said, I have a pretty intimate understanding of the various reasons why solo artists endure this post-show bottom.
Here are a few of the common reasons why-
- You just got totally naked. Whether or not you literally took your clothes off on that stage or not, you were vulnerable in a way that most people never allow themselves to be. While that is brave beyond measure, we often cannot anticipate how that much honesty all at once will trigger our sense of safety, anonymity, and Now, you are left asking if you over-shared, if what you just did was any good and if anyone liked it, and your mind and emotions are beginning to run amuck.
- You just worked your ass off. Solo theatre is by far one of the most challenging genres of performance out there. While you might have an amazing Creative Team to support you; at the end of the day, you are still ultimately responsible for the final product. Therefore, it is likely that you rehearsed for hours and hours and hours, recited your lines ad naseum, promoted to the ends of the earth and back, spent money you didn’t have, and stretched yourself to your absolute creative limits to make the most inspiring solo art you could possibly make.
- You had great expectations. Sometimes, even without knowing it, you may have placed wildly great expectations on yourself, your show, your audience and the outcome of your solo performance. Maybe you thought you would get a much bigger audience turnout than you did. Perhaps you thought you were going to make money and you lost it, or maybe you envisioned being signed by an agent, hired by a casting director, or some equally big break happening in the immediate aftermath of your play that just did not come to
- You are questioning what is next. For the last several months, maybe even years, you have been eating, breathing, sleeping your solo show, and now it’s over. So, now what? What are the next steps? Will you perform it again? Did you just do all of that work for that one performance? Do you even have the finances and the energy to do it all again?
Those are just a handful of the reasons you might be experiencing a post-show comedown. While none of that is fun to experience, the good news is, you are not alone. You are, in fact, quite normal.
So, how do you do to avoid the post-show comedown?
I am not sure that you can avoid it entirely; however, just being aware that you may suffer some of these symptoms puts you in a much more informed position to practice excellent self care once you step off that stage or sign off of that virtual platform.
Over the nearly twenty years I have worked in this field as both a performer and a Director, I have cultivated a list of things you may consider doing to nurture yourself in the days following your solo show.
*If at all possible, take the day after your show off from work or any other obligation. Allow yourself to sleep, eat, go on a walk in nature and take care of your physical body.
*Schedule a therapy session, attend a twelve step meeting, have a conversation with a supportive friend or loved one, go to a yoga or meditation class, join a spiritual gathering, or anything else that will provide you with a serene and peaceful environment to feel your feelings and safely process them.
*Pamper yourself. Treat yourself to something you truly enjoy. Spoil yourself with things that fill your cup. Whether that is a massage, indulging in a delicious meal, or even taking yourself away for the weekend, just know that you deserve it!
*Celebrate this HUGE achievement! Please do not let this moment in your life pass you by as you plan professional next steps or beat yourself up looking back at past performance mistakes. Instead, raise your glass, pat your own back, and truly acknowledge that you just did what most people do not have the courage, commitment or talent to do. Your show made a difference for you and for your audience.
Not everyone is cut out for the solo journey, but trust that if you are taking the time to read this blog, the chances are good that you are. It may not be easy, but it is well worth it.
So, enjoy the high, endure the low, and then take great care of yourself so you can get back up and do it all again!
Let’s keep LIVE theatre ALIVE! Check out the various solo theatre resources, opportunities and events listed below.
Jessica Lynn Johnson
Founder & CEO of Soaring Solo LLC
Tune in and Support the SOARING SOLO SALON on Thursday November 19th @ 7pm (PST)!
Award winning Director & Developer, Jessica Lynn Johnson, hosts an evening of brand new solo show excerpts. This enticing program will be livestreaming from the Whitefire Theatre and will safely rotate 6 superb Solo Artists in and out throughout the night. 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. 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 & 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 & 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.
Watch a slew of sensational solo shows this month!
The best way to CREATE a solo show is to SEE solo shows! Jessica Lynn Johnson has proudly Directed & Developed over 100 solo shows in her solo theatre career and is still going strong! She would absolutely love to have you join her and the rest of the Soaring Solo Community at any of the following upcoming LIVESTREAMING solo shows she has had the honor of creatively collaborating on.
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.