This Solo Performance Thing

images-21.jpgIt’s amazing that until very very recently, I was only very vaguely aware of solo performance and what it was. I guess my only reference point was Spalding Gray. And two of my friends from adoption world, Ronda Slater (“A Name You Never Got”) and Alison Larkin (“The English American”) have created amazing one-woman shows. But it was never anything I considered for myself, until I saw Lisa Marie Rollins’ “Ungrateful Daughter” while at Pact Camp. It blew me away. And I also thought, I could do that. I think. At least, I wanted to try to do that.

Lisa introduced me to her teacher, W. Kamau Bell, who is now my teacher. He rocks. He is an amazingly engaged, attentive, encouraging, honest and envelope-pushing teacher. I am loving this class so much, because of him and because of the amazing students who are doing this together. Every week is just a mindblowing, soul-exploding, heart stopping experience.

Little did I know when I began the class that I would be in the company of some amazing performers. Many of them are already standup and solo performance stars in their own right. It is so inspiring and humbling to be taking my little baby steps while they have been zooming down the superhighway for a while now.

So I have the feeling that this is going to open up a whole new bunch of events that I’m going to have to start cramming into my calendar with a shoehorn. I don’t want to miss any of it! Three of my classmates are performing in the upcoming San Francisco Solo Festival: Julia Jackson, Jennifer Dean & Lisa Marie Rollins. I am going to catch all of them next Sunday after my own class gets out. Come on down! Get tickets! I can tell you that all three of these women rock. And then, who knew, that one of my very own classmates is Aundre the Wonderman. She is phenomenal, and I can’t wait to go see one of her gigs.

Our class is going to be having its own final performance on October 29th (Sunday evening) so if you want to see what we’ve all been up to, mark your calendars.

It’s a completely different experience from writing, although of course it’s related.  Many of us begin with the written word. I’m still a little mystified about how exactly one goes about translating from “stage to page.”  But there is something so incredibly powerful about embodying one’s work, about inhabiting a scene and making it alive.  It’s terrifying, of course.  I am not a really physically confident person. So this is pushing me in big ways, similar to the ways that learning taiko drumming pushed me years ago (I miss taiko).  But it’s also making me feel enormously connected to people, and really to humans everywhere, in powerful and tender ways.

I love this class. 

4 thoughts on “This Solo Performance Thing

  1. I’m so glad. It sounds like a wonderful experience. And good for you for putting yourself in a place where you’ll be pushed and pulled in those big ways. (Thanks for the links; these look like fun performances.)

  2. Susan, I hear your voice while reading your words. Your solo work and writing are already one. Your energy and hope and raw inspiration are such assests to our class. I am really pleased to be working with you.

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