[EDITORIAL BY MENTAL NOTION SOCIETY ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JONALD JUDE]
I read an article earlier this month about solo sketch, or in my brain the “one-man show.”
With reading this and seeing the extent of improv/sketch friends create solo pieces, it always means a lot to me when a performer requests my services to Direct their one-person show. The reason being is that typically a person already has an idea of what he/she wants to put on that stage and for the most part, it’s like “why would I bring a Director in if I already know what I want?” The thoughts of efficiency and getting things done by yourself makes sense when the only person you really need to push around is….well, yourself. (And if you can accomplish this with product of a great overall show – nothing but props, friend.)
But for the people that actually reach out and find a Director to work with on their one-person show, it makes for a relationship of mutual respect and comfort. Besides the outside eye of providing critical feedback in refining something like joke delivery or stage picture, the pre-production process of a one-person show is quite therapeutic.
I’ve Directed two one-person shows [Stacey Smith's Confessions of a Chubby Tomboy & Lupe Sanchez's Porque No Comes]. From the very beginnings of each process, there were many sit down sessions where the performer and myself would get in-depth with why certain scenes/characters/situations were brought into play. As a motivator of pushing strong writing before the directing, I would always ask Why? And the conversations that follow do indeed become personal moments in this performer’s life. So you can see where the comfort comes in. The respect enters as it’s a one-on-one combatant on how the show looks & feels, as well as doing what an “authoritative” figure says to do after having friend-like comradery. AND yada yada yada…. (the rest of my process is a secret!)
I’m currently in pre-production with 2 gentlemen (separately) who Mental Notion followers may recognize from this past year’s Yellowstone: A Twilight Zone Musical production.
Chris DeSalvo’s performance piece is tentatively solo as it continually evolves as we converse. What I CAN provide for the audience reader as very minimal insight is a sample of the music that this man produces. Just a man, his guitar, and a plethora of ideas. Please take an ear whiff:
And then there’s Dave Sweeney. David has been practicing his stand-up routine for awhile now and has decided to take a personal story further into development. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that if you ever meet Dave Sweeney and he has a British accent, be sure to ask him when & how he made it to America. A truly humorous tale that I’m intrigued to learn more of as we continue our process.
The vulnerability that these performers place on the stage as a lone presence is courageous. I applaud them in pushing themselves in memorizing lines/movements to fit an entire hour (or more). Kudos to you solo-dudes & dudettes in letting your imagination run wild in the world that you created for yourself to share with others. It takes a lot to unleash….
[MENTAL NOTION SOCIETY]