Uncomfortable Truths and Unexpected Epiphanies

A couple years ago I was interviewed by Sara Felder for Theatre Bay Area Magazine.  I just noticed that the interview is no longer available on-line, so I am posting an excerpt here:

Q: If you can also talk about the role of solo theater in society.

A. I’m not sure solo theater is all that important to society at large, at least not compared to more mainstream forms of expression, but I’ve seen solo theatre play a profound role in individual lives.  Creating a one-person show can make you a better person.  You have to open yourself to both uncomfortable truths and unexpected epiphanies.  You have to acquire and hone new skills.  You have to connect with peers, producers, and especially audiences.  You have to push your thinking.  You have to figure out what it really means to “show not tell” and all those other things that are easy to say but harder to do.  You have to deal with the opinions of reviewers.  It is psychologically demanding work.  It takes months and months to create a full-length show.  And after all that hard work there are those few rare transcendent moments on stage where it all comes together, moments that are incredibly intoxicating and life-affirming.  All of this would mean nothing if there weren’t audiences out there who love the immediacy of solo performance, who love being entertained or provoked or enthralled.  And then there are those people to whom your show speaks in an especially powerful and personal way.  Nearly every solo performer I know has received a heartfelt letter or email from an audience member saying “your show made a difference in my life.”  We all have the potential to inspire each other in this way, and I think that is what makes solo work relevant in our scattered times.