Then, last week, I saw two one-person shows, one at The McCarter Center, in Princeton, and one here in Philly. The McCarter Center show was The Iliad, performed by Stephen Spinella. The Philly show was 1812 Productions's Why I'm Scared of Dance by Jen Childs, written and performed by Jen Childs (this show is similar thematically to what I had in mind for my show about learning to sing.) These shows have helped me (I think) to find a productive and creative approach to a show of my own; or, after having absorbed one-man shows over the years that I've liked, they finally occasioned the penny (or two) to drop:
- Other one-person shows I've truly enjoyed have been Hamlet, and Moby Dick, and anything by Spaulding Grey (whom I've seen live both at The Brattle Theatre and Lincoln Center) or Lily Tomlin. These are either first-person rambles, or personalized and essentialized dramatizations of great works of literature not originally meant for dramatic staging, but conducive to it.
- One-person shows to which I've never roused myself to see have been those about historical figures, such as Mark Twain or Ray Bradbury--and so, though they've been popular with audiences, that I haven't gone to see them is a big hint: I shouldn't do what I wouldn't see. Evidently, I don't care for the constraints of biographical (as opposed to autobiographical) rambles. I especially don't care for either the hagiography (whorish) or skullduggery (cheap) on which these works feed.
And so, yes, I do have something in mind, again, though I'm exploring the possibility of doing a 'one man' version of an-already (lengthily) dramatized version of an originally non-dramatic giant literary work. I make no apologies for that, since the dramatized version struck me deeply when I saw it, in the late 1980s. But, if this one doesn't turn out to be right, at least I now have a guiding idea more authentic to my tastes and interests to help me find the right work, as I didn't have a year ago.
*(I also had some worthy ideas of staging a personalized ramble through Shakespeare and the reactions to Shakespeare that many people have, positive and negative, but I'm not so comfortable with Shakespeare, myself, to feel at ease there. Those ideas need to mature.)