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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Process of Creating a Solo Show #5

So last I left off I was talking about how I started to write my story and when I got stuck I asked for help. Over 8 years ago, I told my acting teacher Michelle Shay - who most recently played a character Aunt Ester in August Wilson's play Gem. She already won a Tony for Seven Guitars. I'm doing my best to follow in her foot steps. Anyway I told her how I wanted to do a solo show. She suggested I meet with Elana Golden -
Elana invited people to share with her their most intimate and difficult moments. Realizing the cathartic experience inherent in the artistic expression of one's "wound", as well as ecstasy, she began to teach writing, using her own life journey as inspiration. Elana re introduced me to the story of Persephone -
I would be inspired to find my own story after ready about Persephone, but I was also scared of my own story so I put my pen down. Why bother I thought. I have nothing to say. I siked myself out real good.

A year went by and I came across Mark Travis. Mark has a process of developing and directing one person shows that has generated numerous notable productions including, Time Flies When You're Alive, and A Bronx Tale. Mark was taking on new clients and I had an opportunity to sit with him and discuss how I could start creating a show. Mark taped that conversation for me so I could hear what I was trying to say. I was confused and scared and just didn't really know what my story was, in a way I wanted him to tell me. The whole process felt daunting to me so I said forget it and walked away. I never called Mark back.

Cut to another 3 more years gone by. A story was itching in me and I was attracted to other people who had solo shows so I went to see more theater. One of the first was Fielding Edlow - writer and performer of Coke Free JAP. Loved it. I was intrigued with her intellect and smart writing, related to her angst, and saw a soul sister before me. Watching Fielding being a warrior and how she operated inspired courage in me. Love you Field.

So I thought maybe to get back in the game again. As I got out to see theater more I also came across Jamie M. Fox, writer and performer of Independence -
Jamie had mad skill in telling a story and I reached out to her for guidance. She was so generous to share with me her experiences and passed along resources and I started to feel like maybe I could do this.

As I was putting my intention to write a solo show out into the universe I came across Ruth Otero - another very talented actress. Ruth a professional solo performer was putting together workshops that help you create and produce your solo show. Two things I definitely needed to do. So I took Ruth's 2 day workshop and I walked out of there with a templete for a show. I was willing to write and see where it took me. Ruth gave us self contracts to sign and set the date for us to get our rough drafts done and to get a signature of a witness. I asked Jamie M. Fox to sign mine. It was dated 6/27/06 and I finished my draft 8/26/06. Thanks ladies. Ruth is awesome, sign up for her future workshops.

I started writing my ass off and then I remembered that a lot of my stories had to do with my ass and how that related to the past, so my working title became How I Got the Past Out of My Ass. I didn't know if that would actually be the title but if I could get away with it that is what it was going to be.

So I had my rough draft. I was so proud of myself to make it this far. That was enough for me. I could put it down now. But something inside myself said if you put it down it might take another 3 years to move forward. So as I was struggling to get myself do some rewrites my boyfriend broke up with me. I was shocked and then I realized I had choices. I could sulk and go to bed real early and cry for a couple of months or I can put everything I have into this creative project. I chose the creative project. Every piece of energy, resource went into the completion of my script. Everything!!!! I wanted to really experience moving forward and making it to the other side. There where so many people before me that have done it and I want to be next.

Once again putting that energy out into the universe, I started being lead to the next indicated step. At a social gathering I ran into Mark Travis again. I didn't think he would remember me, so I introduced myself to him again. I told him I still had the recorded tape of our meeting and a completed draft of my script. I asked if he would work with me this time around. I knew Mark was before me that I was given a second chance and I was taking it. Mark agreed to work with me and I made the commitment to work with him once a week no matter what. Mark challenged me during this process and we got to the nitty gritty of the story. Mark was then given numerous opportunities to promote his book and teach all over the world so our time together came to an end. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with Mark. Big smiles and hugs Mark

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