I am exhausted. But I’m so damn wired from doing my one man show tonight that I can’t sleep. So, instead I’ll blog…
I sang with choirs since I was in single digits. I had my first solo when I was 11. I performed in show choirs, a cappella choirs, quartets, duos, musicals, plays, and several talent shows before graduating high school. Since then I’ve done over 10,000 improv shows. Somewhere around 300 stand up performances. Somewhere around 500 or so sketch performances. A handful of other performances in various genres as well. But tonight was the first time I ever performed a one-man sketch show.
I wrote the whole show by myself. I came up with the running order. It was two songs, three true stories, and several comedy sketches. The house was 15 people. The running time was about 42 minutes.
It was the most challenging thing I’ve done in a long time relative to me. Someone with little improv experience might think that doing a fully improvised show is super hard. And to them it would be. I don’t think that one-man shows are necessarily harder. But they are difficult in a vacuum and particularly so when your strength is making up a show rather than writing, memorizing, and executing a show completely alone.
Having said that, I really liked doing it. And I wanna make the show I did better and do it more. I don’t know if it will ever become something big. But it’s very rewarding to put so much effort into creating something and seeing it entertain an audience.
Improv is awesome. It’s by far the genre of performing I’m most experienced in. I’ve taught hundred, maybe even thousands of students at this point. I’ve performed so much of it that I have no idea how to quantify it. I am not in anyway dogging improv. The ability to perform a show where I constantly am surprised by what I create is amazing.
But there’s also something a bit fleeting about improv. It’s kinda like a snowflake. It’s beautiful, but it melts immediately after it’s done falling. Having written a one-man show I have a baby. Something I’ve made. And I can hone it and polish it and do it again…assuming I can find a theatre willing to let me of course.
It’s extremely satisfying to be able to point to something and say, ‘I made that.’ Even if it’s something experiential like a show. A painter can literally show you the painting or a photograph of the painting any time. I can’t show you the show unless I’m putting it up and you’re experiencing it. But I’m still able to describe it concretely unlike improv.
“What’s your improv show like?”
“Well, it’s all made up on the spot, so I can’t really describe the content. Only the procedure by which I do it.”
“What about your one man show?”
“It’s a 45 minute show about breakups and how we deal with ending relationships. There are songs and sketches and stories. There’s a moment of serious reflection, a lot of dumb bits, and hopefully a larger thesis to the show about using humor to help us get over an otherwise painful experience.”
Again, I love improv. But I really like how I forced myself to create something real as opposed to just doing on-the-spot performances that fade into nothing after they are done.
I guess I’m just proud of myself that I put real effort that was outside of my comfort zone into something for the first time in a while. I heard someone say once that we’re always getting stronger or weaker. There’s no such thing as being truly stationary. I dunno if that’s true, but after this show I definitely grew a bit more as an artist.
A huge thank you to my girlfriend CJ for all her support. And a big thank you to all my friends who made it out to see the show. And also thanks to the many that couldn’t make it out, but sent their well wishes to me.