SO YOU WANT TO DO A SOLO SHOW? Gareth Armstrong
Nick Hern Books
Published: 2011, ISBN 978 1 84842 084 7
Part of the ‘So You Want To’ series – see www.nickhernbooks.co.uk
Review: Rod Dungate 24 10 11
What a handy little book this is!
Both working with under-graduate and post-graduate acting students and reviewing small scale touring shows, I increasingly come across one-person shows. They vary from shows that are more like ‘talks’ to those that are clearly plays. Whichever they are – and the quality is variable – there is always something exciting about watching them; there is an increased intimacy between performer and audience.
Armstrong’s book covers all types of solo show – though he emphasises that a successful solo show will be a play in its own right. It needs a beginning, middle and end; there needs to be someone in the position of playwright – even if this is the performer themselves.
Much of the first part of the book is concerned with putting the play together; Armstrong works through the different possibilities and through some of the pit-falls. He outlines and discusses, for instance, ten different types of solo show. The second part is concerned more with the practicalities – including rehearsal, budgeting, marketing and booking. To the first night – ‘the one constant thing you share with all solo performers is the unique terror you will feel on the opening night’ – and beyond.
Armstrong’s book is all sound practical advice, and for the life of me, I can’t think of an area or aspect he’s missed out.
The book is written in short, bite-sized chapters, and, particularly in the first part, full or revealing and marvellously interesting case studies – a huge range of very different shows.
So not only a book full of good advice; a source of good ideas too.
Here’s a link to the book on Amazon: