A one woman show is a lot like a roller coaster ride. You are excited and nervous going in. You scream and laugh internally while it is going. At the end you say “what the HELL did I do that for”?
If you are the shy type like me, and only APPEAR to be an extrovert, this is an excellent exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it isn’t terrifying. It believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt who advised that a person should scare themselves at least once a day. I’m not sure why, but I am in favour of acting on opportunities that afford me to dig deep into my reserves of courage.
I don’t even like going into public place, particularly where there are crowds, so why would I not only put myself in print, up on the web, write a piece in a short time, learn it and then stand in front of an audience, and perform? I can’t answer why. I only know that it is a gigantic learning one experiences.
I call myself a writer. I was billed by the Belfry Theatre as an ‘Aboriginal Comedian’. So now, to add to the list of silversmith, singer/songwriter, writer, playwright, I can add comedian. It is an interesting title. I love comedians. I love, particularly, Fluffy (Netflix), and Ron James. Fluffy is a master Indigenous storyteller, who is hilarious. Ron James goes on rants and poetic diatribes that pull you in with their majesty, and throw cold water on you at the end in the form of a joke. Both unique performers, both brilliant.
I have studied the ‘format’ comedian’s use. They open and close with their best jokes. They sometimes use a recurring theme, an ongoing wink with the audience. They all have their shtick. Some of it very annoying. The excessive swearing and admission of far too personal information (Amy Schumer) to the point of the gross. The fact that she appeared to be drunk on stage and was swilling from an almost empty bottle of wine. If you use gimmicks, I don’t find you funny.
My audience this week for my ten minute piece called “Mohawk Air” is nervous about laughing at ‘Indian’ jokes. They howl about the ‘white jokes’. So far, the audience has been primarily of the Caucasian persuasion. The demographic has been older people I find it fascinating that they want to laugh at themselves. I’m waiting for the Indians to show up (get over the term; it’s on your status card for the love of God), and to laugh at the Indian jokes.
Terrify yourself regularly. I don’t know about once a day, but put yourself out there. Stop giving a damn what others think, unless you have a lot of respect for them, and their feedback is genuinely designed to help you get better at whatever you are trying to do. My family is ruthlessly honest. Which is very handy. They are also screamingly funny.
So go now, figure out what you are most afraid of, and do it. Unless it involves grizzlies, then for God’s sake don’t be an idiot!!