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Reflections on (Solo) Theatre

20 September 2018


COLIN WATKEYS

I wrote these reflections a couple of years ago and realise
it all comes down to what you say not how you say it
Form is never more important than content
form merely serves to communicate more effectively ... but
we do not always find the form to communicate something effectively ... 
and that is why we may need to concentrate on form ... just for a bit ...
and not for its own sake but for what needs to be expressed ...

Face to Face Theatre Website

Reflections on Solo Theatre (2015)


Reflections on Solo Theatre #1
For me theatre celebrates our connections with the rest of humanity ...
its not all about us ... but what is created when connecting with
our characters and stories and with the imaginations of the audience ...
and it should be no different whether our characters are real or imaginary ...
ourselves or other people ...
 
Reflections on Solo Theatre #2
Pina Bausch once said:
"I am interested, not in the way you move
but in what makes you move (like that)" ...
and we should be interested not in the way we speak or move or feel
but what makes us speak or move or feel (like that) ...
we cannot make superficial changes to our performances without creating a lie ...
... (aka acting) ...
 
Reflections on Solo Theatre #3
Ken Campbell famously quotes Charles Forte
in The Recollections of a Furtive Nudist
saying that everything is connected to everything else
and so everything should be punctuated with hyphens ...
but that only connects what is on the page ...
what we've already thought or felt or experienced ...
Forte goes on to say that a full stop is a lie ...
or a full stop coming straight at you ...
I understand now why I prefer ...
 
Reflections on Solo Theatre #4
Actors sometimes think its easy to throw together a solo show
as a showcase for their talents ...
showing off has nothing to do with Solo Theatre ...
at its best the performers skill in communicating characters and narratives
goes unnoticed as we (both performer and audience) engage with
and are affected by the lives and experiences of others ...
ironically this requires even greater skill ...
to make it all seem effortless ...
 
Reflections on Solo Theatre #5
Solo Theatre benefits from a different approach to the text ...
a different approach to direction and a different approach to performing ...
Solo Theatre benefits from a different approach ...
conventional techniques ...
research/analysis/actioning and all the rest add ever more layers of words ...
try vivid imagery/feelings/perspectives and the unknown ...
leave open possibilities ...
 
Reflections on Solo Theatre #6
Don't forget the audience have imaginations too ...
the audience will often create a better image for us
than anything we can create on stage ... work with that shared imagination ...
the audience are happy to play multiple roles ...
they will fall into those roles unbidden (its why they go to the theatre) ...
if you do cast them in specific roles do not fake their responses
or pretend participation ...
engaging with an audience's imagination is
audience participation at its best ...
 
Reflections on Solo Theatre #7
We often barely understand our own motivation
or the reasons for our behaviour ...
why then do that for the characters we play
and exhaust their possibilities as human beings ...
rather than imposing agendas on characters and narratives ...
seek to discover them ...
this is especially true for autobiographical work ...
we may not understand ourselves as well as we think we do ...
© Colin Watkeys 2015
 
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