Creating Your Solo Show


It felt so good to finally get my solo show out of my head and onto the stage. What an AWESOME feeling! On Tuesday the 24th of July, my sons birthday, I finally got my soldier piece Glorious Sacrifice into the world to be judged. I had been working on this show for so long that I never really thought I would finally be able to create it. It just felt like I could never get it out of my freaking head as an idea and onto the stage as a show.It's a story that I have wanted to tell inspired by actual letters from American soldiers written in every American conflict so needless to say, the material was pretty dense. I was getting so lost in the material that it felt like I was going around and around like some dumb dog chasing his tail. I finally just asked myself, "Doug! what is the definition of insanity!, because you are doing it !" And then an an epiphany came to me, why not get some help? Find someone to work with who has had experience creating solo shows and who can teach me the structure of creating and writing a good story. Get help!And once I understood what makes a good story or better yet, how to write a good one person show, the rest fell into place. Like giving your character a goal or a need that he has to obtain and then throwing obstacles at him/her and watching him/ her fight their ass off to get that goal. And if they don't get the goal, then perhaps getting something close enough to that goal. Like the Rolling Stones song, "you might not always get what you want but you'll get what you need." Hey kind of like acting and breaking down a scene, who would have thunk it?And once I understood the fundamentals of writing the structure, my imagination started to take over. I started finding all kind of cruel and creative obstacles to throw towards my characters so they could work their asses off to obtain them. When I was directed by Tim Phillips in True West, he used to always tell me that playwrights are cruel. They love backing their characters in a corners and throwing as many cruel problems at them making it hard for them to succeed. They want them to fight and squirm their way toward success, not walk.But I think the biggest help was having a DEADLINE. Having someone once a week who was waiting on me to show him what I have done. Every Tuesday I had to have a draft of one of my characters to show and work on. I had to act my stories out to an audience not whisper it to myself or to my laptop. I would have never achieved the completion of my first draft if I had given myself the deadline, it needed to be imposed by someone else. Pressure is an amazing thing and when you give it to yourself, you'll be amazed on what you can accomplish. What makes diamonds? PRESSURE!
The greatest feeling of success you can have is giving yourself a goal and then achieving that goal - There is nothing like it. Your confidence grows and your self esteem goes through the roof.
Success is the child of drudgery and perseverance. It cannot be coaxed or bribed; pay the price and it is yours. - Orison Swett Marden