The Trouble with One Person Plays

I've always struggled with one person plays, every time I've been to one I've felt exposed and uncomfortable. With no other actor onstage the only person an actor can talk to is me. To be fair not just me, but the audience, and I've always felt that this was wrong. I like to sit back and watch a performance, take it in and enjoy it. As soon as I am being talked to very directly by one single actor, I'm no longer watching the show, rather, I'm worried about any number of things, including looking interested so I don't upset the actor, who's only a few feet infront of me! I'm no longer watching the play becomes the problem. Not listening or thinking about what's being said, I'm being distracted.

Lynn in rehearsals
Lynn Kennedy, in rehearsals for LIMBO
Though I'm also completely wrong about one person plays. Working on LIMBO has allowed me work to on this with Lynn, the advantage of a one person play is that it can allow us to create a much more personal connection between you the audience member and the performer. More so than with a larger cast play. When rehearsing the show Lynn and I were very careful in not pushing the audience away but drawing them in. First establishing a connection with the audience and then allowing the character to pull back a bit and try to hide her emotions. Using Pinter (a popular lad in the Citz this month) style characterisation to hide our characters true emotion beneath a mask. Drawing the audience in as we see her struggle against her inner turmoil. I think the result creates a very dynamic and heartfelt performance, that Lynn creates beautifully. The key being not to through to much directly at the audience but giving the character and the audience space to think and feel.

Yesterday evening was the opening night and I hope the production does not keep the audience at a distance, instead, drawing you in as an audience member so you feel connected to the character, as it's only the two of you in that theatre, no-one else.


Circle Studio
8-10 March, 6.30pm