Several years ago a friend suggested I write myself a one woman show as a vehicle to showcase my talents as a writer and performer. I had been acting for years already and was frustrated; I knew I had so much more in me creatively but wasn’t getting the right opportunities to show it. I had written a few scripts and produced quite a bit for other people (I ran a theatre company in the East Village in my early 20’s then got into film production) but a one woman show sounded daunting. Previously that year I helped two friends produce their solo shows, Latina on the Loose and Mamafied; watching them in their process I was convinced that a solo show was something I would never do, I knew I was good, but not that good. Then one day riding horses in Agoura Hills a friend insisted that if I was really serious and really had what it takes I needed to create a vehicle for myself, a solo show. specifically tailored to showcase what I can do and to invite Hollywood professionals to let them know I exist.
So I did.
I wrote the show in my living room. Once I resolved to sit down and write the words flowed quite easily. I’d transform into the different characters as I wrote, sometimes standing up and physicalizing how they would stand and move around, how they would speak, and what expressions would be on their faces, then sit back down racing for my fingers to keep up with my mind as the characters and stories took on lives of their own. Every morning for months I woke up excited to get back to work, to my creative space…during that time my living room became the most exciting place to be because of all the magic happening there.
The theatre, for me, has always been a sacred space that lends itself to magic. Same with a rehearsal space, dance studio or film studio, hell even a friend’s apartment staged and lit with cameras set up can have that feeling. All these places have one specific function, they are all spaces designated to creativity. There is a specific language, respect and rules of conduct for each one of these places and the pressure is on, there are expectations and consequences that help drive a performance or result. The stakes are high and time is money.
In the process of creating my solo show I learned that my living room is my creative space. I learned a new kind of discipline where the most important person I needed to show up for was myself. No scene partner, no coach, no director, no audience, no one to entertain or be accountable to…except myself. While I was creating my show that was the first time I was truly fulfilled as an artist – for the first time in my career I was inspired, creating and exploring daily, pushing myself further than I had ever imagined and most importantly, I was impressing myself with the stuff I came up with.
I worked on Year of the Slut in my living room for a few months before I shared it with anyone. That living room is where several readings and rehearsals took place before I took pieces to my acting class, then there were more living room readings and rehearsals before I raised enough money to work with a director and get into a theatre. The project eventually did move beyond my living room and has been on stage in NY and LA. Like in the movie La La Land, none of the Hollywood professionals I intended the show for showed up, but things I never imagined did happen, the production went on to win an award in New York and is now the novel Year of the What? But where it ended up isn’t the point, the point is to begin, even if all you have to work with is a living room.
If you can make magic happen alone in your living room – you can make it happen on any stage (or set) with anyone!
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