When I was studying at the Meisner Center, my teacher, Martin Barter would periodically encourage each of us to examine what we had to share as artists. What was it that we wanted to accomplish with our acting? Were we doing it for validation? Because we felt like nobody ever listened to us and this was our way of being heard? Did we have stories we wanted to tell? Feelings we needed to express publicly? What? Well, those who know me know that I have lots of opinions, and I am not shy about expressing them, but for the past few years I have been trying to figure out how to put some of those thoughts/feelings/opinions together coherently enough to create a one-woman show. One that someone would actually want to come and watch, and then actually enjoy it. I'm still working on it, and gathering inspiration from the work of other actors I encounter. I went to a play at the Geffen Playhouse earlier this evening, and when I picked up my tickets at the Will Call window, I noticed an advertisement for an upcoming one-man show entitled "Emergency", but an actor (unknown to me) by the name of Daniel Beaty. I asked the guy behind the window about it. He told me I could find more info on the website, but that the actor plays "like, 40 characters!" That's a heckuva lot of characters, so I figured that meant he was either REALLY good or REALLY bad, and decided to Google him before I even think about spending $35 on a ticket. Here's what I found:
This man CLEARLY has something to say, and says it very well. I want to do that--in my own words, of course. Move people on a level deeper than intellect and rhetoric. An emotional level. Subconscious, even. I got a sense of it when my play "Young Black Male" was produced at The University of Iowa in 1995. Prior to that, I had been moved by other peoples' words, but watching the audience react to my own opened my eyes to the impact that my own words could have on others.
I don't want to start from a point of 'writing to entertain an audience' or 'just writing to make some money' - I need to figure out what I need to say, and then figure out how to say it.
Or am I thinking too much? Maybe I should just start writing it and see what develops.