What I do on stage is called “solo performance,” and people sometimes ask me (with real sympathy), “Isn’t it lonely up there?”
And I tell them, emphatically, No, it isn’t!
There’s my crew — up in a booth (possibly knitting during the long stretches between cues). There are all the characters in my monologues — often people who are very dear to me, some of them no longer alive but very much in my thoughts and my heart as I (imperfectly) portray them. There’s my producer, whose love of and respect for the theater I have the honor and duty to represent. There’s my director and collaborator: these stories we create are, in a deep way, a chronicle of our evolving friendship. There are the designers and the composer, whose beautiful worlds I inhabit. There are my family and friends, whose encouragements and loving corrections continually run through my mind. There’s the theater staff — working in a field that offers strictly limited remuneration but unlimited epiphanies. There’s my own staff — my colleagues who (among other things) arrange for my travel (and that of my set and costumes) and absorb my freak-outs. There are my investors, and those who choose to donate to the theater. And, of course, there is the audience: changing in personality from show to show, sometimes rapt, usually adventurous, occasionally sleeping peacefully (dreaming, perhaps, of an actual drama, with multiple actors) — always granting me the enormous gift of their cumulative genius.
So no, it’s not lonely at all on stage. As for this hotel room, however — well, that’s another story.
Posted: November 2nd, 2009 under Performances, Theater, Touring.