The art of the solo show

One-person shows have become increasingly popular in current theatre, but what does it take to tackle a solo work?
Peter Cook as Dave Smith in 'Breaking the Castle'. Image: Darren Thomas.

Solo shows are starting to occupy a distinctive space in the Australian theatrical landscape. The origins can be discovered in oration which, through Greek theatre, is very much the foundation of contemporary western drama. 

One-person plays have a directness that can be engaging as well as intimate; think of the soliloquies of Shakespeare. In a larger cast play, much of an actor’s journey is focused on interaction with the other players on stage. In a one-person show, that interaction is with the audience, who to all intents and purposes become the confidant or the other player.

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Suzannah Conway is ArtsHub's Brisbane-based Arts Feature Writer. Suzannah is an experienced arts administrator, having been CEO of Opera Queensland, the Brisbane Riverfestival and the Centenary of Federation celebrations for Queensland. She has been writing reviews and music articles for over 15 years and regularly reviews classical music, opera and musical theatre in particular for The Australian and Limelight magazine as well as other journals.