Late tonight, my team and I fell onto the topic of one man improvised shows. The majority of the team said that they had not seen a good one man show. They continued to agree that while the shows were boring, they were still very impressed that a person could be up on stage for 20 minutes by themselves.
Now I know people who do one-man improv shows. I get it. I honestly do. It’s easier in a lot of ways to create something by yourself. You’re able to rehearse and create when you want to. There is no one who will stand in your way if you like an idea but they don’t. You are the captain and crew to this improv show of one.
Yet (and I apologize to my one-man improv creators out there), I don’t like one-man improv. Watching a single person on stage for 20 minutes is incredibly boring and feels masturbatory to me. Because you are playing off of yourself, there is no risk, no surprise.
Sure the story may be slightly interesting, but it was nothing extraordinary or amazing. Oftentimes, they consist of similar stories and ideas just packaged in a different person.
Does the audience like something that is “difficult” to do? Is that why we give one-man improv shows a pass? Contemporary dance is hard to do, but for the most part is usually entertaining and amazing. I do not think that people should get a pass because something is difficult to do. Especially when the art form is just talking to yourself. If the characters are boring, the story is slow, the environment is not engaging, then why are we saying that the show was good? JUST BECAUSE IT WAS DIFFICULT?!
If you have a different experience, I would love to hear it. I would love to hear why one-man improv shows are incredible. I’m not being sarcastic, because if you told me a way to do a successful improv show by myself, I would do it in a heartbeat. It would make my life easier in a lot of ways.