I've been kicking around an idea now for a few weeks of doing a one-woman show. But, I don't know how to format a show like that, nor do I know really anything about how it would work out.
If anyone could point me in some sort of direction, maybe if someone's working on another one man/one woman show I could possibly read it for format help or something. Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
Sami, good luck. I've written one which runs for a bit over an hour which everyone likes but no one has ever done but, for the classic you should read Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell. It's quite a marvelous play and if you can pull anything like that one off you'll be on your way.
I'm taking a class at Primary Stages now on Solo Perofrmance writing. I don't know how far you are from the city, but there's a second session you may be able to sign up for.
Read Bogosian, Eve Ensler (The Good Body), John Leguzamo (sp?), Anna Deavere Smith... You can have a single storyteller or multiple storytellers. The rest is all dramatic structure... A Question, conflict.obstacles and then the question is answered, or not, or shown in a new light.
I've written and/or directed quite a few one-person plays. I also coach both playwrights and actors, some of whom are playwrights who are writing and performing their own one-person plays. Below are just a couple of my personal tips.
1. Always call your work a play, not a show. This keeps you in the mind-set of a playwright and your eventual audience from anticipating the stereotypical one-man/woman show.
2. Follow a playwriting structure. Be sure to have some kind of conflict at the center of your play. Know who your character is speaking to--the "audience" is not specific enough. Why is your character speaking at this particular time to this particular person or persons? What do they want from them? I personally find the "and then I wrote, and then I met, and then I did" format not very theatrical on its own. Have an urgency to the piece. A simple example: the character is packing to leave her home of x number of years. She has to be finished in an hour, yet is torn by the memories that come up with each memento and struggles to keep packing. (Other examples on request).
I connected with one of my coaching clients here on the forum. She has had tremendous success with her first project, thanks mostly to her own talent, but I like to take credit for using my years of experience to help her avoid some of the pitfalls.