One-Man Shows

Now, before I start, I’d just like to ask everyone to reserve their judgements until the very end.

*Takes a deep breath* And so I will begin.

I love to act. I love drama, I love theatre and there’s nothing I enjoy much more than being able to forget myself and become a whole new character. I’ve played lots of different archetypes in the past: the damsel in distress, I’ve played this quite a lot actually; the lovestruck female, this is quite an easy role, it’s kind of just me; the jealous villain; the messed-up, difficult-past drug addict, this is quite challenging because it’s NOT me; and the list goes on. At any rate, I think it’s amazing the way so many seemingly different, separate and – sometimes – irrelevant characters can come together to create a heart-warming play.

What I also think is amazing is the ease at which one person could play every single character.

So, in English, we study Macbeth – for those of you who live under a rock, that’s one of Shakespeare’s plays – and it is fabulous. It’s a bit depressing, but in a good way, and it just makes you think about a lot of different elements of life. For example, we studied the area of flaws and weaknesses in the characters and how that affected the rest of the play. (I’d totally love to play Lady Macbeth as well!) But one Science lesson – Physics to be precise – I decided to test out my acting skills to the ultimate extreme.

I said to my lovely Science buddy, Freyaaaa, “Do you think I could do the entirety of a Shakespeare play by myself?” She laughed. Not in a nasty, ‘of-course-you-couldn’t-Rianna’ way, but in more of a ‘I-know-that-you’ll-try-it-whatever-I-say’ way. So I did. I was going to try Romeo and Juliet (I’ve also been working on my Street Shakespeare, more on this another day…) but I haven’t finished reading the entire play, so I thought; hey, let me do Macbeth!

So I did.

I did the opening scene with the witches (of course I threw in a bit of impromptu acting) which went a bit like this:

WITCH 1 (RIANNA): How’s it going guys? Let’s do some witchy stuff.

WITCH 2 (Still RIANNA): Yeah definitely. Uhm… bubble and boil, cauldron something and other. Frogs and cats.

WITCH 3 (RIANNA again): Predict predict predict! Yes, lots of predictions. When are we gonna hang again?

WITCH 1 (… I think you get the idea): When the battle is finished and the hurly-burly-curly-wurly.

WITCH 2: Is this enough witchy stuff? Let’s go and make somebody’s life a misery.

WITCH 3: Yes, let’s make Macbeth’s life a misery.

WITCH 1: Not that he needs anymore with the sort of wife that he has!

WITCH 2: Well, let’s just do it for the bants. I mean, he’s a decent guy and he hasn’t done much wrong, let’s just pick on him!

WITCH 3: OMG that sounds like a lot of fun actually. Yeah, why not? I’m not that busy for the next *looks at watch on wrist* year or so?

And so on. (I improvised quite a lot as you could probably tell. I regret that I didn’t bring my script with me to my Physics lesson, but I will definitely make sure to bring scripts around with me in the future, in case the situation dictates it).

For the next half an hour, I played Banquo, Macbeth, the three witches, Lady Macbeth and King Duncan and his sons. It was exhausting but so rewarding, and I learnt many things: how to ride a horse without ever actually having rode a horse, how to stage a fight between two characters (both of whom I play – I can tell you that it requires a lot of slow motion, loud jeering accusations and sound effects), and likewise how to stage a murder. (SPOILER: if you haven’t read Macbeth, then there is a murder… Well, there’s lots of murders actually, I think you could probably just sum up the entire play with that word). And can I just say, it is VERY difficult to stage a murder when you have to keep switching between the sleeping person and the man who stabs him. Difficult… but NOT impossible.

But it’s lot of fun. In the end – I only managed to get up to the bit where King Duncan’s sons ran away… and running while remaining sitting down is very fun also! – I got a very hearty round of applause. (From 2 people, I haven’t quite made the big time just yet).

10 out of 10, would definitely recommend.

Joke, but seriously, my one-man show rendition of Macbeth (I was told by several top critics) was amusing and inventive, and put a whole new spin on an old play; with which I completely agreed.

So now, you can begin your judgement. Go on. Throw them at me. I don’t mind, I can take it.

Because other than DDP’s (Disney Dance Parties) not much else can entertain me so easily than One-Man Shows. The best bit about them is that you don’t have to share your pride or limelight with anyone else. LITERALLY. The only person who gets the credit for everything that the ‘actors’ do is just you. You also don’t have to rely on the rest of your group, especially the deadweights or the ones who are bad actors. You can interpret every role in exactly the way you want to, and you can add yourself to every role. And when people ask you the characters you’ve played before, you can just list the titles of plays. Because really, you’ve played all of them.

The unfortunate thing is that if you’re a bad actor, that sucks, because then you destroy every single part. As much as you don’t have to rely on anybody else, it means that all the pressure of the roles fall on you. And if people don’t like your interpretations of the roles, you’re stuffed… You’ve also got to interpret A LOT of the roles, so there could be some evident similarities between the characters that you play.

I think it’s so funny how I’m genuinely discussing this as if it is the most normal thing to do. But then again, who’s to say what is and what isn’t normal?

*Sighs contentedly* If only Shakespeare could see me now. (And also what I’m doing to his plays, he’d probably toss in his grave).

Adios mis amigos,

Queen Rianna



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