The Solo Workshop: “Significant Others”

Although the products of their labor are often public, most of the work artists do is private and solitary. The actor in rehearsal, the painter in his studio, and the writer at her keyboard must all overcome the silence of the room or the blankness of the page in order to create. Art can be a lonely vocation.

Yet solo work can also be collaborative in striking ways. In the process of developing my solo show, Piecework: When We Were French, I relied on the support and input of dozens of people — those I interviewed, those who provided feedback on the script, my director who served as my mirror, the designers who were co-creators of the show’s design. I was so aware of the non-solo nature of my supposedly solo show, I put a quote by poet Catriona Strang in the program:

“I actually think that the idea of an individual writer is bullsh*t. All writers are collaborating. They are all talking to other people. They might go home and write by themselves, but they didn’t create their text alone. All writers are part of a bigger fabric.”

The Solo Workshop seems to me to be based on a tacit acknowledgment of the strange balance between solitude and community required to bring a solo work to fruition. Vermont artists Paul Besaw (dance), Deb Ellis (film), Major Jackson (creative writing), Patricia Julien (music), and Erin Sweeney (visual art) come together to support and inspire one another’s work, and on Saturday, May 8, the products of their labor will be on display at the FlynnSpace in Burlington. I’m looking forward to performing with Jason Lambert in Major Jackson‘s short play, “The Flight of the White Bugs.” Please come see us if you can!

The Solo Workshop: “Significant Others”
8pm, Saturday, May 8, 2010
FlynnSpace, Burlington, Vermont
$18 adults, $12 students/seniors
Tickets: 802-86-FLYNN or


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