Thursday 18 July 2013

Working Alone

Ken Campbell used to explain why he ended up doing mainly solo shows: "I'd like to collaborate with other people, but they prefer it this way." I often identify with that, but working on my own requires vast resources of energy and discipline. I am a big fan of energy and discipline. I love telling people about the importance of energy and discipline. I am a massive hypocrite.

I can feel myself potentially heading into one of those long summer funks, when many of my friends depart noisily to Edinburgh or Chicago to work on terrific ambitious projects, and I'm left kicking my heels and wondering what I want to be doing – a question I don't find easy to answer.

I've never been able to understand people who define their goal as "comedy" or "being funny". For me, this doesn't help me orient myself. If you're only going for laughs, then you really don't know what you're going for. A performer going for laughs is like an athlete going for cheers. For me, being funny can't be an objective but only a by-product of being honest. It shows that you're on the right track. (Of course, I'm not dismissing comedy or comedians. There's only one thing more absurd than trying to be funny, and that's trying to be serious.)

My aim is really to find an authentic voice for myself. I've had a bit of success lately with a few cabaret acts that have proven popular with audiences. In fact I've had the pleasure of hearing crowds roar with deep laughter at my antics. That's a good sign. I've stumbled into this kind of stunt rather by accident, which is probably the best way of going about it.

I'd love to collaborate with some new people, especially on improv projects (solo improv gives me toothache). But right now I'm feeling the fear of being at the starting line of a lonely Marathon I haven't trained for. With no one but my nose to guide me, the only direction is forward into the unknown.