New split season gives solo performers more time in the spotlight.
One actor, one show. There’s power in that. SaraSolo Productions plugs into that energy. But starting this year, they’re doing things differently. Instead of two big weekends, they’re breaking it down to smaller festivals throughout the year. The new model begins with the upcoming SaraSolo Winterfest, starting Monday and running through Saturday, Feb. 15, at New College’s Black Box Theater.
But why make the change? According to artistic director Ann Morrison and managing director Blake Walton, it’s a simple case of less is more.
“We’d been spreading ourselves thin in the old model,” says Morrison, “Instead of 16 actor/playwrights doing only one performance, we now have four artists doing repeat performances. That creates a better dialog with the community, and lets the artists do more workshops and lectures.”
Walton adds that the new model also empowers audiences. “Each solo performer offers a unique perspective on the human condition,” he says. “We wanted the audience to do a deep dive into each artist’s vision, so we limited ourselves to four. That way, each creator gets the attention they deserve.”
Here’s a glimpse at the upcoming one-person performances:
Johnathan Gillard Daly’s “An Evening Of Carl Sandburg”
Carl Sandburg was a 20th-century troubadour. To state the obvious, he had a way with words, and he mesmerized audiences across America with his poems, stories and songs. Daly steps into Sandburg’s giant footsteps with an imaginative re-creation of one of his legendary performances. The result is more than a nostalgic mix of Sandburg’s poems, essays, children’s stories and folk songs. Daly distills the poet’s essence. His performance offers a glimpse of the man behind the words. Directed by Gale Childs Daly. Feb. 11, 13 and 14.
Ann Morrison’s “Linda Lovely Goes to Broadway”
Morrison’s one-woman show revolves around her friend Linda, a highly imaginative actress and writer. She also happens to have Down syndrome, but doesn’t let it stop her Broadway ambitions. Linda heads off on a road trip to New York. But her true odyssey doesn’t stop there. According to Morrison: “It’s not just a physical journey from point A to point B. Linda goes on a journey of the soul, and she takes you with her.” The fact behind the fiction? Morrison’s play grew out of her real-life work with the Asolo Rep’s “Kaleidoscope” acting troupe for persons with developmental disabilities. Linda is based on an actual person in the company with similar struggles. Directed by Blake Walton. Feb. 11, 12 and 15.
Theresa Puskar’s “Causeless Joy”
According to the American advertising industry, joy is external and it usually comes with a price tag. According to most wisdom teachers, joy is free and you find it by looking within. Puskar, does exactly that, although she has to travel from America to India to do it. In this magical realist fable, Puskar encounters four fairytale princesses who ignite her “causeless joy” with their own true stories of self-discovery. Feb. 10, 13 and 15.
Bridget Bean’s “Mrs. Bliss’s Titanic Adventure”
Bean portrays a struggling actor whose career is rapidly sinking. She makes ends meet by portraying “Mrs. Bliss,” the cabin steward character in a Titanic exhibit. Thanks to a twist in the space-time continuum, she’s transported back in time to the actual RMS Titanic. Unless she finds her way back, her career might be sinking for real. Or can history be changed? Directed by James Rayfield. Feb. 10, 12 and 14.