In the world of the theater, the one-person show is perhaps the closest thing to having it all, a supreme test of assurance and ability; of magnetism and charisma. The format is both seductive and frightening; there’s no one to play against, to lean on, to share the criticism. But for an actor, if there is no one else to take the blame, there is also no one to share the credit with as well. The applause at the end is for only one performer.
Many solo shows are either biographical or autobiographical. Yet if they are alone on stage, oftentimes the individual performer must create a cast of characters to bring their monodrama to life. We might forget that in the Belle of Amherst, Julie Harris was called on to create 15 characters. In Patrick Stewart’s Christmas Carol he performed even more. Whoopi Goldberg seemed to create a city full of personalities.
In many ways they are all caricatures in the sense they have exaggerated elements of their subject to bring a whole life or simply a story to life. So in essence, Al Hirschfeld, the ultimate solo artist, is the ideal portraitist for this unique form of theater. As these times currently require us to all to be solo acts, we invite you into the world of the solo performance as seen through the eyes and pen of Hirschfeld.