Huffpost Culture

The One-Man Show: 8 Solo Performers To Watch (VIDEO)

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Anna Deavere Smith speaks onstage during the Great Performances 'Let Me Down Easy' panel on January 5, 2012 in Pasadena, California.
Anna Deavere Smith speaks onstage during the Great Performances 'Let Me Down Easy' panel on January 5, 2012 in Pasadena, California.

Solo performance is a genre that encompasses a wide array of performances -- from stand-up comedy to campy magic shows, the only guideline is one performer. But here at HuffPost Culture we want to turn our attention to solo performers that attempt to craft a plot with a full arc of a story. These performances are theatrical by nature and expand just what exactly one person is capable of.

Solo shows may be illuminating or they may cover a lot of sins -- for instance, the idea that any life experience (especially yours) is worth telling on a stage. However, if the production reaches beyond navel gazing and links the story or personal tale to a wider theme, then the resonances of a singular performance may be particularly powerful and transformative.

In anticipation of the recently announced, 2012 “All For One Theater Festival” in New York City September 14-30, we bring you a few of our favorite solo performers around. There’s Anna Deavere Smith, a sort of pioneer in the genre with her interview approach --conducting interviews around a specific topic or theme, then transcribing and performing the interviews verbatim. And then there’s performer, writer, and poet Sarah Jones, who creates fictionalized characters and performs them brilliantly; seamlessly switching back and forth between her different roles.

Browse the slideshow below for video clips of some of the most talented solo-performers and be sure to let us know who we may have missed in the comments!

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