Starting from poems … ending with a spoken word show

So… I am developing a show for the Edinburgh Fringe. 50 minutes of spoken word. Moving from doing open mics to doing a whole performance is quite a shift. My motivation for doing the show is exactly this – to learn from this process and hopefully create something entertaining and worth watching in the process.

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Navigating my way around poems…..

To support my learning I am sharing some of my challenges here. Please share comments and ideas – I need support – your input is welcome!

My show concept is a journey through 3 countries where I have lived. Nicaragua – Egypt – Burma. I hope moving between the countries creates a flow which gives the show a narrative.

Here are some of the challenges I have encountered so far:

  1. Is it too serious? I write about issues of social justice, travel, political change, revolution. Some of these issues are quite heavy. Although there are light moments I am a little concerned about whether there will be enough humour. I am working to see how to build something funny into the moments between individual poems.
  2. Will people get bored of the sound of my voice? Maybe this is a challenge for all solo shows – but I am a little worried about people having to hear only my voice for 50 minutes. Is there a way to vary this? I am building in some music and space between countries to attempt to give people a break and a chance to absorb some of the ideas.
  3. Does the narrative hold up? I am writing about 3 countries. The journey between the countries creates a narrative and a progression which helps to hold the show together. My concern is about the narrative I tell of each individual country. I only have a short time to create a picture of each place. I am attempting to carefully chose poems which help to create a snapshot which is interesting and also challenges preconceptions. The poems also need to work as performance pieces – so this is not always easy to create. Given the choice between performance and narrative I am favouring performance at the moment. This means I might not be able to share everything about these countries, but that I have something more dynamic to perform.

Do you have any ideas about how to work around these challenges?

More reflections on the fringe soon.