Why you should work in a group to create your OSP
It might seem counter-intuitive to work in a group to create something that is supposed to be a SOLO, but working collaboratively has undeniable benefits. It’s why there are so many theatre collectives popping up everywhere in the industry: they know that working collaboratively produces superior theatre. It will work for you too, and here’s why:
1. Four heads are better than one.
The Group as Creator
Even if your classmates aren’t that good at drama, they will still make your monologue better by providing a new perspective. They will have new ideas you could never have thought of, simply because they are not you. This is a good thing. This is what will give your monologue a sense of variety and thrilling unexpectedness.
2. It’s a sanity check.
The Group as Dramaturg
When you work on something new for a long time, there comes a point where you can’t tell whether it makes sense to someone who has never heard it. Your group will let you know when your OSP is confusing or inconsistent.
3. They provide an outside eye.
The Group as Director
Even if you’re pretty analytical and tough on yourself, you still can’t possibly know what your performance looks and sounds like from the outside. Having a group of people to perform for regularly basically provides you with a bunch of directors telling you when you can’t be heard properly or when your acting’s rubbish. Nicely, of course. They should tell you nicely when your acting is rubbish.
4. It keeps you accountable.
The Group as Production Manager
There’s nothing like having regular group meetings to make sure you actually get stuff done. If you tend to avoid working on your solo, eventually your group will notice that you haven’t done any work for several weeks and (hopefully) give you a kick in the pants.
5. It will also stop you going stir-crazy.
The Group as Company
Working alone is hard. Especially when you’re tired and you’ve run out of ideas and you can’t be bothered rehearsing any more. Working in a group gives you a break from yourself when you need it the most.
6. It’s fun.
The Group as Support Mechanism
Your group is your lifeline. They keep you sane, and they also make the process fun. I very much doubt you’re going to have so much fun brainstorming, improvising and rehearsing alone in your room! Working on something together can help you develop amazing bonds with your friends. It will be something you look back on fondly, even if it was stressful and difficult at times.
You can see that your group plays multiple roles: creator, dramaturg, director, production manager, company and support mechanism. These are all really important roles and in the ‘real world’ (theatre industry), you need all those roles filled. In fact, it’s rare these days for anyone to create a solo alone – even professional actors would have a group of people to work with when creating a new solo work. If professionals don’t even work solo on a solo, why should you?
Of course, working in a group has its drawbacks as well: it can be time consuming and there will always be disagreements. If you’re going to do this, it’s essential that you do a little planning and discussion about how your group is going to work. I have written some guidelines about how you can do this in THESE POSTS. Seriously, please look at these. Working in a group is amazing, but it will be a heck of a lot of stress if you don’t plan how you’re going to work together. Please, please trust me on this and read the posts.
Now go ahead, create your Dream Team!