New York’s All for One Festival Celebrates the Art of Solo Performance

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Curated by the All For One community of faculty, performers, Advisory Board members, and staff, the All For One Theater Festival in New York City launches on November 11, 2011 at the 160-seat Theatre 80 St. Marks Off-Broadway. Night-time and weekend programming will feature up 15 full-length solo shows and 6 shorter pieces and there will also be master classes, workshops, and panels guided by leading solo show creators, performers, directors, and producers.

The festival celebrates solo theatre importance. On the importance of solo performance and why it matters, Deb Margolin shares her thoughts, “I attribute the rise of modern solo performance to the emergence of the woman’s movement and third-wave feminism!  If we move into modern times, skipping over the oral traditions that include Homer singing the Odyssey out loud before a spellbound audience, we come to the upheaval of the 1960’s, the anti-Vietman protest movement, the Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panthers; the time of resistance and change.

During that time, women found that their concerns were ancillary to those of their male counterparts, and the modern feminist movements began, with women meeting in living rooms and basements, and telling their individual stories.  Arguably, the ascendence of the solo voice came out of this movement; women wanted to tell their own stories in their own words; were tired of being depicted by men, having their voices scripted by men, and the theater world came to be the inheritor of solo voices on the stage, emerging out of those living rooms.

In the early days of Cafe Cino, LaMaMa and other landmark solo and avant-garde performance spaces, men came to share and sometimes to eclipse the voices of solo women artists; nevertheless, the excellence of such solo artists as Roberta Sklar and Sondra Segal, Claudia Shear, Whoopie Goldberg, Aviva Jane Carlin, Jenny Allen, Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver, Holly Hughes, Margaret Cho, and many more represented a new way of making women’s voices and bodies present and alive on terms newly reclaimed by authors/actors themselves.”

The schedule of 2011’s line up in November can be found here.

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