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Volume 2

Silk Road Solos: A Three-Thread Performative Stitch

Silk Road Solos: A Three-Thread Performative Stitch
by Jamil Khoury
Founding Artistic Director, Silk Road Rising

For years we at Silk Road Rising have been contemplating a special commitment to solo performance artists.  The time for that commitment is upon us.  Our calendar year 2015 season includes productions of six solo plays, with more to follow in 2016.  Writer/performer devised solo plays occupy an important space in the canon of plays suitable for Silk Road Rising, and for reasons that align conspicuously well with our mission of harnessing one’s own representation.  Many writers and performers, particularly women and particularly women of Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds, are afforded greater artistic freedom and more robust opportunities in the arena of solo performance than in traditional theatre.  Solo performance levels the playing field by enabling artists to tell their stories as they wish to tell them.

Solo work is the ultimate bootcamp for theatremakers—it forces artists to exercise their writer muscles, actor muscles and, in many cases, their producer muscles.  While some may deride solo performance as a “proxy” or “consolation” in lieu of a “regular” play, it is anything but:  it is a genre of theatre that puts the individual artist firmly in control and translates the deeply personal into the profoundly theatrical.  Along the way, it introduces voices and perspectives all too often suppressed or denied.  When executed with skill and integrity, the cathartic, empathic potential of solo performance is boundless.

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