Honors Theses

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Theater and Film

First Advisor

Michael Barnett

Relational Format

article

Abstract

Similar to straight theater and musicals, one-person shows began through the art of oral tradition. Before written language existed, people relied upon passing stories orally. Most likely, these stories began with gatherings, where people discussed events of the day. With the emergence of written languages, these stories were transcribed. Eventually many performers were added to fulfill the roles of each character. Although this has become the norm for theater, it is important to remember that theater began as a one-person show with that lone storyteller. Even today, a prominent form of one-person shows consists of stand-up comedy. However, there does exist an entire genre of plays that consists of a solo performer, who relates the action of the play while also embodying any other character that might present itself in the action.

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