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A one-person show (one-man show or one-woman show) is a solo performance, featuring a comedian or actor who stands on stage and entertains an audience.
While a one-person show may be the musings of a comedian on a theme, the form can accommodate a wider scope. In the preface of the book Extreme Exposure, editor Jo Bonney uses the term "solo performance" to encompass those performers who do not necessarily have a comedic history. She suggests that "at the most basic level, despite their limitless backgrounds and performance styles, all solo performers are storytellers." This assumption is based on her assertion that a number of solo shows have a storyline or a plot.
Bonney also suggests that a distinctive trait of solo performance resides in its frequent lack of a fourth wall separating the performer from the audience, stating that a "solo show expects and demands the active involvement of the people in the audience". While this is often the case, as in the shows of performers coming directly from the stand-up comedy tradition, it is not a requirement: some solo shows, such as Nemesis by Natyaguru Nurul Momen or Krapp's Last Tape by Samuel Beckett, are performed without the performer addressing the audience directly.
When creating a show, a solo performer is not limited to creating and performing the show themselves. They can use directors, writers, designers, and composers. An example of how Eric Bogosian builds a character can be found in the published version of his show Wake Up And Smell the Coffee, by Theatre Communications Group, New York City.
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