One Person Too Many

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As another Toronto Fringe season approaches, I am reminded of the myriad one-person shows that infest these festivals. While these shows not universally bad and I applaud the bravery of the one-person, I must admit I tend to avoid them because when they are bad, they are interminable.

For me to attend a one-person show, I generally have to know and love the one person or know and love the material (e.g., a one-person show of Shakespeare soliloquys).

With a more-than-one-person show, the odds of me finding something to hold my attention increase dramatically. One or more actors may be worth following. The banter may be crisp. The scenery might be interesting.

With a one-person show, however, I really only have the actor and the material (sets are typically minimal to non-existent), so if I’m not enjoying either of those, then I’m screwed for 45-60 minutes.

Now, contrary to everything I have just said, I really enjoyed the last three one-person shows I saw at Toronto Fringe: Christine Aziz’s ELLAmentary, Jen Gallant’s Visa Called This Morning and a piece by Jerry Schaefer, all of whom I know from the Toronto comedy community.

Well, time to schedule another festival worth of plays—friends first.

(Photo is property of Toronto Fringe and is used here without permission.)

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