Arts and Culture

Part of the fun of theater is often the sheer spectacle of a big show: splashy sets and costumes, a cast of hundreds. But it’s also possible to be transported by a much simpler setup: one actor alone onstage in a solo show.

Louisville audiences will get a chance to see four solo shows this weekend, as the Louisville Improvisors and the Bard’s Town present “Single Shots.” Each of the four plays being performed have only a single actor, and all four plays are original pieces.

Chris Anger is a member of the Louisville Improvisors and will perform the final part of a trilogy of solo shows that he’s written. The first two parts, “Dead Astronauts” and “Jim Thorpe — All American,” were presented at the Slant Culture Festival in November 2013 and 2014. He’s wrapping up the series with “Animal Farm.”

Anger tells the story of his own life and childhood from behind an onstage desk, like one of his inspirations, the writer and monologist Spalding Gray. He enjoys the interplay of working with a group of actors, but he also likes the challenge of being the only one on stage.

“The challenge is obviously there’s no other actors and all that sort of stuff, but I like that because it forces you to focus and just work within the framework,” Anger said.

Two of the other performers, Raanan Hershberg and Melinda Beck, are also presenting works they’ve written. Hershberg’s “Crying Behind 3-D Glasses” is a first-person true story, and Beck’s “Agatha” is fictional.

Louisville Improvisors' Chris Anger, Brian Hinds and Alec VolzLouisville Improvisors

Louisville Improvisors’ Chris Anger, Brian Hinds and Alec Volz

Brian Hinds, also a member of the Louisville Improvisors, is performing a script written for him by local playwright Tad Chitwood. He didn’t want to share too much about the show, called “Karen,” but he said it will surprise audiences.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like what this does. I don’t want to give it away; it’s the most unique one-actor show I’ve ever seen,” Hinds said.

“Single Shots” is happening at the Bard’s Town Theatre on Friday and Saturday evening with two shows a night, each featuring two performers. More information is here.

Tara Anderson is the host and producer of Five Things, a podcast about the objects that tell our stories.