Arts and Culture

I’m sitting in a pew in Dreamland, a NuLu chapel-turned-theater, while Chris Anger explains the subtleties of one-man (or one-woman) shows. Brian Hinds and Alec Volz, who are also sitting in the pews, chime in occasionally.

Together, the three men form the Louisville Improvisors, a local improv comedy group. But right now, Anger, Hinds and Volz are in the midst of ironing out the details of a different kind of show — the second annual “Single Shots,” an all new collection of original solo plays.

While the term “solo theater” might conjure images of moody monologues (remember the kind you had to memorize to audition for your 7th grade play?), the Louisville Improvisors have devised a festival that demonstrates one-person theater is far from one-note.

Anger, Hinds and Voltz stress one-person shows are distinct from improv. For one, they are rehearsed — though not to the point of sounding like a speech. Also, solo shows aren’t about simply telling stories. It’s real theater, with scripts and directors.

“What we’re not…” Hinds starts.

Voltz finishes the sentence for him: “We’re not ‘The Moth.’”

According to the three, “Single Shots” was born out of of the “yes, and” attitude fostered in improv comedy.

The idea for this festival started a few years back after Anger wrote a solo show about his life. And then he wrote others. Then the Louisville Improvisors decided as a group to create a festival around that form.

“That attitude comes directly from improv comedy — to me, at least,” Hinds says. “That sense of ‘We’ll do it. Let’s go. We’re doing it!’”

Last year’s first “Single Shots” festival featured work by Melinda Beck, Ranaan Hershberg, Tad Chitwood, and Anger. Here’s a list of what audiences can expect to see this year:

“GODFORSAKEN” written by Cisco Montgomery, starring Shane Antonio, directed by Larry Muhammad: A televangelist suffers a crisis of faith during his broadcast and goes on a blasphemous, sacrilegious rant. In the end he realizes belief depends on childish things and he finds solace in the humanized benevolent God of poet James Weldon Johnson.

“The Best Part” written and performed by Chris Anger, directed by Alec Volz: In his latest show, Anger answers questions like “How do you deal with the loss of a parent?” and “What really happens on those flights to Vegas?”

“You Say Tomato, I Say Go F*ck Yourself: An Absolute Moron’s Guide To Being An Absolute Moron” written and performed by Doug Schutte: Schutte gives you an inside look at just how much dedication and devotion go into creating a life of total moronity (he just made that word up) and what happens when a total moron actually attempts to create a life of meaning. (Hint: it doesn’t go so well.)

“Eyes In The Storm” written by Rachel White, starring Katherine Martin, directed by Brian Hinds: On the evacuated shores of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, storm photographer Regina steps away from the ruins of a broken past and into the arms of Hurricane Mike.

The festival will take place September 2-3 at the Bard’s Town. There are 2 monologues each show, with 2 shows a night — so audiences have the opportunity to see 4 original works.

“I think it’s great that people can see the shows paired up like this, to see the diversity in solo theater,” Anger says.

More information about “Single Shots” is available here.