One Actor. Six Characters.

October 3, 2023 Leave your thoughts

One Actor. Six Characters. Jade Winters Author


‘Words in Waiting’ is about the hidden struggles and secrets that can lurk within seemingly ordinary friendships, and how the spectre of domestic abuse can cast a long shadow even among the closest of friends.

When I began the journey of writing a one-woman play, I knew it was going to be a challenge, especially as I’ve never done anything like this before. One of the biggest hurdles I faced was bringing to life a diverse cast of characters through a single actor. So, choosing the right actor was a pivotal decision. Hazel, an incredible talent whose performance in ‘The A Word’ showcased traits that echoed the essence of multiple characters in my play, emerged as the perfect fit. Her ability to embody Lara, Blake, Riley, DJ, Roxy and the main character was uncanny. It was the spark that ignited the concept of a one-woman play.

The next step was the initial read-through of the script. I can’t emphasise enough how crucial that was. Hearing the words spoken aloud was like adding colour to a black-and-white sketch. It allowed me to tweak the dialogue, envision character movements, and set the tone for the entire play. Each character began to carve out their own space in my mind.

In a discussion with Hazel about how to visually distinguish the characters, she threw in an interesting idea – why not turn some of the characters into dolls? At first, I was apprehensive, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Within five seconds, I saw her vision, and I was all in. And to be honest, this fresh approach breathed new life into the play.

Now, I’m no expert in doll making; in fact, my creative talents pretty much end at writing. Stick-figure drawings? Don’t even ask! So, I reached out to a friend who specialized in doll making, Phoenix Blue Coyle. I sent her the first draft of the play, and she was excited to come on board. We’ve had countless back-and-forths, discussing ideas for how these doll-like characters should look. And now, we’ve got the look for one of the characters nailed down, which is a great start.

So, what’s the big lesson I’ve learned from all of this so far? Take risks, embrace the unexpected, and never be afraid to explore new ideas, even if they seem a little out there at first. And when it comes to creativity, collaboration is where the real magic happens. It’s like a symphony of minds coming together to create something that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

But like everything in life, there are downsides to every venture… Ok, let me tell you about mine. FEAR. First on the list is that beast called expectation. As the writer and director, I’m conjuring up these characters and their world from scratch. What if my imagination falls short? What if the characters don’t resonate, or worse, they fall flat like deflated balloons? The worry that the audience might not feel that “aha” moment I’ve been envisioning—it’s a haunting thought. And then, there’s the fear of the unknown reaction. Will the audience catch the nuances, the subtleties, the carefully crafted layers of the play? Or will they sit there, wondering what on earth they just witnessed? The uncertainty of how it will be received, of whether the message and emotion will hit home—that’s a nerve-wracking rollercoaster.

Oh, and let’s not forget the pressure cooker of the execution of the play. What if I misjudge? What if my directorial choices don’t quite cut it? The fear of a solo directorial misstep is akin to walking a tightrope without a safety net. And of course, there’s the persistent doubt that likes to knock on my door: Can I truly pull this off and make it something that at the moment is only a vision in my mind? The imposter syndrome, the fear that maybe, just maybe, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew—it’s a tough pill to swallow.

But in the midst of these fears, there’s determination that says, ‘Bring it on’. Because beyond the fear, there’s this tantalising vision of what could be, a story that deserves to be told. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that fear is just a passenger on this journey in life. The driver? That’s me, and I’m not letting fear take the wheel.

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P.S Keep an eye on my blog, where I’ll be sharing regular updates on my progress.


🔜 Coming Up: How I went from from self-proclaimed theatre avoider into a Fringe-loving enthusiast! 🎭

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