Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer

Starring Emmy Award winning Letterman writer, Ted Greenberg!

     
Turning a One-Person Show Into a Film

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Posted: August 23, 2012
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As a writer and star of a mostly one-person comedy show Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer, I’m always intrigued how solo shows are turned into films. One of the greatest examples of the one person film genre is Jonathan Demme’s concert film Swimming to Cambodia from the late writer/performer Spalding Gray. With his frantic, crescendoing delivery and compelling way with words, there is no way to avert your eyes from Gray throughout the film. He starts by entering the Performance Garage, where he had worked with the Wooster Group for many years, and a seated audience. Then, he unleashes a classic monologue. A monologue that is so piercing, penetrating in its depth that it leaves the viewer breathless.
 
Spike Lee filmed John Leguizamo’s Drama Desk Award-winning solo show Freak for HBO in 2000. In Freak, Leguizamo plays numerous family members as he tells of the trials and tribulations of his childhood. Hilarious, raunchy and raw, Freak showcased Leguizamo’s range and willingness to go for broke as a storyteller.
 
Sleepwalk with me
 
This week, Sleepwalk with Me opens in movie theaters. It’s getting great reviews in Time Out New York and others. The movie stars writer/director Mike Birbiglia and at least a dozen other actors. With that kind of cast, you wouldn’t necessary know that this movie was originally a very successful Off-Broadway one-person show, starring Birbiglia. But it was. Just a couple years ago, you could not get enter a subway station without seeing a poster for the Off-Broadway play. Now, he’s adapted what was essentially a long monologue into a film with numerous actors. I cannot wait to see it. For inspiration. For insight. And, to enjoy Birbiglia’s performance all over again. (And, a side note, if you haven’t seen his brief bit in Your Sister’s Sister, check it out).



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