My one-woman show called “Am I Pretty Now?”: A Musical Romp Through Plastic Surgery was accepted into a festival in New York city this past September. The problem? I hadn’t written it yet! I had just taken a weekend workshop with my good friend, and queen of one-person shows, Anne Marie Scheffler and I had a concept, an opening, a closing and a poster but nothing in between. Anne Marie let me know that she was holding a 5-week master class at her house, and several people had written their first draft in the program. I signed up and was ready to start writing, and writing I did! I wanted more than just to stand on stage and tell stories, I wanted a spectacle. So, I added songs that I wrote myself and had the amazing accompanist, Jim Clayton, score them for me and lay down the tracks for my performance. I decided I would end the show with a pole dance. Everything was coming together but I still had doubts: Would this translate to an American audience? Would people even care to see a show about plastic surgery? Can I memorize a 45 min. show? Is this show a good show?

I decided to test it out and premiered it last week at my theatre space. There was a lovely turnout and I did it: songs, dancing, and even bared my butt on stage right at the beginning to a room full of people. I knew that my friends would enjoy it but all the strangers in the audience, would they even care? The outcome was overwhelming. People were blown away. My friends said it was the best thing they had ever seen me do. The show was solid and they wouldn’t change anything. The people who didn’t know me, came up just to shake my hand and tell me how fantastic it was. Wow, look at that, my story did translate. People found things in it that they could relate to: Body image issues, European relatives, not fitting in, the 80’s, musical theatre, children, and on and on.

It is amazing how we doubt that people would be interested in our lives. The friends we surround ourselves with are certainly interested and the lessons and quirky moments we experience are more often than not, universal and by sharing them, we get a chance to feel some connection and that what we are feeling is legit.

I’ve gone from complete hesitation about this show, to absolute confidence. I’ve already booked another date in Port Hope in December and am looking forward to starting a formal tour. I hope that one of the biggest take-aways anyone who sees it will leave with: Start writing YOUR one-person show! You have stories that need to be shared. Revealing your naked butt on stage is completely optional though. I don’t know if I’ll ever really get used to doing that!

About the Author

Stephanie Herrera is a comedian, writer, producer, teacher, singer, actor, mother of 4, and shallow philosopher. She runs the Durham Improv & Acting Studio in Oshawa, Canada, is a professor at Durham and Fleming Colleges, and is an award winning performer. / / / (647) 899-3342  Durham Improv Group and Business pages can be found on Facebook and follow @durhamimprov & @antimommy