The Solo Performance Workshop celebrates 5 years of creating some of The Bay Area’s most engaging, socially relevant, politically conscious, genre bending, and hilarious solo theater.
From Enzo Lombard’s comedic musical, “Love, Humiliation, Karaoke,” to Jennifer Jajeh’s tragic-comedy “I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid to Tell You,” to Lisa Marie Rollins’ powerful and funny “Ungrateful Daughter,” to W. Kamau Bell’s critically acclaimed hit show “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour,” and much, much more. Founded in 2005 by W. Kamau Bell & Bruce Pachtman, SPW concentrates on NEW voices of solo work.
OR BUY A FESTIVAL PASS FOR $69 AND SEE ALL 7 PERFORMANCES!
8/19 THURSDAY 8PM: “DIS-ORIENTED”: A trio of solo performances by Asian-American women” featuring Zahra Noorbakhsh, Coke Nakamoto, Thao P. Nguyen
8/20 FRIDAY 8PM: “I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid To Tell You” Written & Performed by Jennifer Jajeh
8/21 SATURDAY 8PM: “Love, Humiliation and Karaoke” Written & Performed by Enzo Lombard
8/22 SUNDAY 7PM: “I Heart Hamas: And other things I’m afraid To Tell You” Written & Performed by Jennifer Jajeh
8/26 THURSDAY 8PM: “Lady Parts” Written & Performed by Martha Rynberg and “Solo Show #2” Written & Performed by Bruce Pachtman
8/27 FRIDAY 8PM: “Ungrateful Daughter” Written & Performed by Lisa-Marie Rollins
8/28 SATURDAY 8PM: “AAAAAAAAAARGH!” Written & Performed by W. Kamau Bell
8/29 SUNDAY 7PM: THE SPW SHOWCASE featuring Nicole Maxali, Ericka Lutz, Julia Jackson, Debra Netkin
8/19 THURSDAY 8PM
Featuring: Zahra Noorbakhsh in “All Atheists Are Muslim”, Coke Nakamoto in “Soft Tissue: Secret Agent Bucket”, Thao Nguyen in “Fortunate Daughter”.
Cultural indigestion, color-blindness and inter-ethnic vertigo. Is there a cure? Is it treatable? Is it contagious? That’s what three women — Iranian, Vietnamese and Okinawan/Japanese — try to find out as they aim to DIS-orient themselves from external stereotypes and internal expectations. This show features a dynamic trio of performers who will lead you across a Muslim-Atheist supper table, the Mekong Delta, and Diagnostic Systems of Sexual Dysfunction. In between each solo performance are smart and biting vignettes — comic sketches, audience improv games, and contemporary dance — that will leave you happy to be as DIS-oriented as they are.
8/20 FRIDAY 8PM (also: 8/22 SUNDAY 7PM)
I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid to Tell You
Written and Performed by Jennifer Jajeh
Jennifer Jajeh is Palestinian. Well, Palestinian American. Or more precisely: a single, Catholic, first generation, Palestinian American woman who chooses to return to her parents hometown of Ramallah at the start of the Second Intifada. Sick and tired of the unsolicited discussions, debate and disagreements about her identity and her opinions about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Jennifer tries to figure it out for herself. Join her on American and Palestinian soil on auditions, bad dates, and across military checkpoints as she navigates the thorny terrain around Palestinian identity in this critically acclaimed tragicomic solo show.
8/21 SATURDAY 8PM
Love, Humiliation & Karaoke
Written and Performed by Enzo Lombard
Enzo Lombard’s hilarious solo musical comedy Love, Humiliation & Karaoke, returns to SF for one night only direct from NYC’s Midtown Theatre Festival, where it was nominated for Best Solo Show and Outstanding Actor in a Musical Production. Already rated “Don’t Miss” by SF Chronicle and “a quirky and cynical romantic comedy” by Showbiz weekly, SFGuardian calls LH&K “a smart and witty no-frills autobiographical show”, and BroadwayWorld has dubbed writer/performer Enzo Lombard the “Sedaris of San Francisco.”
8/22 SUNDAY 7PM (also: 8/20 FRIDAY 8PM)
I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid to Tell You
SEE THE DESCRIPTION ABOVE
8/26 THURSDAY 8PM
Written and Performed by Martha Rynberg
This is not the show you think it is. Ok, maybe it is a little. It’s about hair removal on public transportation, and elective surgery. It’s about mom thighs and tiny breasts and body odor and women’s magazine sobriety. Lady Parts is really a frank (and funny) internal adventure, tracking the contradictions within Martha’s convictions to leap from being a daughter to being a mother, without hating herself or the women and girls around her.
Solo Show #2
Written and Performed by Bruce Pachtman
It’s 1980 and Bruce is living in New York City, struggling to make it in comedy. He gets cast in an NYU student film directed by Chris Columbus (who later directs “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Harry Potter”). It’s seen by big-time Hollywood agents who want to represent him. He moves to LA. They no longer want him. Bruce is now in LA without a job. Without hope. And most importantly, he is now burdened with a feeling of failure. That was 30 years ago. Why does that feeling of having failed persist? How did he turn it all into a very funny comedy?
8/27 FRIDAY 8PM
Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girl’s Story of Being Adopted into a White Family. . . that aren’t Celebrities
Written and Performed by Lisa Marie Rollins
In a rush of electrifying story-telling, spoken word poetry and hilarious, unexpected characterizations, Lisa Marie reveals a sometimes disturbing picture of what it’s like to attend an almost exclusively white, private school; expresses her fierce love for her conservative, Republican, Christian, organic farmer parents and addresses the well-meaning, white, liberal adoptive parents that strain her patience . . . repeatedly. Infused with a gentle sense of humor and a seething rage, Lisa Marie wonders if she will ever heal from the secrets, stolen histories and unknowns she and other adopted people share.
8/28 SATURDAY 8PM
AAAAAAAAAARGH!: A Solo Comedy About How Frustrating Frustration Can Be
Written and Performed by W. Kamau Bell
After three years of trying to end racism in about an hour, Kamau is debuting his second solo show, AAAAAAAAAARGH! See, after spending all that time trying to make the world a better place, Kamau is exhausted and frustrated. Exhausted because it was a huge task, and frustrated, because it didn’t seem to help all that much. Well, Kamau is taking his frustration about all that and more and channeling it into AAAAAAAAAARGH! And this time, he’s not promising to end anything. He’s only hoping to feel better when it’s over.
8/29 SUNDAY 7PM
THE SPW SHOWCASE:
I Didn’t Sign Up For This
Written and Performed by Julia Jackson
A twisting ride on modern adoption’s emotional roller coaster: We meet anxious adoptive parents, and a birth mother pacing the halls of a hospital as she is slipping into labor. Back home, her mom’s totally fed up with her daughter’s pregnancy. And the birth father? He’s living in his own particular world of hurt.
A Widow’s To Do List
Written and Performed by Ericka Lutz
When she got married, Ericka Lutz didn’t want to say the “’til death do us part” part. Twenty years later – BOOM! – sudden widowhood! Then grief, absurdity, skin-hunger, tattoos. And who knew that Love and Death came with a side order of so-much-to-do? A Widow’s To-Do List is a solo performance about death, but more so, it’s about life after a tragedy, and a complicated, contemporary marriage.
I Heart Lola
Written and Performed by Nicole Maxali
I Heart Lola captures the impact of losing a beloved lola (lola is the Filipino word for Grandma) to Alzheimer’s. In the brief time span that Nicole’s grandmother spiraled from a strong, matriarchal role model to a dependent, childlike woman, their roles reversed by leaps and bounds. This piece pays tribute to all of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s by reminding us that their dementia does not define who they are.
Written and Performed by Debra Netkin
There’s a mound of bras on the dining room table and little Debzie is feeling the impending doom –blooming breasts and the upcoming onslaught of womanhood. This could be ugly. Come join Debra Netkin as she shares her Maidenform fantasies and fears. “I dreamed I performed a show at Stagewerx…. in my Maidenform bra!