Jane Morris is directing Miyo for her solo show, How To Be Japanese

In 2019, I declared that I was going to to do a solo show in 2020. I found a venue, signed a contract with the Hollywood Fringe and the theater, and started creating promotional materials. Then, as you might guess already, everything was cancelled in 2020. I was disappointed as well as discouraged by how it ended; it was a mental and financial hit. But at the same time, I was a bit relieved because I was running toward a goal without a clear vision. I was still far from being ready. I had more than an hour’s worth of stories, but the storyline didn’t flow well. The tales were well-crafted, but they didn’t complement each other and I couldn’t figure out how to weave them into an hour-long show. Something was missing. Probably the cancellation was a sign that a solo show wasn’t meant for me, I thought. At least, I can say I tried, which was good enough, right?

But just when I had forgotten all about the idea, it came back. One evening more than 1.5 years after the cancellation, my eyes stopped at the line, “Now Accepting Fringe Proposals.” It was an online solo show opportunity from National Storytelling Network (NSN). I looked at my watch. Three hours until the deadline. Wait! The timezone is different, so I only have one hour. To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking of doing a solo show at this point, but I put my name in the hat to see what would happen anyway. Two weeks later, NSN notified me that I won the spot.

Picking stories and setting the storyline were easy this time. I was surprised to see how many new stories I wrote during the pandemic. Now, I have enough stories for more than one solo show. As I started working on the online presentation, the theater producer called, asking if I was interested in doing the Hollywood Fringe this year. Doing a show at the Hollywood Fringe requires you to be not only a writer/performer but also a marketer, promoter, recruiter, and a show producer. Also, doing two different formats (in-person and online) would demand more performance work than I originally anticipated, but my answer was “Why Not?” The cancellation in 2020 has gotten me in shape. Yes, I am ready to take the challenge.

The countdown began. The ball is rolling. Stay tuned for my next story. I have more to tell!

Miyo Yamauchi pausing a peace sign