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Solo Performance Workshop w/ W. Kamau Bell
Stage Werx Theatre
San Francisco, CA
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Solo Performance Workshop w/ W. Kamau Bell
Started in 2005, this 8 session course is designed to develop 15-20 minute professional level solo theater pieces using a variety of writing and performance techniques. Each student will create a unique and personal performance piece that will culminate in a public theater performance at the end of the course. The class is recommended for performers of all disciplines, including actors, writers, comedians, spoken word artists, musicians and dancers. People of all levels of experience are welcome, from those who have never been on stage before to those preparing a piece for a professional production or audition. Members of the workshop have gone on to perform their shows all over the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and recently The New York Fringe Theater Festival.

W. Kamau Bell has been a Bay Area comedian, writer, and director for more than ten years. Kamau is a favorite at Cobbs Comedy Club, The Punch Line, The Porchlight Storytelling Series, and is half of Siskel & Negro on Live 105 and In 2005 he was chosen to perform at the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, and he was the only comedian invited to perform on both The New Faces Show and The Best of The Uptown Comics Show. Kamau has also been seen on Comedy Central, Byron Allen's Comic's Unleashed and ABC's View From The Bay. Also he is featured in The Soft Skull Press publication What Would Bill Hicks Say? Kamau has been profiled in The San Francisco Chronicle on three separate occasions, including not ironically during Black History Month. Kamau is currently hard at work performing his debut solo show, "The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour". The SF Guardian declared, "W. Kamau Bell plays against type and comes with not only the insights you wish you had spewed first but also the wit.." The SF Weekly called him smart, stylish, and very much in the mold of politically outspoken comedians like Dave Chappelle and Margaret Cho, although he was more excited that they called him handsome. In 2008 The SF Weekly awarded Kamau the title of "Best Comedian." However, Kamau is most proud of being the leader of The Solo Performance Workshop. As a director Kamau has directed San Francisco's 2nd longest running solo show, "don't make me look too psychotic", the critically acclaimed, "I Heart Hamas: And other things I am afraid to tell you.", and currently, Enzo Lombard's "Love, Humiliation, & Karaoke."


There are currently two sections Sundays at 10AM - 1pm beginning May 3rd OR Wednesdays at 6:30PM - 9:30PM beginning May 13

Location: Stage Werx Theatre 533 Sutter Street @ Powell Street, San Francisco, 94102

SoloHouse: Monthly Event Features Rotating Cast In One-Person Shows
San Francisco Chronicle

The world of stand-up comedy is brutal. The fight to make an audience laugh, and then keep people roaring, means getting onstage nightly to try out material and hone the act.

And W. Kamau Bell, a comic who's been on Comedy Central and who is a frequent opener for Dave Chappelle, loves stand-up. But a few years ago, friend and solo performer Bruce Pachtman ("Don't Make Me Look Too Psychotic") asked him for advice on his show. Their discussions eventually gave Bell a director's credit on the production, and through Pachtman he began teaching solo-performance classes at the Shelton Theater.

"The thing with stand-up is that the onus is always on entertainment value, and that is judged on solely by laughs," Bell says. "And then solo performance backed away so much from entertaining that it tends to be focused on venting or releasing personal demons on the audience.

"My thing is, you can do that, but it has to be entertaining," Bell says, adding that solo performances can produce tears and laughs in the same act.

Bell says his time is now split between stand-up and solo performance. He postponed a move to New York to focus on solo performance; he initiated SoloHouse, and has a solo show, "The W. Kamau Bell Curve," beginning in October.

Bell sees solo performance as a wide-open field. "The thing that's compelling to me about solo performance is what was great about stand-up in the '70s - there are no rules. Stand-up now - don't get me wrong, I still love it - there's a lot more rules," he says. "Richard Pryor could get onstage and act and show what it's like to nod out on heroin. That's not hilarious, but it's certainly interesting. Bill Cosby could work by taking his time and painting slow character pieces. Now you have to be funny every moment.

"In England they don't separate one-man shows from stand-up. Ultimately, if we throw this all together, it's the same: a person on a stage who's trying to entertain, with just their mouth and their words."

- Reyhan Harmanci
Thursday, August 30, 2007



Stage Werx Theatre
533 Sutter Street (@Powell)
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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Minimum Age: 18
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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