One Man Show YKTTW Discussion

One Man Show
The film or play has only one actor doing a solo performance.
(permanent link) added: 2013-10-01 02:13:33 sponsor: JonnyB (last reply: 2013-10-18 15:56:52)

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Alternate title: Solo Act.

Occasionally, an entire film will be focused on one particular individual and how he deals with an isolating situation. The One Man Show is also often done in Theatre to dramatic effect; many times a solo performer takes on multiple roles. These often are Award Bait for actors, as they are challenging to perform.

Compare Economy Cast and Minimalist Cast. (If it is one actor most of the way through, but one or more actors physically appear at the beginning, end or somewhere in the middle of the film, it is Minimalist Cast, not this trope.)


  • In Moon, Sam Rockwell is the only actor, playing alongside a robot, and later, himself.
  • 127 Hours stars James Franco as real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston, who is trapped alone under a boulder for five and a half days.
  • Buried, about a man who's been buried alive in a coffin by terrorists.
  • In Secret Honor, Philip Baker Hall plays a rambling, drunken, possibly suicidal Richard M. Nixon.
  • Silent Running stars Bruce Dern, and a couple of robots.
  • In The Human Voice, Ingred Bergman plays a woman having a breakdown as she pleads on the telephone with her long-time lover, who is about to marry another woman.
  • The 2011 independent film Wrecked stars Adrien Brody as a man regaining consciousness in a wrecked car trapped in a mountain ravine.
  • Monster in a Box is a monologue by writer Spalding Gray.
  • The Life of Reilly a one man show (originally a stage play) starring Charles Nelson Reilly.
  • Sobibór, 14 octobre 1943, 16 heures records the monologue of a survivor of Sobibor extermination camp.
  • Yaadein, a black and white 1964 Indian film about a man who returns home one day to find his family gone.
  • The Man Who Sleeps a French film about wandering the streets of Paris.
  • Gray’s Anatomy, a 1996 monologue chronicling Spalding Gray’s experiments with alternative medicine in battling a painful eye condition.
  • The Noah, a 1975 post-apocalyptic film with Robert Strauss about the last man alive after a nuclear holocaust.
  • Krapp's Last Tape by Samuel Beckett shows the eponymous Krapp as he listens to audio tapes he made when he was younger.
  • Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary, is a documentary film that consists of one 90-minute interview with Adolf Hitler's secretary, Traudl Junge.
  • All Is Lost features Robert Redford as a sailor who must struggle to stay alive after his yacht founders. Redford is the only cast member.

  • La voix humaine, an opera in one act where the only character on stage is a woman talking into her telephone.

  • The Vagina Monologues was originally performed solo by its creator, Eve Ensler.
  • Patrick Stewart once did a tour de force one man stage production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
  • Hal Holbrook made a career out of his one-man show where he played Mark Twain.
  • Rick Miller's one-man show Mac Homer, which casts Simpsons characters in the roles of Macbeth. While largely following the play's basic story, many liberties, fourth wall breaks and lampshades unsurprisingly occur for comedic effect.
  • Groucho, a one man show about Groucho Marx, most notably performed by Gabe Kaplan.
  • Tru, a one-man show about Truman Capote.
  • Give 'em Hell, Harry, a one man show about Harry S Truman.
  • Jacob Marley's Chirstmas Carol, a one-man show telling The Christmas Carol from Marley's perspective.
  • A Bronx Tale was originally a theatrical one man show before being changed into a film with multiple actors.
  • 700 Sundays, Billy Crystal's Broadway show about his father.
  • Say Goodnight, Gracie a play by Rupert Holmes about George Burns and Gracie Allen. One-man show (played by Frank Gorshin on Broadway), though at times he interacts with a recording of Gracie's voice.
  • Zoe Caldwell won a Tony for her performance in Lillian, about Lillian Hellman.
  • The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, a vehicle for Lily Tomlin written by Jane Wagner. Tomlin played several characters throughout the evening, all of whom were interconnected in some way. Tomlin won the Tony.
  • I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and won Tonys for Best Play and Best Actor (Jefferson Mays). About Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, who killed her father when she was a young child and survived the Nazi and Communist regimes in East Berlin as a transgender person. Mays played 40 roles in the show.
  • The Belle of Amherst, by William Luce, about Emily Dickinson. Tony Award for Julie Harris.
  • The play Duse's Fever is a one-woman show about the famous 1920s actress Eleonora Duse, a Sidelong Glance Biopic from the perspective of Nina Gibello, who was the dresser and servant to Duse; the play takes place in Real Time in the dressing room while Duse is onstage.
  • Shirley Valentine, by Willy Russell, about a British woman's sexual awakening on a vacation to Greece. Tony Award for Pauline Collins.
  • The German indie play Hikikomori, fitting its protagonist, has only one character, who spends the entire play locked in his room.
  • Holland Taylor wrote and starred in ANN: An Affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards.
  • Adrienne Barbeau starred in The Property Known as Garland, about the final stage performance of Judy Garland, written by Barbeau's husband Billy Van Zandt (one other minor character appears onstage, a flunky at the theatre where she is to give her concert.)
  • The Blonde in the Thunderbird was Suzanne Somers' autobiographical show, written and directed by Mitzie and Ken Welch, based on Somers' memoirs.
  • Bette Midler starred on Broadway in I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers, written by John Logan about a real-life influential Hollywood Agent.
  • Vicki Lawrence & Mama: A Two-Woman Show. Comedian Vicki Lawrence plays herself and her famous character "Mama".

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