Liz Kingsman on ONE WOMAN SHOW, Buzz Words, and Bowing


Liz Kingsman | Photo: Will Bremridge

Jordanna Brody
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June 16, 2023 2:00 PM

Sometimes it feels like one woman shows are dime a dozen, enter Liz Kingsman, who decided to write and perform a satirical version of a one woman show, aptly titled One Woman Show. After highly rated runs in the UK and Australia, Kingsman is ready to take on New York as she performs One Woman Show at Greenwich House Theatre this summer.

We recently caught up with Kingsman to chat all things One Woman Show, performing across the globe, and her disdain for bowing. This conversation has been edited for clarity.

Theatrely: So starting off, how are you? How have you been since you got to New York? 

Liz: Thank you for putting on this smoke show for me [this interview occurred while the Canadian wildfires were affecting New York City.] The day before it was a bit smokey, but I just thought that was what New York was like. I was walking the dog and I was just thinking about air pollution, and I was like, “God, my skin's going to break out from all this smog.” 

So excited to talk about One Woman Show. In your own words, how would you describe it? 

The show is a parody of one woman shows. That's the most succinct and most boring way to describe it. I felt like, who would decide to do that, to go on stage by themselves and do a one person show? It's basically a parody of that, both a parody of the form and a parody of the idea of it. Like, imagine it. Imagine being that stupid. I hope it's clear that I'm talking about myself. I think and hope it's still a show that's accessible even if you haven't been to see, as I have, 50 one woman shows. But I think everyone's familiar with the concept, I think. 

Liz Kingsman | Photo: Dylan Woodley

How did the show come to be? Obviously, you said you had the idea and then you saw more shows. But what really started the idea for this show? 

I just noticed that there were a lot of them. It just felt to me like there were more than there used to be. That could be for a few reasons. It could be because of the circles I was moving in, the places I go, theatres I go to, the bars I hang out in, they seemed to be putting on a lot of one woman shows. And I did a lot of sketch comedy, I spent a lot of time in festivals like Brighton Fringe, and there's a really, really, really big grassroots comedy and theater scene in the UK, there's so many festivals like Volt Festival and Brighton Festival, Edinburgh. And then it took a while of that stage, that stage of me just like banging on about this idea that I'd had, claiming it as if I'd already written it when I'd not done a single bit of work. Until it really did finally take a friend of mine to sort of say, “You're never going to do it, though, are you?” I owe that friend a lot. Everyone needs a friend who doesn't believe in them. 

So the show was obviously a smash hit in London. Five stars across the board. Talk to me about performing it in America and what you're excited for. 

There hasn't been a time I've come to America and I’ve made a joke at someone in a supermarket or something, and it's gone down like a ton of bricks. So it's very possible. I'm about to bomb for nine weeks, and it's entirely possible. As I speak to you that's what I'm looking at as an option. It's an option. So am I excited to perform for American audiences? I'm excited to figure out what the unlocking points are. I think the first few previews are going to be me just learning them. So I hope they're ready to be examined.

Liz Kingsman | Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

What's your favorite moment or like scene character, whatever that may be, to perform in the show, whether that's the show within the show or the show itself. 

It changes. Like, there's an Australian character who I love stepping into and in Australia I was kind of terrified to do her because I'm Australian. But the audience doesn't know that because I sound British, and so they I could feel their nerves for me when I started doing the Australian accent and I could feel them collectively clench their asses because they'd be like, “Oh, what's she doing? Why is she attempting that voice?” And then they'd be like, “Oh, it's fine.” I hate bowing. I can tell you that. It's so embarrassing. I find it so embarrassing. 

All the eyes are on you as you. Or why? 

Yeah, A) I'm me, and B) What a mad gesture. Like what? What? Let’s think about it. What a weird thing to do. People along the way, due to my reluctance to bow, have told me it's not for you. Stop it. Like it’s a ritual. This is you saying thank you to them. And I was like, I know, I know, I know, I know. I've got to get better at that. But, but once you get in your head about something…I’ve watched other people bow in shows, and I'm like, God, they did that well, I really thought, Well. I think it's like, do you get lessons in it in drama school? 

But the question I'm curious now about is if you could end the show with something, some gesture other than bowing. 

I have an answer that’s ready to go. It's been my long term dream to end the show after the bow. So you bow, and then you begin a tap dance. But the tap dance, it's sort of like an encore. The tap dance goes for like 15 minutes and the house lights come up and the audience don't know what to do. Then people start leaving because they've got places to be. And you continue to tap dance on your own. 

One Woman Show is now in performances at Greenwhich House Theatre through August 11. For tickets, click here.

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Jordanna Brody

Originally from South Florida, Jordanna Brody graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Theatre Education and Performance in 2019. Her experience teaching, performing, directing, and working behind the scenes informs her perspective on theatre in every way. She is passionate about uplifting marginalized voices and innovative theatrical experiences.

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