Dallas — Audacity Theatre Lab's fourth Dallas Solo Fest returns, after taking a break in 2017. The event runs June 6-10 in the smaller studio space at the Dallas Children's Theater. Look for interviews with each performer, and reviews of each show, coming on TheaterJones.
Next up is New Orleans writer and performer Nkechi Chibueze, whose PerVirgin has its first performance at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 7. Other performances are 3 p.m. Saturday, June 9; and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 10.
Directed by Eritria Pitts, PerVirgin deals with a 34-year-old woman who has never been kissed...and she REALLY wants to talk about it! Join Kechi as she lays out the blueprint to becoming a super virgin, shares her cringe-worthy crushalationships with lessons in love, reveals her grandiose plans for her first kiss, and explains how the Pussycat Dolls and Zumba are her sexy spirit animal.
TheaterJones: How long have you been performing? And specifically, performing solo shows?
Nkechi Chibueze: I have been performing since I was in middle school. I would compete in speech and debate tournaments doing prose, poetry, dramatic interpretation, and humorous interpretation. I began to take it seriously when I went to the University of North Texas and pursued and degree in performance studies under the school of Communication Studies. It was at that point a discovered solo performance. I created some fun performances when I was in college, but when I left, I ventured into improv and sketch writing. I had left solo performances alone. This is my first solo performance in 10 years!
How did this piece come together? How long did it take, and how many times have you performed it for audiences?
I was asked the a local Dallas comedian Bryon Stamps if I could perform in a show he was producing called the Truth In Comedy. In the show, people reveal a secret or talk about something that is sensitive to them, and then a comedian takes that story and does a stand up set on it. At the time I was frustrated with my relationship status and felt like I could not talk about it with anyone because no one would understand. So I wrote a ten minute piece and presented it at the show. It was so well received and I felt so happy to just tell my talk about it that I decided to make it into a one woman show. It took me about a 9 months to write the show. I had a lot of help taking a workshop with the Chicago Dramatists and Arlene Malinowski. I first performed a 20-minute version of the show at Austin’s Frontera Fest where it received “Best of Week.” I performed pieces of the show around New Orleans before debuting the full show in New Orleans late May. Dallas Solo Fest will be my second time performing the show.
Tell me about the character Kechi? Is she you? Composite of several people? Completely fictional?
The character of Kechi is 95 percent me. I only say 95 percent because I had to switch up some of the timelines of the events to make the show flow a little better. But I am a woman in my mid-30’s who has never been kissed. The character is basically me and my life experiences, my thoughts about love, my failures, everything.
What are the challenges of performing a solo show?
Knowing that this show is me. So, if someone hates it, they are basically hating on me as a person. That can be rough. However, that worry fades away when people come up to me after the show and say they relate to my story. It’s a nice reminder that I am not alone and the show helps other people!
Also forgetting props! I sometimes forget props when I need to do a scene and I end up looking so goofy!
What are you looking forward to in Dallas?
Performing my show in front of old friends and colleagues! Seeing the other solo shows because they all look so good! And also eating Mexican food! New Orleans had terrible Mexican food choices and I suffer every day because of it!
Anything you'd like to add?
I’m really excited to be performing in Dallas! I’m even more excited about getting my first official review on a play! Good or bad! I have never had one, and I am so curious about what the TheaterJones has to say about my show!