Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Broadway star does one-man performance

Posted on April 27, 2015 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

Bill Bowers has graced Broadway’s stages as Leggett in “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and  Zazu in “The Lion King.” He has studied with the world-famous mime, Marcel Marceau. His award-winning solo play recounting a tale of his own life, “It Goes Without Saying,” was repeatedly sold out in off-Broadway theaters. He has performed it throughout the country and out of it. But last Tuesday, Bowers took on USM’s own Russell Theater.

The idea of a one-man show might raise some questions to audience members. How does one man keep a theater-full of people entertained with just himself, a notepad, and some sound cues? Bowers can do it. “It Goes Without Saying” takes viewers on a journey throughout his life. Born and raised in Montana, Bowers talks upon what it was like to grow up gay in a small with more conservative values. He talks about being given Tonka trucks after he started playing with Barbie dolls. Bowers explained the loss of his boyfriend during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s. He mimes and speaks us through all his old jobs on his road to stardom, from being hired to mime an airplane safety course, to being a mechanical man outside of a car wash.

Bowers said that he was always known for telling stories, and one day someone told him that he should make these stories into a play. Before “It Goes Without Saying,” Bowers had never written anything. In 2003 the writing process began, and the show got its first production a year later. He worked with a director to feel out the process of making a play based on his life.

Bower originally planned on writing a wacky comedy, until he started to get deeper.

The play has even been translated in other languages in different countries, like Germany and the Netherlands. After all his success, Bowers is still surprised when his work gets such a response.

“Its always amazing to me that anyone comes at all. That’s the magic of theatre. Theatre doesn’t happen unless you show up in this space,” Bowers said. “The story seems to have a resonance with people.”

Andrea Danforth, a freshman theatre major, came to see the show on Tuesday.

“It was the most powerful performance I have ever seen. His story telling, miming, and energy is simply amazing,” she said.

The overarching theme of the play is the culture of silence that Bowers grew up in, and how nothing was ever talked about or expressed. It is a journey that involves laughter, profound sadness, and self discovery.

“I try to make it into a piece of theatre that’s based on my experiences,” said Bowers.  “My hope is that you find something in it for yourself.”