The Truth is Bad Enough       Acting Equals Life
  THE TRUTH IS BAD ENOUGH covers this rich life of extremes, lived out loud—from its roots in the Midwest to his family life in Los Feliz where Kearns presently resides with his daughter.

McKellen asserts that "this extraordinary life, lived on the edge of death…won't depress, rather uplift you." The book traverses more than a half of century—from Kearns' roles as ribald party boy to impassioned artist-activist to toting father.

From the Seventies' sexual revolution to the gay parenting boom of the Twenty First Century, Michael Kearns has defined nearly a half a century of American life: culturally, politically, and sexually. In many instances, he was not only at the forefront of the historical milestones, he created them.

"It is about the connection between the inner self and the outer performer, written bluntly and honestly, and with great insight. Not since Simon Callow's Being an Actor . . . has a book managed to be both personal and universal in its approach to the actor's art."

—Stage Directions
Acting = Life is the synthesis of over a decade of teaching acting in Los Angeles, largely but by no means exclusively to HIV+ students. Kearns proposes that, to succeed as actors and as people, we need to be honest and accepting of ourselves. This is an acting book that helps actors to learn acceptance of things that cannot be changed, to change the things that can be changed, and how to incorporate both into acting that is visceral and honest.


Life Expectancies

The Solo Performer's Journey
  The average life expectancy is about 75 years. But there's another kind of life expectancy, one that describes how we each feel our life ought to go, ought to be lived. When conflict, obstacles, and tragedies shake our lives, these life expectancies are challenged, stretched to their limits—and sometimes they break. For Michael Kearns this friction between expectation and the unexpected is a wellspring for vivid, authentic drama about everyday and extraordinary people.

In Life Expectancies Kearns grapples with the difficult feelings that result when our expectations don't match our reality, and the resulting monologues challenge the audience and the performer to humanize topics and people who are often willfully ignored. Whether entering the shadow world of the homeless through a street person's thoughts, going far afield to see war's devastation through eyes that have experienced Iraq up close, or clinging to home in order to unknot a father–child relationship, the humor, humanity, and emotional honesty in Kearns' collection of outcasts and misfits prove they are not society's losers, but rather its graceful, artful survivors.

Confront the expectations of yourself, your audience, or a casting director. Read Life Expectancies, perform its gritty, vibrant monologues, and come to understand people whose lives have been changed—for the worse and for the better—by the unexpected.

    Written and performed by: a credit that suggests the profound artistic commitment of the solo performer to the creation of a project. Yet one-person shows are rarely individual efforts, being instead a collaborative voyage between a writer-performer and a host of people from theatre professionals to creative muses to friendly well-wishers.

No one knows this better than Michael Kearns, whose career, wearing various hats, is distinguished by his involvement in dozens of top-notch one-person shows, and in The Solo Performer's Journey, he takes you step by step into the lifespan of a solo show, from its genesis through a highly successful theatrical run. Part personal memoir and part practical manual, The Solo Performer's Journey chronicles how Kearns collaborated with Precious Chong for two years to bring her vivid artistic vision to life in the various incarnations of The Porcelain Penelope Show. From the first phone calls to Chong's final curtain calls, Kearns gives you a front-row seat to watch the creative and theatrical processes at work. At the same time he uses the backdrop of the evolving show to illustrate important solo techniques, define the art of collaboration, share experience-honed wisdom, and pose questions that promote professional and artistic reflection.

Whether you're an actor, writer, dramaturg, or director who wants to better understand the dynamics of the one-person show or join the legion of solo folk, The Solo Performer's Journey is the perfect companion for what promises to be an expedition inside your artistic self.


T-Cells & Sympathy

Getting Your Solo Act Together

. . . We need a place where the solo-inclined could learn to write a good monologue. Thanks to Michael Kearns, now there is such a place. . . . So, Mr. Unnamed soloist, buy this book, read it, and learn from a great writer how to write for the theater. As for the rest of you, buy this book for the pleasure it will give you.

—San Francisco

Weekly In this collection of thirty-four monologues, Michael Kearns challenges the actor to identify with characters that cross the lines of age, race, gender, class, and sexual preference. The monologues are about people who have lives beyond their health status and they represent one artist's response to the AIDS crisis. T-Cells & Sympathy stands as a testament to Kearns' philosophy that it is the actor's "responsibility to play all things human."

    This nuts-and-bolts look at the elements of solo performance combines interviews with anecdotes to create an inspiring guide for the aspiring solo performer. With the help of several well-seasoned contributors (Kate Bornstein, Colin Martin, Rob Sullivan, Denise Uyehara, and Paul Bonin-Rodrigues among others), Kearns dissects the various genres of solo work (biography, autobiography, storytelling, multiple individuated characters, multiple interwoven characters), discusses the rewarding, yet demanding world of the soloist, and addresses the politics, pioneers, and process of solo performance.

  ©2004-2015 Michael Kearns