Narrative Structure: Applying Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey to Solo Theater


Here is a basic summary of how I utilize Joseph Campbell’s work to help structure my solo shows.  Look in Campbell’s work to see in more detail how he plots these points on a wheel.  This is shorthand for very complicated stuff.  To make it simple, I think of the life of a salmon.  As a salmon expert told me, I was struck with how the salmon too, lives out Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.  Think about it…

  1. The Ordinary World = I begin with limited consciousness, I may not be that happy here, but this is home, this is what I’m used to
  2. The Call to Adventure, What/Who gets character to raise consciousness, to act, to leave
  3. Threshold to Other World = I find myself in a new place, where all the rules have changed. I am disoriented. I find a guardian, here either helpful or a hindrance.
  4. Tests, Enemies / Helpers, Boons   Challenges along the way
  5. INNERMOST CAVE  = My inner fear, biggest test, peeling away. Will I make it?  Vulnerability
  6. The Prize.  The Knowledge Gained.  The Consciousness Raised.
  7. The Return to the Ordinary World Begins.  More helpers and tests.  
  8. Threshold Back to the Ordinary World = Revisiting old friends, lovers. Another Guardian
  9. Changing the Ordinary World with the Knowledge Gained, I bring what I’ve learned home.  I am changed.

About Annie Rachele Lanzillotto Author of "L is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir" SUNY Press 2013, and "Schistsong" Bordighera Press 2013 Currently narrating / recording my audiobooks at The Loft studios in Bronxville, New York. If you'd like to contribute to help audiobook production, contact me: Spread the Bronx accent far and wide, to listeners, to those for whom reading a book is impossible or arduous...

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