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.

  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 me to raise consciousness, to act, to leave, to go on the journey.
  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 = I reenter the old terrain again.  Another Guardian at the gate.
  9. Changing the Ordinary World with the Knowledge Gained, I bring what I’ve learned home.  I am changed.

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