As we enter the Spoleto 2010 home stretch — there are five days left at press time — we start to recognize some over-arching trends that will ultimately define this year’s festival. Strong contemporary dance was a huge one — from Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo to Gallim Dance to Sideways Dance Company to Oyster. Then there are the two big female-led operas — Flora and Proserpina — that were noteworthy for their stark contrasts. But I’m placing my bets on a few of this year’s most subtle, understated offerings: the monologues.

These one-man shows are characterized by stark sets and fairly straightforward scripts, relying on the talent of the stars to set them apart. While the larger, colorful productions were more apt to pilfer the pre-festival buzz, the monologues have managed to keep people talking. We assume they’ll be talking long after the festival’s close.

Just take a look at David Lee Nelson, this week’s cover boy. The 2000 College of Charleston graduate is now based in New York, but makes it a point to revisit his old stomping grounds regularly — particularly during Spoleto. His show Status Update combines brief, heart-wrenching films with stand-up comedy to reflect on love and loss in our social media-obsessed world. “I sometimes feel like I’m doing a stand-up comedy tragedy, which is pretty cool and unique I think,” he says. We think so, too.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.