Regional Reviews: San Francisco
Each and Every Thing
Guiding Dan on his multi-year journey to seek some undefined Nirvana is his best friend Pratim, a smooth-talking, always-smoking Indian whom Hoyle brings to life with clear affection and admiration. Pratim pushes Dan to go beyond his normal boundaries to engage face-to-face with, among many others, street-corner drug dealer Ceeno in Chicago and violent Aryan Jake in Nebraska (who at first promises to beat his ass). He then sends him off to India to meet a professor and a half dozen others in a crowded Calcutta coffeehouse (accompanied by hundreds of background conversations created by sound designer David Hines) where he learns "we live the Internet every day" just by sitting at a table and having coffee. Through his ongoing body and voice transformations, we meet his many and varied encounters (including his parents) as he engages them in conversation, mostly with no real direction other than getting to know each other. Over time, his focus becomes learning how people around the world communicate with others in day-to-day connections made without a phone text, an Instagram photo, or a "Like" on Facebook.
Along the way, our now-friend Dan breaks into songs of varied genres (all created by Mars Today) to illustrate his 'ah-has.' After bemoaning that "The newspaper, our daily commons, is now just another website," he does a cross between ballad and reggae to remember what it was once like to be a delivered newspaper on snow-covered doorsteps. We hear a hilarious but very pointed rap about "phone zombies" walking into each other on the street, and he performs a stoned duet with Pratim of the Beatles "Tomorrow Never Knows" as he journeys further west to find himself.
While he admits "reality is awkward," he does learn to face people up close and to listen intently without judgment to those who clearly are not like his Caucasian, middle-class self. In the end, our narrator comes to the conclusion that clearly he wants us all to take out the door: "So much better when you find yourself in others rather than just find yourself." In a matter of 80 minutes, he has enticed us with his incredible depictions of people most of us have never talked to. He has caused us both to laugh and be awed as he plays back his audacious encounters. And he has lured us into considering that maybe, just maybe, an occasional hour (or dare I suggest day) without checking the Internet every few minutes might lead to learning much more than we thought possible about our friends, about the world's latest news through their eyes, and about ourselves.
Each and Every Thing is currently in revival (from its extended 2014 run) through August 22, 2015, at The Marsh, San Francisco, Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8:30 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m. Tickets are available online at http://themarsh.org or by calling Monday - Friday, 1-4 p.m. 415-282-3055.
Each and Every Thing is written and performed by Dan Hoyle, was developed with Charlie Varon (also director) and Maureen Towey, and includes original music by Mars Today.
- Eddie Reynolds