In a world where real relationships and live connections have been replaced with text messages and news feeds, award-winning actor and playwright Dan Hoyle wants to show you how live interactions still matter. Now playing in the Ellen Bye Studio at the Armory, Hoyle’s one-man Each and Every Thing takes you on a roller coaster ride filled with intensity, laughter, clever impersonations, knowing murmurs, and the joy of music. Across 75 minutes you’ll be whisked around the world in search for a tangible meaning within the digital divide.
Pulling no performance punches, Hoyle jars you into immediate attention by starting out in the most in-your-face way possible. The play opens with him having a minor showdown with a violent member of the Aryan Brotherhood in small-town Nebraska. Not knowing what to expect, the sudden appearance of this menacing character will definitely leave you sitting up in your seat. But worry not, there’s much more to this journey. Hoyle’s effortless transitions from narrator to character will leave each scene feeling like its own vignette.
You’ll be quickly transported from Hoyle’s youth in bustling San Francisco as he wades through anti-establishment conversation to his time with a rough-and-tumble Chicago crowd. Hoyle keeps the parade of interesting characters moving at a brisk pace while introducing you to his “field interviews.” Almost always at his side is his best friend, the smooth talking, always smoking, yet sagely wise Pratim. Hoyle’s Indian accent is spot on as he plays his friend, and many of the most poignantly funny lines of the night are delivered by this character.
As Hoyle continues through his journey, he begins to realize that today’s constant communication through our ubiquitous devices is actually a hindrance to real communication. This realization becomes an epiphany as his explorations take him to ever more far-flung and mystical places. From a retreat in Northern California to one of Calcutta’s world-famous coffeehouses, Hoyle builds a convincing argument for both modifying our behavior in the digital age and becoming hackers in our own “analog army.”
There to break up the moments with clever songwriting is Hoyle’s friend Dan, an affable character excellent at lyrically relaying the theme of the day. He expertly goes from something between a ballad and a reggae song about what it used to be like to drop a newspaper on snow-covered doorsteps to a fast-paced rap about “phone zombies” colliding with one another on city streets. Could we be a manifestation of the walking “digital” dead? If Hoyle has anything to say about it, that answer is obvious.
Each and Every Thing is a whirlwind of a fable, expertly acted, endearing, funny and yet somehow sad. You’ll leave the room wishing that brick in your pocket was nothing more than just that, a brick. We all know, as Hoyle puts it, that “reality is awkward,” but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to familiarize ourselves with it a bit more and leave our devices in the digital dust.
Dan Hoyle’s one-man play Each and Every Thing is playing now through March 27th in the Ellen Bye Studio at the Armory. It runs for approximately 80 minute with no intermission. Catch it Tuesday – Sunday at 7:30 p.m. or on a matinee showing Saturday and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and Thursdays at noon. Tickets are $40 or $25 for youth with a student ID. For schedule and ticket information click here.