BWW Review: (Re)Discover the Joy of Real Live Human Relationships in EACH AND EVERY THING at Portland Center Stage

BWW Review: (Re)Discover the Joy of Real Live Human Relationships in EACH AND EVERY THING at Portland Center Stage

At the beginning of his one-man show, EACH AND EVERY THING, when Dan Hoyle makes the mandatory "turn off your cell phone" announcement, he jokes that by the end of the show you might want to just throw the darn thing away. You may scoff. But he's right. After 80ish minutes of watching Hoyle tell his own somewhat autobiographical story of finding connection and community, you might want to wait a while before turning your phone on again. You might decide you don't need your phone welded to your body 24/7. You might even decide to leave it at home once in a while.

Hoyle's story begins more than a decade ago when, just out of college and having majored in theatre and history, he realizes he has no job skills. Feeling bummed by his lack of career prospects, Hoyle turns to his best friend and everyday philosopher, Pratim, who advises him to go out and meet new people and get their stories. Hoyle does, and he finds himself on a journey that takes him from Chicago to Nebraska, to San Francisco, to Kolkata, and beyond.

Along the way, he gathers stories from a range of characters including an Aryan Brotherhood bartender, drug dealers on the street corner, and a group of people at a Digital Detox retreat in Northern California. In Kolkata, he meets and gathers stories from men at Coffee House, a famous coffee shop where people go every day, just to talk. On his journey, Hoyle discovers that once you detach from technology and spend time with other people, amazing things can happen.

EACH AND EVERY THING is very funny. It's also very deep -- not in an annoying "someone's trying to teach me a lesson" kind of way, but in a very authentic, sometimes quite surprising way, in which you realize that a lot of things Hoyle learns are things that we've all known all along, but somehow managed to forget because we were all watching online videos of sneezing baby pandas.

I can't find the right word on Wordhippo to describe Hoyle's abilities as a performer. Excellent? Awesome? These words fit, but they also seem too ordinary. Transcendent? That's closer. I lost count of the number of characters Hoyle plays in this show -- it's well over 10. But they are all so distinct that by the end you can recognize them even before they start to speak. And they're all just real people, who are sometimes awkward and unsure, and then sometimes say the most exquisite things.

Transforming into different people isn't Hoyle's only talent. He also sings! The show features three pieces of original music by Mars Today, one of which is a sexy R&B ballad to newspapers. Brilliant! I have to admit I was a little relieved when I found out that Hoyle didn't write the songs himself. One person couldn't possibly contain that much talent -- he'd explode.

EACH AND EVERY THING is more than just a fantastic play. It's one of those rare shows that creates a feeling of community and empathy with not just the people sitting in the theatre, but with everyone on this wonderful planet of ours. It might even inspire you to get out there and meet some of them face to face.

EACH AND EVERY THING runs through March 27. Get tickets here: http://www.pcs.org/

Photo by Patrick Weishampel/blankeye.tv.

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From This Author Krista Garver

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