Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dan Hoyle: "The Real Americans" ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

We have seen Dan Hoyle's "The Real Americans" three times, the first in development, the second at its Opening in 2010 and again last night as Hoyle brings back his newest update. In the meantime several things have happened. One has to do with the show.

Here is my review from 2010:

SFTB 2010 review of The Real Americans

In 2016, Hoyle has added more depth to each of these characters. Perhaps he has simply gotten more polished as a performer himself, though he has always been a pleasure to watch. Perhaps the passage of six years has given him time to reflect more deeply about the preacher from Wisconsin or the Dominican family from New York or the laid-off factory worker in Alabama. The best parts of the show are still the reflections of Dan and his San Francisco friends as they sit around a cafe and attempt to make sense of things. 

What has really changed, however, is the world around us all. Whereas "The Real Americans" once spoke about a worrisome but not-particularly-bothersome mistrust of government in America's heartland, in this election year these issues are in hyperboil. In 2010 we exited laughing; in 2016 we walk out terrified.

Said in another way, "The Real Americans" is over-the-top brilliant, a belly-laugh evening of the best that solo performance has to offer. Real America, however, is not the least bit funny. The fact that probably every single character Hoyle portrays will vote for Donald Trump gives this San Francisco audience a bubble-bursting thump in the belly.


Theater and Life. What do we say, what do we do?

Well, first off, the San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division, in a unanimous vote although we are still waiting for our ninth Theater Judge to be confirmed, awards "The Real Americans" FOUR STARS. Hoyle as a writer and performer takes home two stars on his own, Charlie Varon's direction (invisible -- the best kind) earns one as well.

The Fourth Star is for all the thought that goes into these reflections.The most bothersome part of Dan Hoyle's show, as well as our view of what is happening inside our country, is that everyone is missing the point. Everyone except us. And that is where we all go off the tracks.

"The Real Americans"
The Marsh
1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco
EXTENDED Through October 15

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