Saturday, November 07, 2020

In & Of Itself

In April 2017, I transformed into something else. No one saw it happen, but it happened all the same. I stopped seeing myself how others defined me and started seeing myself for who I am. More importantly, I stopped identifying others as the simplest breakdown of a singular thing, my biased impression, whatever was easiest, as the definition of them. They, like me, like you, are a thousand possibilities and my transformation allowed me to see that.

All this because I saw a "magic show".


Being a fan of Frank Oz and his work for my entire life, I was aware he directed a stage show in Los Angeles called "In & Of Itself". All I knew about it was that it featured illusions, that people I respected had seen it and loved it, and that it was coming to New York and we'd probably see it sometime during it's run. 
 
What I didn't know was that I'd run into Frank Oz and the show's creator, Derek DelGaudio, on the street in NYC, take portroids of them, and have a conversation wherein Frank convinced me to get tickets right away during the show's previews. 




What I especially didn't know is that we'd see the show 10 times during the Off-Broadway run and bring 46 people along with us to see it over that year and a half. Each time we saw the show, something new was illuminated, a new conversation was had, new insights into ourselves and others were brought to light. Derek DelGaudio has created something beyond magical. This show connected us. We've been discussing it and the allegories revealed in our world and our lives for the past 3.5 years. It stays. It encourages thinking, being.
 
The Off-Broadway run ended in August 2018. We spoke to Derek around that time about how much we were going to miss seeing it, or even having the opportunity to revisit outside of memory. He let us in on the news: they had filmed a number of the live shows to be made into a movie.

That movie is finally coming out! Hulu picked it up for release in January 2021. We saw the premiere screening at the Montclair Film Festival recently and it lived up to the live show, which is saying everything.

If you don't want to wait until January for your first viewing of the film (or second if you also attended the premiere), you can watch it as part of DocFest NYC from November 11-19, 2020 virtually from your own home. Buy tickets NOW through this link. I recommend it highly.

I've posted a TON about this show on social media over the past few years, so I won't go into any further details of the actual mechanics or content, other than to say that, if after watching it, all you come away with from having seen it is "those were some incredible magic tricks", it will be worth it. They are incredible. Too incredible to be believed. But, if you look deeper, you'll see it's also a journey into identity: Derek's, yours, everyone's. And if you continue probing, you might find some things you've clung to (pains, prejudices, insecurities, etc.) can disappear if you surround them with love. And, as you go through this path, look out for some familiar faces, including mine ;)

(note: this shot is not in the film, but a different one of us in the audience is, so ... see it)

Oh, and there's an elephant.

Please let me know your thoughts after seeing the film. I'd love to discuss it with you. I'm particularly interested in your views if you never saw the live show (but also if you have).

You can reach me at rick@portroids.com


See you later,
Rick at portroids.com