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Sunday, February 14, 2016

"Each and Every Thing" @ Portland Center Stage

Dan Hoyle's monologue "Each and Every Thing" begins with the story of a paroled member of the Aryan Brotherhood. He also tells the story of the drug-dealer on his corner, who ends up living at his home. One of the sections involving the Aryan Brotherhood member relates a story that the only time this man was knocked-out was by his abusive father. He edits himself, "One time in prison, someone used D-batteries as brass knuckles, so that didn't really count." This man is a fascinating character. He's at once detestable because he literally has his bigotry tattooed on his skin, and yet Mr. Hoyle manages to nearly instantly humanize him as a person so scarred by feeling helpless in childhood, he exudes misdirected rage. Throughout "Each and Every Thing" Mr. Hoyle  gives one the feeling of, "Yeah, I'd talk to that guy." In light of the unusualness of these first two stories, what a shame it becomes that the narrative turns slowly towards our over-reliance upon technology.

Now, I must say that "Each and Every Thing" continues to have its moments even in this less interesting territory, there's a hilarious romantic ode to the unique experience of reading a newspaper, for instance, but there are many times when Mr. Hoyle seemed to be having much more fun than I was.

What insight is there to add to a problem of which everyone is aware? I mean, for financial reasons, as well as physical difficulty with touch-screens, I don't own a cell-phone, and even I feel tethered to the internet.

There's this scene where Hoyle illustrates how the internet fractures our attention, and as the monologue ran through its brief, but bloated 75-minutes, I began to think that it was a piece about information overload that suffered from information overload, and I don't think it was intentional.

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