East Coast, West Coast vs. The Real Americans


My daughter Minna has at times performs her memoir writings and occasionally spoken word. And Minna’s friend Sigal writes and performs one-woman plays. In fact, the two of them are working on a script together right now. So when I got not one but two emails from Minna in San Francisco, with an urgent recommendation from her and Sigal to see The Real Americans, I took the suggestion seriously.

Dan Hoyle with his van on his cross-country search for common ground

The play is part of the First Person Festival of performances based on real life experiences.

Dan Hoyle’s one-man performance–the East Coast premier of the play, which was a smash hit in SanFrancisco –is full of the people he met as he traveled the country in his van. The play follows Dan as he transforms himself from a Left Coast liberal and his green foodie friends to a variety of Midwest macaroni-and-cheese laborers. He does feminine and he does macho, all pretty convincingly–even astonishingly convincingly; he’s unremarkable looking, a blank canvas on which he projects his portraits. Near the end a Dominican ex-soldier and the father of a soldier confront each other in a diner and talk long enough to find their common ground. The stereotypes evaporate in the emotions of the moment.

And that is partly Hoyle’s point. The national red-state/blue-state rancor results from how the points of view have been reduced to sound bites. But once Hoyle lets his characters rip, the complications provide the middle ground and the human connection. The performance is a mix of documentary and memoir (hence its inclusion in the First Person Festival) by a sympathetic guy with an ear for accents, an eye for mannerisms and a body that changes shapes to fit the characters.  Worth a go see!

The last performance is tomorrow night (Saturday); and Hoyle is doing a workshop on Sunday.


dan hoyle, first person arts festival, painted bride, the real americans, theater



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