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Dan Hoyle dials into life beyond the cell phone at the Marsh

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Dan Hoyle’s funny and enlightening “Each and Every Thing” is at The Marsh. (Courtesy Peter Prato)
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At the outset of “Each and Every Thing,” Dan Hoyle greets his audience, “Let’s take a deep breath and turn off your phones.”

Turns out, it’s not hard at all to leave the devices alone for 75 minutes. Hoyle’s show is engrossing from start to finish.

The solo performer has timely, touching and often very funny stories to tell about his journey to find personal connections in an increasingly electronically-driven world.

Created in 2014, the show (developed with assistance from Charlie Varon and Maureen Towey) is back onstage at the Marsh, surprisingly with minimal updates in the wake of the wild 2016 U.S. election and our current president’s preference for social media over traditional media.

Nonetheless, Hoyle’s observations about the changed, and changing, nature of communication remain relevant.

He grew up in the Reagan era with the newspaper — it’s how he learned to read — and with an hour of TV per day. It’s a major contrast to today’s reality, with the prevailing feeling that it’s “politically necessary to be glued to our phones,” busy “watching videos of baby pandas sneezing.”

In his quest, Hoyle comes in contact with friends and strangers; in his show, he brilliantly acts out their exchanges.

His chats with his confidant Pratim provide framework for the show, and his Indian friend’s comments are both amusing (discussing possible employment for Dan, he says, “You could try social work, but then you’d have to learn Microsoft Excel”) and sad (“People think I’m Muslim, they’re scared to talk to me”).

Hoyle also does a heartrending version of See Know, a drug dealer on the street he meets, who tells him, “Take out life insurance on me; I’ve been in a coma, a wheelchair, stabbed, I’m only 23.”

Perhaps the show’s funniest section is Hoyle’s depiction of his time at a “digital detox” retreat where participants write letters on a typewriter and there are “art projects you can’t undo.”

One guy offered this enlightening take on his dependence on his phone: “Zuckerberg and all those guys know that reality is awkward, and life on a screen is, like, less awkward. That’s why we do it. But it’s also more shallow. So, we’re, like, trading awkwardness for shallowness. That’s OK, but we just need to know that that’s what we’re doing.”

REVIEW
Each and Every Thing
Where: Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 8:30 p.m. Saturdays; closes Aug. 26
Tickets:$25 to $100
Contact: (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org

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