Despite his name being in the title, Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself is as much about you as it is about him. Directed by Frank Oz and produced by Neil Patrick Harris when it played at the Daryl Roth Theatre, the filmed version premieres on Hulu on January 22nd with Oz still in the director’s chair and Stephen and Evelyn Colbert joining as producers. A filmed version of a show is usually just that, but this version makes several attempts to go above and beyond.
“It’s easy to lie on stage. Hell, it’s even easier to lie on film,” Derek DelGaudio adds to the show through a voiceover, letting you know that what you’re about to see really happened, but that your suspension of disbelief may be heightened because it could’ve been altered. This filmed version adds home video footage, artwork, animation and live-action footage not seen by audiences at the show’s 552 performances between 2016 and 2018, but the footage filmed on stage really happened. I should know, I was at one of those performances. Splicing together footage from multiple shows, viewers familiar with the performance will see something similar and different at the same time. And for the wide audience that will experience it now for the first time, it will still leave you dumbfounded.
As the audience enters each performance, they walk along a wall of “I Am”’s and are asked to choose one. A seemingly infinite number of choices are there from the realistic to the extraordinary and even pop culture references. As a big fan of The Wizard of Oz and Wicked, I chose “Good witch” and was sufficiently embarrassed when my card was not only called, but I was pulled into the show, being transformed into a figurative elephant. It will make more sense when you see it, but it stayed with me the most because it was a very personal experience.
The simple set in the black box theater includes six boxed displays with three-dimensional items, each one part of a story Derek DelGaudio tells. The show is extremely difficult to describe, but as a one man show, it’s a bit like experiencing six fantastic stories, each one personal to the teller and the audience, mixed in with magic tricks and theatrics. Ultimately, it’s about forming a deep connection not only with the storyteller, but also with yourself.
Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself is filmed group therapy, one that reaches through your streaming device into your soul and asks you a deep question: Who are you? As the storyteller, illusionist, son and “Roulatista” answers the question for himself, you are asked to think about the words that describe yourself; The realistic, the extraordinary and the pop culture references. “I am a good witch.”
I give Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself 5 out of 5 elephants in the room.
Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself starts streaming January 22nd only on Hulu.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.