I watched Derek DelGaudio: In and Of Itself on Hulu last night. I enjoyed it very much and spent the morning pondering why. It was not an improvised show, but it certainly had elements of improv and quite a bit of audience interaction. Much like an improv show, the audience really shapes In and Of Itself in a meaningful way. That’s ultimately what I think draws me to improv and shows such as this.
It creates a shared and unique experience between the audience and performers. You realize that you are seeing the only version of this show that anyone will see. That creates a connection and understanding between you and the other audience members and performers. You may know nothing about the strangers sitting around you, but you can look at them as you leave the theater and know something about each other, understand something that no one else understands. It’s an intimate connection, without being exposing. You didn’t bare your soul to the audience. Maybe someone else did, but even if you didn’t give a suggestion or interact with the show, the show is still unique. That connection is still intimate.
In a world where we’re growing more and more isolated due to technology and world events, that connection is growing more and more rare. Yet it is vital to our human experience and our happiness, which is why we seek out experiences such as these.
Which is why recordings of improv shows are generally not as special as attending on in-person. You do not share the same connection with the people who saw it live. The filmed version of In and Of Itself does a very good job of recreating as best as it can that feeling of uniqueness, in a way that you can really see the connection its audiences must feel. It makes me want to see the show in person, if such a thing is ever possible again. Even so, I’m tempted to watch the filmed version again, as I did enjoy it very much.