I was asked the other night on the street outside the Music Box if there was a show yet that changed my life. I didn't have an answer. I could answer with many shows I enjoyed--there are a lot of good things I've seen this fringe and would recommend heartily. But there had not been that show that hit me and made me want to take friends and strangers by the hands, look deeply into their eyes and say, "See this show. It will change your life."
Along those lines, I am searching always for that Fringe show that makes me re-evaluate what I appreciate in a show, in life. Ballad of the Pale Fisherman was one such show, Winnemucca another. They resonated with me, and as I result I wanted to carry their greatness to other people, to tell them this is what they should spend their time seeing.
In conversation, I was told Hello Stranger was "perfect." There is always something about a show a person thinks doesn't gel right, some little nitpicky tidbit that we can't make it past and can threaten to override everything else we loved about a show. So when someone says a show is "perfect," and not "good, but..." I get interested.
Last night's venue-by-venue deviation was made because I wanted to see Hello Stranger. Concerned with the moment, Hello Stranger invites you to be wholly present. There are times when I'm watching a show and my mind goes to what I have to do or, if it's Fringe, where I'm going next and what I'll be seeing. But because Debra Berger is engaging, her accompaniment reacting to and inspiring her, and the voice over narration describing what it sees so as to pull you into what's happening, you are there and you don't want to be anywhere else. You want to be.
I don't want to give anything more to you from the show, because I want you to experience and love it. And I'm afraid of jinxing it for you.
After Hello Stranger, I went to see Now and at the Hour, and during the course of Christian Cagigal's poetic rumination on his life and father in the form of a magic show, we were asked to think about a moment in our lives we'd like remember. And I thought about my experience at Hello Stranger and how wonderful it was and that I'd like to be there again.
If only for a moment.