Derek DelGaudio's In & Of Itself is not merely a magic show, though the award-winning magician pulls off a handful of truly amazing tricks during the performance. It's not simply a one-man play, though DelGaudio's engaging autobiographical monologues would keep audiences rapt even without the illusions. And it's not best described as an interactive experience, though DelGaudio's most impactful maneuvers involve his relationship with the audience.
In & Of Itself is all three of these ideas combined in a complicated, compelling, and deeply moving package that is difficult to explain without spoiling. The stage show ran in Los Angeles and off-Broadway for more than 500 performances. Frank Oz directed and co-produced a film of the performance, now out on Hulu.
The show fundamentally is about identity, both DelGaudio's and his audience's: how much of that identity is self-selected, how much of it is chosen for us by others, how much of it is real, and how much of it we keep secret. DelGaudio tries to show that giving an identity a name—whether or not it's the "right" one—greatly influences how we see ourselves, for better and for worse. If you've ever loudly declared "I am a [fill-in-the-blank]," In & Of Itself will prompt you to consider why.