Who are you?
If you saw Derek DelGaudio's In & Of Itself in its original incarnation as live theater, the first thing that happened was that as you went into the Daryl Roth Theatre, you passed a wall with little cards hanging on it, and you were meant to choose one. They said "I AM" on the top half, and then there was a word or a phrase on the bottom half. So you could choose "I AM the life of the party," or "I AM a father," or "I AM an accountant." The first time I went to see it in October 2017, I had sold my book only a couple of months earlier, and it was a year and a half away from publication. I chose "I AM a novelist." They collected the cards and tore them—you kept your I AM half, they kept the other half. The cards they kept were placed in a little stack. That's how it started.
I ultimately saw the show one more time with a friend in January 2018 (that time, I believe I chose "I AM a gamechanger" or something), because I couldn't bear that no one I was close to had seen it and could talk about it with me. Now, a filmed adaptation is available on Hulu. And they've managed to do something that's always hard with filmed theater and seemed like it was going to be almost impossible here: They've made this version feel very, very much the way one of the most powerful theatrical experiences I've ever had felt when I was in the room.
DelGaudio is ... well, he's a storyteller, and he's a performer, and he's a magician. You'll hear In & Of Itself referred to as conceptual magic or interactive theater or a one-man show. Those things are all technically true, but they're desperately incomplete. I might describe it as a series of vignettes, punctuated by some basic sleight-of-hand, some card tricks, and two of the most extraordinary audience-involved sequences I ever expect to see. I don't understand—at all—how either was done. I have tried not to make too many guesses. I don't want people to tell me their guesses. I know both sequences have earthly explanations, but I don't need them. I don't want them.