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Dan Hoyle Encounters the Angry Populism of Folks Whom Sarah Palin Dubbed The Real Americans

Dan Hoyle will perform <em>The Real Americans</em> on April 27-May 1 as part of PlayMakers Rep's PRC<sup>2</sup> series

Dan Hoyle will perform The Real Americans on April 27-May 1 as part of PlayMakers Rep’s PRC2 series

PlayMakers Repertory Company will conclude its stellar 2015-16 season on April 27-May 1 with six provocative performances of The Real Americans, written and performed by Dan Hoyle, a self-described Brooklyn, NY “actor, playwright, journalist, sports fan, [and] politico,” in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Dramatic Art. An audience talkback with Hoyle, his creative team, and subject-matter experts will follow every performance of this PRC2 second-stage presentation, which was developed with and will be directed by Charlie Varon and will feature sound design by David Hines and additional music by Mars Today.

PlayMakers Rep claims this “Play depicting a road trip to find American identity is particularly timely in light of today’s national political conversation”

In its preshow news release, UNC’s professional-theater-in-residence adds:

“Armed with only a van and a tape recorder, [Dan] Hoyle traveled across the United States in search of what’s at the heart of the heartland. In addition to downhome hospitality, he witnessed angry populism among the citizens who have been called ‘the real Americans.’ With brilliant documentary storytelling that’s been compared to the work of Studs Terkel [1912-2008] and Charles Kuralt [1934-97], his reflections provide a unique look at the divide between big-city and small-town America.

“Hoyle is an actor/playwright/comedy writer whose brand of journalistic theater has been hailed as ‘riveting, funny and poignant’ (New York Times) and ‘hilarious, moving and necessary’ (Salon). His solo shows, including Tings Dey Happen, Florida 2004: The Big Bummer, Circumnavigator, and Each and Every Thing (Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award), have been performed at theaters and universities across the country.

“As an actor, Hoyle has appeared Off-Broadway and in several web comedy series. His multi-actor play Game On won the TBA Award, while another, The Block, will have its Off-Broadway premiere in June.

The Huffington Post described The Real Americans as ‘nothing short of brilliant: unsettling, poignant and hilarious.’ The San Francisco Chronicle found Hoyle’s performance ‘impressive … beneath the masterful humor, a rich texture of human connections asserts itself.’ The New Yorker calls him ‘smart, entertaining, funny, insightful and surprising.’

“‘This is an important — if not imperative — time to be investigating what makes our heartland tick and questioning the assumptions we make about our fellow Americans,’ says [PlayMakers Repertory Company] producing artistic director Vivienne Benesch. ‘We’re thrilled to have in Dan Hoyle a keen observer, empathic listener, astute writer and dynamic performer to lead audiences through this astonishing cross country road trip.'”

Dan Hoyle will perform <em>The Real Americans</em> on April 27-May 1 as part of PlayMakers Rep's PRC<sup>2</sup> series

Dan Hoyle will perform The Real Americans on April 27-May 1 as part of PlayMakers Rep’s PRC2 series

In his “Playwright’s note” for this PlayMakers Rep performance, Dan Hoyle writes:

“This show is based on a three-month trip I took thru Small-Town and Rural America in 2008 (and some follow-up conversations I had in 2009). It was not the first time I’d traveled through the South or the Heartland, but previous trips had been limited to a week or two at a time (I did not make it to North Carolina on this trip). This time Small-Town America was my home, thanks to my Ford E-150 camper van, with bed, Coleman stove, water jugs, and fridge stocked with cold beer and Walmart cold cuts. I kept my American flag T-Shirts in heavy rotation and I was polite, curious, friendly, and forthcoming, as was almost everyone I met.

“I did not expect to make the show I have made. I wanted to create a valentine to Small-Town American. Instead, I ran into the angry populism of the folks whom Sarah Palin famously called ‘The Real Americans.’ When the show premiered in February 2010, the Tea Party was just getting started, and the show played like breaking news. That is no longer the case, with Donald Trump having taken what I saw bubbling up in my travels and turning it into a full-throated roar, and sustained national campaign. And yet, in follow-up travels through Small-Town America, and in conversations with friends in New York and San Francisco, the lack of empathy and curiosity about what folks’ lives are really like can be shocking.

“And so I feel this show is relevant in a new way, as a challenge to move beyond our sound bite, video clip, gotcha coverage of each other and try to see the world through the eyes of our fellow countrymen. It’s what I tried to do on my trip, and I invite you to join me in that experience tonight. I hope you find the people you meet tonight as entertaining, frustrating, funny, moving, disturbing, and admirable as I did.

“Many of the characters are composites, their words a blend of several people’s and my own writing in service of the larger truth of my experiences. As always, I ask that you check your preconceptions at the door, kick back, and enjoy the show!”

Dan Hoyle will perform <em>The Real Americans</em> on April 27-May 1 as part of PlayMakers Rep's PRC<sup>2</sup> series

Dan Hoyle will perform The Real Americans on April 27-May 1 as part of PlayMakers Rep’s PRC2 series

SECOND OPINION: April 27th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods:

PlayMakers Repertory Company presents THE REAL AMERICANS, written and performed by Dan Hoyle at 7:30 p.m. April 27-30 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. May 1 in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art, 150 Country Club Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514, on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

TICKETS: $15 and up ($10 UNC students and $12 other college students), with discounts for UNC faculty and staff and U.S. military personnel.

BOX OFFICE: 919-962-PLAY,, or

GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919-962-PLAY (7529),, or




PRESENTER:,,,, and

PRC BLOG (Page to Stage):




Dan Hoyle (Brooklyn , NY actor, playwright, journalist, sports fan, and politico): (official website), (Facebook page), and (Twitter page).


Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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Categorised in: Features, Lead Story, Theatre Feature