The above is a bastardized version of a G.K. Chesterton quote, as bastardized by the magnificent Jeff Greenwald, whose show I saw last night. And what a fantastic show it was! Jeff is a mesmerizing storyteller with 25 years of travel stories stored up in his feverish brain.
His show works a bit like a couple shows I’ve seen through the years and loved (and wanted to steal). One was a David Hancock play done back at Frontera@Hyde Park Theater in Austin (where I was later a literary manager, but that’s a whole other story). In that play, a dude was holding a garage sale, and the audience would make offers on different items, and the dude would tell a story about the item and decide not to sell it. Thus, every show was different, while still having a basic throughline that stayed the same. The other was Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind by the Neo-Surrealists, which most people know about so I’ll just describe it as a bunch of stories told in random order as determined by the audience calling out numbers.
Jeff Greenwald’s show features a Wheel of Fortune which audience members spin. Wherever it lands, that’s the story you get. Last night, we got stories about diving in the Phillipines, touring a giant Buddha in Thailand, and a devastating story about his screwing up a meal in his honor in a tiny town in Nepal that had never seen a Westerner. Jeff is doing another show soon at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley and is sometimes at the Marsh, so if you get a chance, go! It will never be the same show, but it will always be fascinating.