“Let’s Prank Call Each Other” is what happens when you combine cameras, dogs, puppets, dioramas, animation, dental floss, overhead projectors, video games, nostalgia, loneliness and hairspray. In other words, everything you might expect in a show named after prank calls, minus telephones.
Zach Dorn comes from Los Angeles, and seems to dabble in a little bit of everything. His solo show, “Let’s Prank Call Each Other,” plays like a one-man variety show in which the host uses every medium he can in the hopes of creating a meaningful connection in an increasingly isolated world. There’s an emphasis on the past — past successes, past failures, past relationships, past pets, etc. Dorn also fixated on a sense of nostalgia for a time when communication and connection seemed simpler, when people had to visit real stores and see real faces, when making phone calls was more of an intentional effort, even if it was only for a laugh.
It is also hilarious! Zach Dorn is engaging, endearing and self-effacing, with a quick wit that folds jokes inside of jokes inside of jokes, told while crawling under tables or inserting his face into miniature sets. He somehow managed to make basic math funny!
But the humor isn’t limited to his physical performance — the show is full of physical artwork — shadow puppets, painted puppet scenes and dioramas display Dorn’s unique artistic talents and play with light and perspective. His mini-stories are accompanied by meticulous lighting and music, and he even created a “video game” for the show.
“Let’s Prank Call Each Other” is a charming, neurotic fun fest that is also refreshingly creative. It’s highly detailed yet spontaneous. It’ll make you miss Toys “R” Us, landlines and your first girlfriend. It’s downright magical, really. Zach Dorn can expect a prank call from my house someday. See his show, and maybe you’ll find yourself prank calling him one day, too.
Hilly Kenkel is a former vocal performance major and lifelong lover of music, political science nerd, podcast junkie, and Cincinnatian. She goes through sporadic periods of obsessive sourdough baking, weight lifting, distance running, and gardening.