Two YouTubers, One Show, and a Lot of Busses

             Everyone knows what it's like to see a movie or play, but have you ever stopped to think how hard it is to write an entire stage show? Memorize hundreds, if not thousands of lines? What about living on a bus for many months at a time? Of course, actors and crew members get to see a lot of cool and interesting places, but it is definitely hard work put together an entire stage show and perform it over 20 times. Dan Howell and Phil Lester, (danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil) made their very own stage show, The Amazing Tour is Not on Fire, (or TATINOF for short), encompassing ideas from their videos as YouTubers and giving fans an opportunity to see and meet them in person. Their tour started in the U.K., but it was such a big hit that it was brought to the United States! As the US is so big, bringing a massive set, props, and an entire crew from city to city via a few busses is much harder than it seems. Dan and Phil Go Outside, (DAPGO) by Dan Howell and Phil Lester, describes life on tour, and how it is much harder than it looks to write and perform a show, as well as handling everything else that comes with it. It also notes different cities and the tourist attractions that can be done there. Dapgo gives a performer’s perspective on a show or play, as well as showing how outsiders see the United States as a whole. It presents the opportunity to understand more about how a show functions, from months, hours, and even minutes before the show is performed on stage.

             Dapgo not only being an interesting book, does provide some intel as to what outside perspectives of the United States (and Canada) are. Not only providing some self consciousness to common traditions of America, (that people from other countries are super confused by), but the book also highlights tourist attractions that are seen as important or famous by people who don't already live in the area. In the book, cities in Florida, New York, Massachusetts, Toronto, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Illinois, Texas, California, Washington and Nevada are all talked about. They discuss the many attractions of cities, as well as famous buildings and landmarks, (like the first Starbucks in Seattle). I specifically enjoyed reading about Chicago because as I've been there many times. I enjoyed reading their opinions on some of Chicago’s famous landmarks, such as Lake Michigan and the Bean, and of course the Chicago style pizza. Hearing them say how blue Lake Michigan is was also interesting to read, because I never thought of it a particularly blue until they seemed to make such a big deal about it. Furthermore, Phil discussed some of his strange encounters with people when ordering room service. Of course, even though these encounters were all abnormal, they do show some culture-based differences. This, as well as other small bits throughout the book, give a sense of things taken for granted in the US but are done differently or nonexistent in other countries such as the U.K.. Overall, even though the book’s intention isn’t supposed to be a formal travel guide, it does give some nice information on North American cities, and also provides some awareness of US culture that seems normal to an American, but to the rest of the world is really strange.

             Not only does Dapgo give some insight regarding culture, but it also gives a lot of detail to the process of making a live stage show. The book talks about before the show, when authors Dan and Phil start planning and writing the show. Dan and Phil discuss a lot of other people they had to meet with before hand, including a choreographer, set and costume designers, audio recording crew members, and a logo/ merchandise designer. Also, they talk a lot about the set, which is a basically a massive microwave that doubles as a screen, with pixels that look like they are exploding out of the microwave, along with pictures/objects such as a guinea pig, anime characters, and emojis, as well as other things that relate to their YouTube videos. The book shows different sketches of the set, as well as miniature models for size comparison. It also explains how the entire set had it’s own truck, and crew members had to be up around 6:00 AM to haul the large pieces into theatres and to have it ready and assembled hours before showtime. On that note, Dan and Phil had a BIG crew, consisting of over 20 people helping them on tour for over 2 months. In the book it shows a lot about friendship, communication, and working together, because two months on a bus with people you barely know (at least at first) can be a bit nerve wrecking. Having an entire crew of people, consisting of bus drivers, merchandise workers, people working on set, audio, lighting and tech people, makeup artists, and security guards as well as so many more accompanied Dan and Phil on their trip across America. But talking about some of the people in the book in such a positive manner shows how communicative and compromise-ive everyone had to be for the team to work smoothly and quickly.

             Overall, Dan Howell and Phil Lester’s book, Dan and Phil Go Outside, is a funny, interesting read about going on tour in a different country, and the ups and downs that came with it. It details the process of planning and running an entire stage show, as well as discussing some of the cities and states visited during their time in the US. I would rate Dapgo a five out of 5 stars, but because I am a fan of theirs already, I'm a bit biased. I think overall, if you are interested in theatre, and how a show is put together an ran, (basically the behind the scenes of a show), and get a little insight to an outsider’s perspective of the United States, then Dapgo is the book for you. Dan and Phil have a recorded version of their stage show, TATINOF, and a documentary called The Making Of Tatinof, on YouTube Red, if you'd rather watch then read. I definitely suggest all three, Dapgo for someone who wants background info, and lots and lots of pictures, TATINOF, for someone who wants to just see a good show, and The Making Of Tatinof for something in the middle. If you have read Dapgo before, did you enjoy it? If you haven’t, does it sound interesting to you? Have you heard of Dan and Phil, and are now interested in their book? I highly recommend reading Dan and Phil Go Outside, as it is a fun, interesting, awesome book.

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