SALT LAKE CITY — The Heart & Core of the Game, written and performed by Kaltin Kirby, is a one man show of his interviews of people all over the city on what it means to be alive. The show gets real very fast as people open up and share their stories. The stage set up was simple, with two chairs on either side of a rack of clothing hung up and a few scarves draped over top.

Show closed August 11, 2019.

When I saw this show last year, I was impressed with Kirby’s ability to take on someone else’s persona so accurately. I’m still impressed, and I want to see this one every year it plays. As he changed from the response of one person to a new person, he took off a piece of clothing and added a new one. I noticed how reverently he treated each item as if he was remembering them for who they were and appreciating their existence. I also could hear the different way of speaking each person had based on his technique of playing their recorded interviews in his ear and repeating every mumble and sigh they gave. It was fun to see how interesting different people are when played by the same actor.

When Kirby shares his own response to the question of when did he feel alive, it is a powerful once-in-a-lifetime experience of finally giving himself the freedom to let emotions flow through his body without stopping them or blocking them. His performance in that moment reminded me to breathe, to notice what emotions were currently in my own body, and to just acknowledge their presence and feel gratitude for the gift of feeling and experiencing life. This reminder is the message Kirby shared at the end: being alive is so beautiful, wonderful, courageous, and important. There is nothing worthless about a life, and there is everything worth living for.

This show is not one to miss at the fringe festival this year. The show brought me to the deepest part of myself and had me pondering why life matters. I can’t recommend this show enough and was glad to see it back at The Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival again this year.

The Heart & Core of the Game plays various dates and times through August 11, 2019 as part of the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival. Ticket prices vary. For more information about the Festival, visit their website.