Armando Diaz Evente | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Armando Diaz Evente

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Armando Diaz Evente, FuzzyCo, at WNEP Theater. Few things are harder to pull off than long-form improvisation. And even when it works, it's not for anyone wedded to the traditions of climax, denouement, etc. However, those who enjoy seeing characters and situations developed out of thin air should appreciate this clever ensemble's proficiency. From the audience suggestion of "divorce court session," FuzzyCo's six men and five women created a courtroom scene involving sexual infidelity, a confused jury (do divorce courts have juries?), and a lawyer who speaks through a hand puppet and believes he's a god. This bit expanded into a family situation loosely involving some of the courtroom characters and others who watch the antics unfold on TV.

The group's strength on opening night was its ability to maintain characters while moving thinnish stories forward. Especially adept were Rob Smith as the lawyer-god, Zach Ward (a Giovanni Ribisi-meets-Andy Kaufman lost boy), and Dina Facklis as a mother figure who makes her own soap. Most important, the humor was consistently based in character; no one went for easy (i.e. potty) laughs. In fact, the players weren't focused on laughs at all but on drawing out the natural humor of the situations. Intricate plot lines and in-depth psychology? Hell no, but that's why we have Eugene O'Neill. Watching artists fly without a net is a different kind of fun.

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