Found in a Box, Supposedly Empty... | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Found in a Box, Supposedly Empty...



FOUND IN A BOX, SUPPOSEDLY EMPTY..., at the Theatre Building. "You're out of control! You're all over the place!" declares a doctor with a predictable German accent in one of the sketches that make up this show. His observation is accurate when it comes to most of Found in a Box, Supposedly Empty.... Some of the routines performed by writer-directors Trini Presswood and Crafty James have some potential: a mimed fast-draw contest, a rap song about working in a sandwich shop, and several dazzling exchanges of "who's on first?"-style repartee. On the other hand there are Patrick Stewart voices, Minnie Mouse voices, Butterfly McQueen voices, sassing-the-customer gags, Odd Couple gags, and an overabundance of homosexual gags--mostly the two partners assuring us, and each other, that they are not.

What most cripples Presswood and James's show, however, is not the uneven material but the lack of a context to give it shape. Despite a rudimentary framing device--something about passing time in purgatory's waiting room--the program is little more than a collection of comic bits, frequently delivered so softly and swiftly as to be unintelligible. The hyperactive James and the laid-back Presswood appear to be having a jolly time, but without an outside eye to sharpen transitions and reinforce focus, the duo's performances remain insular: we don't share in the fraternal glee.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →