Short Shorts | Annoyance Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Short Shorts The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Wednesdays. Continues through Sept. 2 2009

These two ensemble-generated playlets prove that the quality of improv is not strained. Or shouldn't be, anyway: you can't base laughs on mere quirks without losing crucial elements like plot and character. Are We Really Doing This?, a gag-reflex take on the casual cruelty of teenagers on a road trip, confuses escalating shock effects with comic momentum. Though the jokes fit the actors as types, they still come across as exercises in exposition. More real and therefore funnier is The Pathetic Loser Show, about a guy turning his dead-end life into an imaginary talk show broadcast from his studio apartment. The piece uses detail to suggest all the other losers who don't deserve their own show, either. Going beyond Wayne's World reductionism, director Jordan Roth and his cast find pathos in the smell of cat urine where there's no cat. --Lawrence Bommer

Price: $10

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