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

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 2 2009

Because it's hard to make up a decent story on the spot, improv usually stresses character relationships and situations instead of narrative. Not so here. In this collaboration between Chicago Improv Festival Productions and the Piven Theatre Workshop, conceived by Jonathan Pitts, a group of performers use music, movement, and ritualistic story-theater techniques to weave a brand new tale right before your eyes. It's an interesting concept, but on the night I saw the show, the story--about the travails of a drug-addicted alt-weekly freelancer (I tried not to take it personally)--oscillated between aimlessness and melodrama. Nick Johne's production feels a lot like an acting class: full of earnest, somber performances from people wearing black and trotting through exercises that should support a story but come close to supplanting it. --Zac Thompson

Price: $15

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