The Neutrino Project | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Neutrino Project

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The Neutrino Project, FuzzyCo, at WNEP Theater. It's hard to wrap your head around the concept of an hour-long, mostly improvised show videotaped and projected in what comes close to real time. Blurring the lines between filmmaking and theatrical performance, FuzzyCo's The Neutrino Project crackles with possibility and the innate charm of its unorthodox approach. This show offers the chance to see something you've never seen before assembled with unrestrained enthusiasm.

Four video cameras follow the 12 cast members as they maneuver around the intersection of Halsted and Belmont, improvising on the basis of audience suggestions; runners take finished tapes to the theater's booth for projection. The show's cast and crew seem constantly aware of the various handicaps they face--limited time and financial resources, unsuspecting bystanders--but once again necessity proves the mother of invention.

Technically the show is reasonably sophisticated: high and low angles communicate status shifts, while back-and-forth POV shots trace the flow of the dialogue. And from an improv standpoint it's invigorating: since the performers don't have to worry about facing an audience, they can take a suggestion and hit the ground running. The result is visceral and agreeably mutable: even when the stars aren't aligned, the actors achieve a level of intimacy and honesty that shows The Neutrino Project has more to offer than just virtuoso tech work.

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