Veritas, My Naked Friends, at ImprovOlympic. Director Jimmy Carrane seems to have instilled an appreciation of Sanford Meisner's acting techniques in this young ensemble: Veritas gels during the opening scene once the cast members develop their characters by recognizing and fleshing out their surroundings. It's a risky approach, but it's also invigorating to watch My Naked Friends step back from the proceedings to explore how the choices they make will affect the story's outcome, employing silence, deliberating over ensemble balance, and looking at the piece's overarching structure.
But the nine-member group needs to find a better way of bookending the show to pull it out of the workshop state it's mired in at present. For all the important connections the opening scene establishes, it offers too many competing voices: on opening night, most of the cast piled onstage to chew over the audience suggestion of "campfire," cluttering up what might have been a strong two- or three-person scene. Still, on a night when no one in Wrigleyville cared about anything but the Cubs, this gutsy troupe compensated for the distractions and stayed focused. That kind of will, coupled with a little more stage time to iron out the kinks, may be all it takes to transform Veritas from an intriguing demonstration of process to a worthwhile product.