The Improvised Shakespeare Company | Chicago ( iO Theater )

Improvised Shakespeare Company
Improvised Shakespeare Company
Improvised Shakespeare Company

Improvisation Paves the Way

Have you heard of the renowned Improvised Shakespeare Company (ISC)? If you are yet to learn about them or haven’t had the chance to witness a performance, you’ll want to snatch up the opportunity to see them at the iO Theater in Chicago! The ISC completes over a decade in 2017, and each show has received loads of accolades and praise from both audiences and critics.

About ISC

The quality of entertainment at The iO Theater is just like wine, which keeps getting better with every show. As is evident from the name, their main focus is on improvisation – no wonder they’ve been touted as Chicago’s best and funniest improv group by both the Chicago Reader and the Chicago Examiner! The group is also the proud recipient of the New York Nightlife Award for “Best Comedic Performance by a Group” and was honored by the Chicago Improv Foundation as its “Ensemble of the Year.” They have entertained audiences at prestigious events and functions such as the Piccolo Spoleto Fringe Festival, Off Broadway in New York City, Bonnaroo, the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival, Outside Lands, San Francisco Sketchfest, UCB’s Del Close Marathon, and Just For Laughs festival in Montreal and Chicago.

What can you expect from an ISC production?

If you enjoy humor and a good belly laugh, along with amusing comebacks and sharp innuendos, then attending the next show of ISC should be on top of your list. Based on one audience suggestion (a title for a play that has yet to be written), ISC devises a play by emulating Elizabethan styles and themes. The entire play is improvised – there is no planning, rehearsal or script involved here. With a hilarious take on “thee’s” and “thou’s”, each player contributes beautifully to the show, which consists of off-the-cuff comedy by using language and ideas of William Shakespeare. Your funny bone will be on overdrive due to an oddball mix of power struggles, star-crossed lovers, sprites, kings, queens, princesses, sword-play, rhyming couplets, asides, insults, persons in disguise, and anything that draws inspiration from the works of the great playwright. Since the play is conceptualized along the lines of improvisation, every performance is unique – one night you might see a tragedy, while the next show might switch gears with rib-tickling comedy!

All their shows have been sold out for the past few years, so please reserve your seats right now – it is a fantastic way to spend a night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Glass Menagerie (Tennessee Williams)

The Oddities of Family Dynamics

If you love theater, chances are you have already seen a rendition of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. However, it is always a pleasure to see this four-character memory play that first opened way back in 1944. In case you haven’t seen it, you are missing out on a great play and need to get tickets right away.

The foundation of the play…

The Glass Menagerie opens in a Wingfield apartment in St. Louis, where the mother Amanda lives with her crippled daughter, Laura, and working son, Tom. It is the 1940s, and Tom is explaining to us that the play is his memory (1930s) being re-told and is full of quirky memory elements such as strange lighting and music. The father is absent, as he “happily” abandoned them years ago. A large screen is also brought in front of the audience that is used to project images and pictures as the play unfolds.

…and the plot thickens!

Tom is having dinner with his family, when Amanda asks Laura to look nice and pretty for her “gentlemen callers” but her daughter doesn’t have callers and neither does she expect any. It is implied that Amanda had callers when she lived in the South, so she wishes the same for Laura. Her daughter describes a boy named Jim she used to have a thing for in high school, and it is here that we see her glass menagerie obsession. Amanda seems annoyed at Laura due to her overly shy nature, due to which she dropped out of a typing class. Things aren’t much better between mother and son too as he is forced into doing a job he hates and wants to leave, but he can’t do so because of his obligation to support his family financially. The ever-dominating matriarch calls him selfish for constant reading, dancing, drinking, and escaping to the movies.

Curtains it is…

The end moments culminate in a kaleidoscope of events – Amanda asks Tom to get a gentleman caller for Laura, who turns out to be her old crush, Jim. The women are excited, but Laura hides in the living room till Jim gets her to open up and talk freely. A kiss happens, but he is engaged and takes off, leaving Laura sad and Amanda seething with rage, as she feels her son played a trick on them. Tom follows in his father’s footsteps and leaves his family. The past merges with the present, as he says it has been 10 years, even though he is unable to forget his sister.

Please make sure you book tickets early to avoid disappointment!

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