CIF’s curators value every ensemble they have selected for CIF’s 8 different artistic categories. No ensemble gets invited into CIF without their approval, so CIF’s curators really do want you to see every ensemble they have selected. We know that because of the size of CIF, this is impossible. We also know that while CIF’s 8 artistic categories make it easier for our audiences to choose what type of show they want to see during CIF, they may want even more guidance within these categories. So, we asked our curators to make a Curator Spotlight and put a spotlight on one or two ensembles that they are really excited about (but they really are excited about all the ensembles).
I was impressed by the submission video from ImprovBoston. Incredibly sharp and committed players. Very excited to see them play! Other shows are HOME: An Improvised Play which is featuring some of the best actor/improvisers in the city including my amazing sister Sadieh, and anytime you have a chance to see Lauren Lapkus (Wild Horses) or Katie Rich (Joan and Ro) you should jump on that. Two of the funniest people to pass through Chicago. And of course the Jason Chin Tribute Night will be a wonderful opportunity to see a few of the shows Jason created, the improvisers he had an impact on and to simply celebrate his work. – Adal Rifai (Long Form)
Change Machine from Pittsburgh and they’re from The Arcade Theater, which is run by Jethro and Kristy Nolen, former Chicago improv stalwarts. – Jack Bronis (Long Form)
We’re From Here was one of my favorite submissions. It is three ladies from Toronto and they are hilarious. They are veteran performers who are all amazing individually and they were so fast and supportive that the show looked effortless. – Jessica Mitolo (Long Form)
3peat, because honestly, I’m excited about my show 3peat because of the fast paced style of show we perform and we bring a diverse show into the mix.
I am also excited to see The Boys. It is a team made up of some of the best teachers and performers around. It’s a smart, funny, energetic show that I don’t get to see enough so I am really looking forward to watching. – Nnamdi Ngwe (Long Form)
Sonic is the team. The show is “Improvised Double Dare.” This show is nostalgic, inventive and forward thinking. I’m excited because the got Marc Summers to appear and host in person last year. Plus, they do great improv the whole time. – Nathan Jansen (Short Form)
My Spotlight is on Saintly Cherub. This team is the most playful team I’ve seen in a long while. Every scene they attack with unbridled enthusiasm that is such a delight to watch. Aside from non stop fun play, they seem to do everything and anything to make each other laugh to the point the audience is mostly likely getting a small peak into how these idiots behave when they’re not on stage. I’ve even seen a player accidentally rip his pants down the seam and watched as every performer unwrapped that beautiful accident into one of the funniest sets I’ve ever seen. This troupe epitomizes four friends partying on stage. It’s definitely not one to miss. – Caleb George (Emerging Artists)
Four Adult Friends was one of my favorite submissions in the Emerging Artists category. I prefer to watch shows where it feels like the people performing are friends in real life, and these guys definitely had that chemistry! – Mandy Sellers (Emerging Artists)
Wonderland from New York City. Wonderland does a great job of showcasing everything that audiences and performers both love about Musical Improv. They are proficient musicians, great storytellers, and hilarious comedians. They keep an audience laughing, but also engaged, and finally impressed. They are great at doing the simple things that make improvised musicals work, but their group work and confidence and talent make it seems far, far, far from simple. – Joey Bland (Music)
Mason & Mullaney. Honestly in excited for me and Mullaney to play. We are old school vets. But Gifford and Grush are two young up and comers in the dramatic category who will amaze too. – Rachael Mason (Drama)
I know I am suppose to select just one act to put a spotlight on, but since the category of Experimental improvisation opens up such a wide field of possibilities, I had to choose two acts.
Improsia does a new show called Fon and they are from Seattle and performed by two of Seattle’s best known and experienced improvisers, Andrew McMasters the artistic director of Jet City Improv and Joel Dale an ensemble member of Jet City. They’ve been playing together in different forms and formats over the years and it shows in their fearless embracing of their show’s main experiment which is to involve audience participation via live cell phones which are amplified through the venue’s speaker system. It’s new technology meeting a new way to do improv scenes.
From the other side of the continent, G.U.S. is the other ensemble I really have to recommend. They’re a 3 person group from New York and their show is an excellant example of unscripted theatre. Their premise is that its the end of the world and these three guys are stuck in a bunker trying to make do until something, anything, changes. It’s a great show that’s part Beckett and part reality tv without the tv because that world is over and only a few humans remain. It sounds grim, but that’s where some of the best funny and the best theatre lays waiting to be mined. – Jonathan Pitts (Experimental)
Spoken together in one voice: Hitch Cocktails – Kayce Alltop & Jason Geis (Co-Curators, Genre)
Thy Neighbor’s Goat and they are doing two shows at CIF. This first is three different stories from their countries history. Their second show is that they are doing a musical improv show about great Romania achievements that never happened. – Andy Eninger (International Relations Manager)