Created by Jonathan Pitts
Co-produced by Chicago Improv Festival and Piven Theatre
“In improv you need a group mind but in “Storybox” you need a group heart”-Jonathan Pitts
“We are story-tellers, and today, we are here to create a story just for you. Do you want the story to be about a man or a woman”? The first words uttered in Storybox, a non-traditional theatre piece combining long form improvisation, Noh Theatre, and Viewpoints (a method using topography and movement to create theatre and build ensemble).
The same story will never be told twice as a new story is created for each performance on the spot. Storybox is an improvised play, but not “improv” in the traditional sense. The ensemble uses improvisational games and techniques to create a story. I was pleasantly surprised to see a dramatic story told through improvisation, and how the ensemble created a narrative arc. The caveat being I feel the ensemble lacked the physical and emotional stamina for a 90-minute play, making the expressionistic moments more engaging than the literal storytelling.
Imagination is required of the audience because wooden rods and colored clothes are the only things on stage to enhance the ensemble created environment. A talented two-man band plays a variety of instruments adding another layer to the storytelling.
As someone who has seen a lot of theatre over the years, it was refreshing to see something new and different. If you are looking for something experimental in a summer of blockbuster movies take a risk on this.
At Piven Theatre, 927 Noyes St, Evanston IL, (847) 866-8049, tickets are $15, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:30pm, running time is 90 minutes with no intermission, Through August 2.