For those of you high schoolers who will be visiting DePaul on your respective spring breaks this year, I have one recommendation for something to do. It is, in my mind, so quintessentially Chicago that you simply must not miss the opportunity to experience it.
I have talked about TJ and Dave before but for those of you have not heard me sing their praises to this point, Tj Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi are two improvisers here in town who are the artistic directors of iO’s Mission Theatre in their new space on Kinhsbury. In addition to moderating the shows that play at The Mission, they have their own 90 minute show that they do every Wednesday night at 10:30pm eponymously titled TJ & Dave. They come on the stage, introduce each other, drop their trademark line of “Trust us, this is all made up”, the lights go down, the lights come up, and they tear into 90 minutes of improve right off the tops of their heads. They don’t take suggestions, they just look at each other and the scene grows from whatever behavior is happening in that moment. It is quite honestly the best theatre I have ever seen. These two men are such incredible quality actors that them just existing together creates some of the funniest, poignant, and thought-provoking theatre being done anywhere. Most people are familiar with the sketch-based improve that Chicago is known for thanks to Second City and iO, but this longform work is also a hallmark of the Chicago improve scene. The space is very intimate and the audience is always rapt because they know just how special the material unfolding before them can be. It’s only $10 but make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time because this show sells out every single week. If you’re interested, here’s a trailer for a documentary recently done about the guys that can whet your appetite.
Improv and storefront theatre are what make Chicago’s theatre scene the beautiful cacophony that it is and nothing encapsulates that spirit more than TJ & Dave.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
This song is love, people. “I’d rather be working for a paycheck, than waiting to win the lottery”