david pasquesi io Chicago

TJ and Dave's Sketch Revue is a TRAP You'll Want to Get Stuck In

Saturday, October 25, 2014 Cora

Improv legends TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi have opened The Mission Theater inside the new IO Building. Amidst a calendar of revolving acts of performing excellence, one of their mainstays will be the sketch revue, “TRAP”, directed by Jagodowski and Pasquesi.

As the closing song says, “Life is a trap…sometimes you get the teeth, sometimes the cheese.” The 100 minute revue focuses on those hard to escape moments we know too well, either from experience or horror stories from friends: going to lunch with a friend who thinks this is a first date to someone you care about being insensitive when a dog passes. These moments happen. You have a choice to view them as funny. The only way out and to never have them again is death. Scenes that could’ve been all too familiar were rejuvenated by small details. One of the first Second City touring shows I saw had a sketch where they talked down a jumper. The opening sketch featured someone blowing himself up. The cast talked to him, but didn’t talk him down. If anything we got a better picture to why he was blowing himself up. He was briefly saved by comedy, relating to a standup comic who took over the bullhorn, only to be steam rolled by the next character.

The second act utilized some great call backs. A fun romp in a hedge maze turns into a nightmare, bringing in a nice surreal element. What started as an upper class lady playing a game with her man servant morphs into the waitress we met earlier eluding her stalker. Two characters who failed to make situations right in the first act get the opportunity in the second. The high energy veteran comedy cast (Mike Brunlieb, Peter Collins, Paul Grondy, Mike Jimerson, Laurel Krabacher, Irene Marquette, and Tanner Tananbaum) worked well together and wasn’t cast in “roles”; there wasn’t the one straight man, the one wild and crazy guy, or the one loud woman. They each played different status characters, each got to be eccentric one scene only to be heart felt the next. It was fun seeing the ebb and flow and who they’d play next.

David Pasquesi and TJ Jagodowski I had a “TRAP” moment; I was the creepy audience member that happens to good improvisers. In the first act, they came out to improvise. I was asked what was something I could not resist? Several things went through my mind: chocolate covered chilies, bourbon, even bull riding. My gut reaction was “red heads”, but as red headed actor was in front of me I felt I couldn’t say that, so I said “men.” They played the scene very well for such a lousy suggestion. "TRAP" runs Thursdays through Sundays at 8 pm. Visit www.missiontheaterchicago.com for tickets and more information.

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