Newcity, January 9, 2003
"Recommended" by Newcity
Tip of the Week
by Nina Metz
Combining long-form improv with gonzo film-making, "The Neutrino Project" is the logical outgrowth of "The Blair Witch Project"; if you can make a movie using a video camera and improvising actors, why not flip the concept around and make an improv show using a video camera and, well, improvising actors? The result is a completely spontaneous one-hour flick created on-the-spot Saturday nights at WNEP Theater. Here's how it works: A group of actors, videographers, and runners led by director Fuzzy Gerdes gather on stage at the start of the show and solicit an audience suggestion. Then they break off into four teams and dash out into the Lakeview neighborhood, where they begin shooting brief improvised scenes. In about five minutes, the first team completes their shot, a runner grabs the video and hauls ass back to the theater where technical manager Greg Inda cues it up and starts the movie. As the runner ventures back out into the cold to track down his comrades, a runner from the second team shows up with the next scene. The process is repeated multiple times, and what evolves is an almost-real-time episodic film that manages to tie together all the disparate scenes (and teams) together by a final shot. While the performances are hit-and-miss (Dan Izzo and Beth Melewski are standouts), the sheer novelty of the concept, first created at New York's Upright Citizens Brigade, makes this experiment a success and a compelling first step in exploring the boundaries of improv.
"The Neutrino Project" plays Saturdays at 10:30 pm at WNEP Theater, 3209 North Halsted, (773) 296-1100