The Improvised Shakespeare Company





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Published on Jul 23, 2010

-Time Out Chicago

THE IMPROVISED SHAKESEPEARE COMPANY - Fully Improvised Plays Using the Language and Themes of William Shakespeare

Based on one audience suggestion (a title for a play that has yet to be written) The Improvised Shakespeare Company creates a fully improvised play in Elizabethan style. Each of the players has brushed up on his "thee's" and "thou's" to bring you an evening of off-the-cuff comedy using the language and themes of William Shakespeare. Any hour could be filled with power struggles, star-crossed lovers, sprites, kings, queens, princesses, sword-play, rhyming couplets, asides, insults, persons in disguise and all that we've come to expect from the pen of the Great Bard. The night could reveal a tragedy, comedy, or history. Nothing is planned-out, rehearsed, or written. Each play is completely improvised, so each play is entirely new!

In 2005, Blaine Swen founded The Improvised Shakespeare Company in Chicago. After a successful fall run on the Donny's Skybox stage at The Second City the show was taken, at the request of Charna Halpern, to IO Chicago. It has run to sold out houses for the last 3 years.

Now, The Improvised Shakespeare Company has found itself on the road, including a trip to the prestigious Piccolo Spoleto Fringe Festival in Charleston SC (where The ISC was reviewed as one of the top shows in the festival!) The group also performs limited engagements at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York City where stars from SNL, Mad TV, and The Office have been seen watching the show in amazement. In July, 2009, The Improvised Shakespeare Company was a featured act at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, Canada and performed to an audience of 2000 for the JFL TV show.


"Mind-blowing... It was one of the funniest, most amazing things I've ever seen."
- The Charleston City Paper

- Best Comedic Performance by a Group

Featured show at the prestigious JUST FOR LAUGHS Comedy Festival in Montreal, Canada

"The chemistry among the performers was amazing, and their play came together seamlessly. By the time they started to speak in rhyming couplets, the crowd was totally sold. If they're in town again, don't miss them. Seriously."
- Time Out New York

"Set aside your preconceptions about Shakespearean theater. It's not all pretentious, puffy-garbed players trained to speak foreign English at the Raised Hand School of Acting. IO Chicago's rollicking hit show "Improvised Shakespeare" is smart and knowing enough to delight Elizabethan drama fans and charming enough to win over the most avowed Anglophobes."
-- Centerstage Chicago

"Improvised Shakespeare... Quite possibly the most handsome, winning, smartest, wittiest, silly, talented, ambitious, intelligent troupe in Chicago. They completely improvise a Shakespearean play complete with references, archetypes, allusions, and sometimes even iambic pentameter. They can do high brow, low brow, fast, slow, topical, and historical AND have it all be funny."
- Chicago Comedy Examiner

"...the show channels Monty Python as often as the Bard, and frequently with sly-witted results."
- The Chicago Tribune

"DON'T MISS... One of Chicago's most lauded pieces of live comedy... "
-- Time Out New York

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