Outreach Press

Storybox For Kids

Kane County Chronicle – Article

Geneva Students Put Pigs In Space
By Karen Long, 5/4/2007

The Storybox Theater group came to Mill Creek Elementary School with no idea what they were going to perform. The improvisation troupe, part of the Chicago Improv Foundation, took suggestions Friday during two shows and developed stories that had full casts of characters, including some students. “It seemed like they’d been rehearsing a long time,” 11-year-old Sarah Lewis said. Ryan Schneider, 11, agreed. “It didn’t look like they were making it up,” he said.

For one show, students were asked what gift they would give. After suggesting a pig, the three men and two women launched into a story about Tom, who wanted his pig to win a contest and the prize of $100 of McDonald’s food. “We had no idea we were going to do a pig show,” Storybox director and actor Jonathan Pitts said. Rudy the pig, played by Pitts, persuaded a student pig to skip the contest and escape to outer space. The pigs landed on the moon, only to find hostile moon chickens, played by two actors and student volunteers. “I like the chicken fight with the pigs,” 11-year-old William Morrison said.

The students who participated contributed to the energy of the show, said actor Tusiime Jackson, 35, of Chicago. “I love to see kids get up,” he said. “They want to be in the story.” Tom, watching Rudy on the moon in a telescope, took his mother there and saved the pigs by writing a poem. Students asked questions after the show about the characters’ backgrounds, which the actors made up along with the story, and whether the performers knew what each other would do.

Actor Elise Lammers, 24, of Chicago said the group members watched and listened to each other but didn’t have signals. “It’s just a matter of practice,” she said. Actor Jeremy Schaefer, who also is a 24-year-old from Chicago, was glad that students asked about the characters. “It indicated we created something that really spoke to them,” Schaefer said.

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