If you loved choose-your-own-adventure stories as a kid, Lore is the show for you.
Audience members are presented with a “menu” of a cryptic selection of words, printed in colorful chalk, upstage. It turns out that each word is connected to a sketch, and as each one ends, the audience is directed to shout out “SEXYTIMES!” or “AFFIRMATION!” or “DIE DIE DIE!” to begin the next one.
Of course, the MC for the evening (Sam Bonar) had a great deal of flexibility in choosing which sketch to do next, but the audience participation aspect felt meaningful enough.
It’s hard to connect a series of improv sketches to any kind of overarching concept, but Lore actually manages to do a decent job. All of this could have been a disaster with less-talented actors, but WiT’s talented crew keeps things running smoothly.
Many of the individual sketches seemed to be fairly standard—although very well-executed—improv games. But the show really shone when the sketches were most closely connected to the core theme: what constitutes modern mythology, and how new stories are created.
by Washington Improv Theater
1835 14th Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009
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The theme was explored most effectively in “FAN-FAN,” a sketch about fanfiction. Not the Harry Potter or Twilight fanfiction that some of us might be familiar with, but fanfiction about a character from DOC, an earlier sketch that was supposed to be a documentary that turned into a rambling medical drama. Of all the characters in all the sketches over the course of the evening, the ones in “FAN-FAN” stayed with me the longest. Perhaps this says something about how characters and ideas become part of our collective mythology… which, after all, might be what Lore is about.
Occasionally, some of the sketches fell flat, notably “SEXYTIMES,” which was supposedly in the format of a Penthouse letter, but took the panting and dirty-talk a little too far to be funny.
Of course, chances are that nothing in this review will ever appear in a performance of Lore again. Such is the challenge with reviewing an improv show. But the actors are talented and keep the show running at a good pace. This is definitely a fun one.