By December 19, 2017 0 Comments Read More →

Elegant Calves and Sea Shanties: Chicago’s Improvised Jane Austen

Improv Austen Cast

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending a theatrical in honor of Miss Jane Austen’s 242nd year of birth. In loft on Chicago’s Broadway Street, a troupe of women paid their respects to Miss Austen—exemplary authoress of the Regency era—by fabricating a satirical, gently mocking tale of social mores and romance. . . all off the top of their heads!

In a mere three quarters of an hour, a handsome young lady amended her once toad-like singing voice after the demise of her music instructor, poor Mr. Jenkins. A wealthy gentleman accepted his own grooming defect and, at last, proposed to the aforementioned lady in a cemetery. In a particularly clever subplot, the gentleman’s sister chimed in with dreary musings and observations à la Mary Bennet. Recreation ranged from indoor promenades to rumbling to the seaside in a barouche. Although Mr. Woodhouse would protest, we feasted upon cake and mimosas after the performance, making introductions and taking turns about the room. Since I dressed for the occasion in a coral frock, the cast generously took their portrait with me on stage before I took my leave.

Improvised Jane Austen periodically performs in various locales in Chicago; whether you are a local theatergoer or are arranging a holiday in the Windy City, be sure to include their Facebook page, Twitter, or website in your regular correspondence to take heed of their upcoming shows. Bibliophiles seeking wit and merriment in the style of their beloved heroine will find much to rejoice in here.

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About the Author:

Biz Hyzy works as an editorial assistant for Booklist's Adult Books department, where she pilfers the most appealing ARCs before anyone else gets the chance. Besides reading, she enjoys swing dancing and ninja training (though, in her case, both include a lot of bumbling around).

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