iO, or iO Chicago, is a theater located at 3541 N. Clark St., in Chicago, Illinois, one-half block south of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. The theater both teaches and hosts performances of improvisational comedy. It was founded in the 1980s by Del Close and Charna... MORE
iO, or iO Chicago, is a theater located at 3541 N. Clark St., in Chicago, Illinois, one-half block south of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. The theater both teaches and hosts performances of improvisational comedy. It was founded in the 1980s by Del Close and Charna Halpern. iO concentrates on "long-form" improvisational structures, in contrast to the "short-form" or "improv game" format of Theatresports or the television show Whose Line Is It Anyway?. The iO's signature piece is the "Harold". The theater consists of two performing spaces: the downstairs "Cabaret", which is a cabaret-style minimal stage, and the upstairs "Del Close Theater", which is a more traditional theater-style performance space with a backstage area and entrances/exits on the set. There are full bars located in both spaces. There are performances both upstairs and downstairs every night of the week, with the exception of some holidays. Shows can consist of either a Harold or a "show". Shows can be special limited runs of a particular group / piece, or they can be open runs of long standing formats using regular performers at the theater. A typical "Harold performance" consists of 2 or 3 groups doing a Harold; newer teams usually open the night and more veteran teams give the final performance. On some nights, usually in the downstairs theater, they will play the short form game "The Dream" using an audience volunteer after the second Harold of the night, and then play the short form game "Freeze" after the final Harold. A "show" slot typically, but not always, has a Harold team open for them, usually one of the newer teams. LESS
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