Trigger improv show tackles tough issues

Staff Writer

The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St., presented the opening night of their inaugural sketch comedy revue Trigger Saturday night, Oct. 1. Written and performed by a six member cast, directed by Cassie Ahiers, produced by John Stoop and featuring live jazz music from the Cam Cunningham Trio.

According to the Revival website, Trigger is an exploration of chain reactions. How past events impact our lives in 2016. What price will others pay for the choices we make today? From flawed presidential nominees to kids on the south side with hoop dreams, Trigger is a hilarious and irreverent sketch comedy revue.

The concept of the show is relevant and timely and the success hinges on whether or not the performers can introduce hot button topics like race and sexuality and violence in a way that doesn’t turn the audience off but draws them in and makes them feel comfortable.

“Our challenge was to figure out how to make these things funny, our job is to provide a satirical view of some very intense source material,” Ahiers said. We wanted to discuss guns and trigger warnings (the now famous University of Chicago phrase for hot button topics). We did that by having the performers pitch us what they wanted to see in the revue. From there we would rehearse and rehearse until it was natural.”

That is where a highly skilled cast comes in handy.

“When it came time to cast the show we knew who we wanted, it was more about making phone calls and appealing to actors we thought would be good fit then auditioning people and building the cast,” said John Stoops, the show’s producer and the owner of Revival.

The show runs about an hour long and there are many sketches that are laugh out loud. If you are not a native Chicagoan some jokes might not be as charming but the bit about an actual party as a metaphor for political parties is pitch perfect as was the black family v. the white family on a game show and the small town tourists taking the “el” in big the City of Chicago.

“I think it showed us that we have more in common than we have different but those differences are still very important to who we are,” said audience member Dominique Lewis. “And it was really refreshing to see them shown through comedy.”

The show runs through Nov. 5 and tickets can be purchased online at