In The Compass, a history of the fabled mid-50s Chicago company that revived improvisation as a source of creativity and entertainment, Janet Coleman tells how Compass actors abandoned improv ideals–being in the moment, playing the “where”–in favor of crowd-pleasing jokes. The tension between form and laughs has been a staple of the genre ever since. You can see it tugging at the six-member CarniKids Productions cast. Trouble is, nobody here has the chops yet to succeed at either pole. Saddled with a convoluted set of rules that has them working mostly in pairs, they can demonstrate both craft and humor–but only in a stumbling, fitful way. Mostly, they seem to confuse each other. This probably isn’t a permanent situation; some of these guys seem talented. Or at least determined. But they shouldn’t go using this as their audition piece. Through 2/24: Thu 10:30 PM. ImprovOlympic, 3541 N. Clark, 773-880-0199. $5.