After years of stagnation and neglect pure improvisational comedy has over the last two years made a startling comeback. Suddenly the scene is filled with bright, young, creative, and committed improvisors who are willing to break the rules and take the form places it has never been before. Performing in groups with names like Ed, Jazz Freddy, and Pup Tent Theatre, this new generation has tossed out a lot of the tired old improv rituals in favor of experiments with 20-, 30-, 40-minute long-form improvisations. The Filmdome, the current brainchild of the people who brought us Ed and The Chris Hogan Show, has ambitions of pulling off a fully improvised, multilayered, three-act play. Judging by the blistering reviews they received early on, the first performances of Filmdome fell short of that goal. Two weeks into the run, however, this cast of five excellent performers was creating subtle, funny, intelligent work many playwrights would have given their left disk drives to have written. I’ll never forget the graceful and poignant ten-minute silent scene at the top of the show in which Lauren Katz and Melanie Hoopes, both performing with a Chaplinesque attention to the importance of small gestures, provided a quick sketch of a disintegrating marriage as reflected in the contrast between the wife’s slow, deliberate way of dressing and the quick and sloppy way her husband throws on his clothes and runs off to the office. Victory Gardens Studio, through September 12 (2257 N. Lincoln, 871-3000). Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8:30 PM. $10.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Joe Nicita.