by Joseph Myers
Steinhardt senior Jason Boxer shared joy, happiness and introspection of the human condition with his solo improv performance, “A Nice Guy Doing Nice Things.” The fluid and playful nature perfectly fits with the late-night comedy environment of the People’s Improv Theater. Boxer skillfully assumes the roles of a myriad of characters, poking fun at everyday life’s eccentricities.
Boxer created a string of different but related scenes using only one word from a volunteer in the audience*— “cookie.” From the word “cookie” alone he created scenes about dating, surprise parties, love and test-taking, which all related back to “cookie.” He switched characters at the drop of a hat and paid great attention to detail in the mannerisms and speech of each character so his quick-paced dialogue is easy to follow. Each gesture, voice or sound effect is precise, leaving little room for confusion.
He plays each character with such enthusiasm and energy, that each scenario seems larger than life. His energy exudes exuberance and joy and is paired perfectly with his highly physical comedy. Boxer uses the space of the small black box theater very well, relying on exaggerated, expressive movements and pantomime. Each scene is truly hilarious and speaks a truth about everyday life and the human condition. This is particularly true in a touching scene between a heartbroken man and a drunken stranger discussing the differences between the often-confused feelings of love and infatuation and the vulnerability.
Boxer plays each character and scene with tremendous intention and care, while also feeding off of the energy of the enthusiastic audience. Although is is incredibly clear where he is going with each vignette, he stays true to the ever-developing, fluid nature of improv, discovering the arc of his narrative along with the audience.
Folk musicians Ned Steves and Pat Birk opened the show with a few mellow tunes, then Duncan Gregory introduced Boxer.
Joseph Myers is Theater/Books Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org