Chris Anger. Photo-Louisville Improvisors


Jim Thorpe – All American

The Louisville Improvisors

Review by Keith Waits

Entire contents are copyright © 2014 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

When we are old enough to become truly reflective about the life we have led, we discover touchstones that serve as mileposts in telling our story: cultural, geographical…whatever serves the purpose of framing or punctuating the narrative. Chris Anger of the Louisville Improvisors understands this, which is why he has titled this show Jim Thorpe – All American. At first glance, the single greatest all-around athlete in American history may seem like an unlikely symbol for the second part of Anger’s autobiographical series of monologues, but be assured, Anger makes the connection in ways that are deeply satisfying, but which I will leave for you to discover yourself.

As an actor specializing in improvisational comedy, Mr. Anger has made quite a reputation as a cuttingly sarcastic comic presence in Louisville, and he hasn’t dropped his sense of humor here so much as relaxed and let it soften a bit. We now find him an even more wry and contemplative mood than he was in last year’s entry in the Slant Festival, Dead Astronauts, which was part one of this series. As he recounts time spent in San Francisco as a young man, lost in a cycle of alcohol and drug dependency, Anger displays a vulnerability and compassion new to his work. He assiduously avoids the clichés of the well-worn genre of dependency confessional, never apologizing and never asking forgiveness. These currents are implicit in the subject, and I believe Anger cannily lets the audience impose its own expectations and prejudices on this aspect of his story.

With a tale to spin that traverses the U.S. from New Jersey to California to Pennsylvania, Jim Thorpe is simultaneously intimate and epic both geographically and emotionally. Anger doesn’t just include location in his story, but builds a scenario of details, establishing a solid sense of place for many of the incidents, positioning this material for a claim to greatness. The potential is there, but it awaits the next chapter before we can know for certain. Keep your eyes on Slant in 2015 to see if find Mr. Anger’s return engagement on the schedule.


Jim Thorpe – All American

Part of the Slant Culture Theatre Festival

The Louisville Improvisors

Walden Theatre
1123 Payne Street
Louisville, KY 40204

Thursday, November 13 – 9:30 pm
Saturday, November 15 – 9:30 pm
Thursday, November 20 – 9:30 pm
Sunday, November 23 – 5:30 pm

Tickets $12

Keith[box_light]Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at the Louisville Visual Art Association during the days, including being one of the hosts of PUBLIC on ARTxFM, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for[/box_light]