“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.” It’s a quote from Oscar Wilde’s play A Man Of No Importance, though it wouldn’t be an unfitting thesis for the short film Impromptu, by Bruce Alcock. The short follows an evening of meal preparation, when what begins as a dinner for two suddenly becomes a feast for the entire neighborhood. The tension of the story is the unnamed chef’s increasing frustration with the growing crowd in his home––a frustration that can be mended, and eventually tamed, with cuisine and music.
Impromptu leans hard into a non-realistic style, with Alexander Calder-esque lines and squiggles forming the film’s images against a white abyss. Shapes become humans, then twist to turn into salads, then bend once again to become instruments and infants. In this writer’s view, the film is best watched with the sound turned up high––even better if it can be watched with headphones, to fully immerse oneself in the intricately detailed soundscape.
Alcock’s short takes its name from the piano impromptu, a free-form piece in which the performer improvises based on the spirit of the moment. The short film captures a singular moment of unexpected composition, when the bringing together of good food, good friends, and good cheer can soothe even the roughest of hearts.
About the Author:
Zach Barr (they/them) is a freelance director and writer based in the Chicagoland area. Their work has previously been featured by Newcity Stage, Scapi Magazine, and on their own blog The Hanslick Girls. Zach serves as the Literary Associate at Sideshow Theatre Company, and is a recurring participant in Chicago Dramatists’ Playwrights Aloud series. Find Zach Barr on social (@AdmiralZachBarr), or on their website.