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  • Michael Kohnhorst

TJ & Dave Photo

If you want to see an extraordinary creative process that just happens to be a great show, go see TJ and Dave. TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi perform most Wednesdays at 10:30 PM in the Mission Theatre at io Chicago. Recently, I watched these improvisational masters create a time and place and bring no less than five characters to life while telling a nuanced, detailed, humorous and occasionally touching story. In my mind’s eye, I saw these characters in real environments, and the idea of photographing TJ and Dave on location was hatched. I pitched the idea and they liked it. They suggested the presence of their three simple chairs, which are the only things on stage when they perform. I scouted several locations but was most drawn to the Quincy Street El Station. It was restored a few years back and it has a distinct Chicago look and feel. They liked it too, so on March 15, 2015, TJ and Dave carried three chairs onto the El at Sedgewick and got off at the Quincy Street Station. We spoke briefly, and while we had phones to communicate, my direction was limited to choosing the area on the platform for them to do their thing. Several CTA employees inquired as to what the hell we were doing, but we really weren’t disturbing anyone or interfering with CTA operations and they left us alone for the 30 or so minutes we took to shoot. We really lucked out when a mother and child wandered into our world and the boy climbed up on an empty chair. I had a ball, and I love it when they use one of my shots for promotion.

To learn more about the art of improvisation you can't do better than TJ & Dave's book, Improvisation At The Speed of Life, written with Pam Victor and with a forward by Amy Sedaris.


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