For improv troupe Close and Quartered, mockery is the sincerest form of flattery. The concept behind Stare Down: A Tarantino Make 'Em Up is simple: Get onstage and improvise a Quentin Tarantino film that has yet to be made. The reason this idea works is the underlying humor with which Tarantino writes his films. His talkative real-life criminals sporting skinny ties are so out of place in film's history of boring thugs cloned from past films year after year, that Tarantino's guys inherently bring a smile to your face. Once those quirky characteristics—whining about not having the adequate firepower for a hit, bickering about the color in their code names, analyzing the meaning of a foot rub—are amplified, the humor flows faster than blood from a point-blank bullet wound. Not only do the performers make us laugh at Tarantino archetypes (search YouTube for the show, and you'll see one staging with the posse in a bat-filled cave prompting one bandit to complain incessantly about the guano on his shoe), they remind us why we love the films in the first place. Stare Down proves once again that violence and humor go together like a Big Kahuna Burger and gunplay.
Fri., July 18, 7 p.m.; Fri., July 25, 7 p.m., 2008