Kenneth H. Brown's meticulous depiction of a day in a Marine prison camp caused a sensation when it premiered at New York's Living Theater in 1963. The guards' unrelenting, systematic dehumanization of their fellow Marine prisoners is appalling, especially since the abuse seems intended to instill loyalty to the Corps. And Brown's near-total eschewal of plot—the maltreatment goes on until it simply stops—removes any comforting fictive filter between audience and action. Wisely, director Jennifer Markowitz does nothing to make her Mary-Arrchie production enjoyable. Her actors endure an hour of exhausting physical drills while we watch from various uncomfortable locations. As movement theater, it's grotesquely beautiful; as a glimpse into the darkest recesses of male psychology, it's sickening. —Justin Hayford $25
At the start of each show an all-star ensemble creates a tableau onstage, then asks after a blackout, "Where in Chicago did that take place?" "Soccer practice" was the response the night I was there, and after an hour the improvisers--intensely alert and feisty--had crafted a veritable community, complete with idiosyncratic characters, unpredictable backstory, and tragicomic intrigue. Veteran T.J. Jagodowski, recognizable from a series of Sonic commercials he's done with quick-witted cast member Peter Grosz, played a thick-accented German coach. Abruptly launching a new scene by charging to the front of the stage, he squatted and gestured as he yelled at his coed youth team, "I will yank on your nuts like the Hunchback of Notre Dame working a bell!" --Ryan Hubbard $8
Closing Time is a noir crime drama; The Imminent Future follows two friends traveling through postapocalyptic America. $8-12
With Scott Free, featuring gay and lesbian spoken-word artists.