1990 Off Off Loop Theater Festival | Festival | Chicago Reader

1990 Off Off Loop Theater Festival 

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Returning, after two years' hiatus, under the auspices of producer Doug Bragan's Douglas Theater Corp., this third not-so-annual event features 16 non-Equity companies in as many one-act plays, organized in programs of four. The selections range from experimental drama to camp melodrama to medieval farce to musical comedy to good ol' American naturalism. "One might select one of the four packages because of a particular play included in it," says a press release. "In addition to that play, three others are presented, showcasing other companies whose work one will be pleased to discover." One had better be pleased, since tickets to single plays are not available at this point (though a waiting list is being kept at the box office). At the Theatre Building, through April 15. Saturdays, 2 and 7 PM; Sundays, 1 and 6 PM. $14-$19 per four-play program; "marathon tickets," good for one whole day (two programs), $27. Prices apply to advance sales; tickets purchased day of performance cost an additional $3. The schedule is as follows:

OF ALL THE WIDE TORSOS IN ALL THE WILD GLEN; RECALLING THE REUNION; 5 VERY LIVE; PATHELIN First: The Collection performs Paul Peditto's comedy about an overweight playwright's journey into the world of liposuction. "One can't help but wonder, watching the last tedious half-hour, why Peditto decided to stretch this flimsy premise into a 50-minute one-act," says Reader critic Jack Helbig. Second: Bailiwick Repertory sponsors the world premiere of Tim Ness's drama about a father and son digging for shared memories in a mental hospital; the production, directed by Mark Enos, "is nothing less than sublime," says Helbig. Third: BDI Theatre stages the world premiere of David VanMatre's satire on television news and sports; the "cast of six sharp comic performers . . . make the obvious seem subtle, and the subtle seem brilliant," says Helbig. Fourth: The Chicago Medieval Players perform this anonymous 15th-century comedy about a shyster lawyer, a crooked merchant, and a sly shepherd; Helbig calls the production "a plodding academic exercise." April 7 and 14, 2 PM.

SAVAGE IN LIMBO; THERE'S A RIGHT AND A WRONG WAY TO LOVE SOMEONE; I, BOBECK; VOLOKOLAMSK HIGHWAY First: Inn Town Players performs John Patrick Shanley's comedy set in a New York singles dive; the production is "undone by a number of slightly off performances," says Reader critic Jack Helbig. Second: Rimini Butler's drama about a teenager and his abusive mother was seen at last year's Chicago Young Playwrights Festival at Pegasus Players; Helbig calls the performances "consistent, well-crafted, if not particularly inspired." Third: Dan Sutherland's comedy about a clown trying to put his sullen teenager through a snobbish private school, a world premiere produced by Prop Theatre, is "an unflinching critique of the American dream . . . more disturbing than funny," says Helbig. Fourth: German playwright Heiner Muller's experimental "proletarian tragedy" for "an age of counterrevolution," subtitled "The Road of the Tanks," is performed by the Chicago Actors Ensemble; Helbig calls this a "dense, brooding production" notable for "the sheer intensity" of some of its dramatic moments. April 7 and 14, 7 PM.

SPRING DANCE; WAITING FOR BUDDHAT; GAS MASK 101; LADIES First: Cactus Theatre remounts its recent production of Horton Foote's study of life in a southwestern mental hospital. Second: Hell is the waiting room of a casting agency in Dan Kobayashi's "lighthearted nightmare" with a supernatural theme, performed by Mina Sama-No (world premiere). Third: Arlene Cook's play, presented by Mary-Arrchie Theatre, is a coming-of-age story about college guys in 1970. Fourth: Different Drummer performs a revue of songs--"some not often performed in polite company"--by Cole Porter. April 1, 6 PM; April, 8 and 15, 1 PM.

OLD WIVES TALES; THE DRUNKARD; WHY THE LORD CAME TO SAND MOUNTAIN; OTTO First: Famous Door Theatre Company's sexual slapstick comedy is directed by fight Michael Sokoloff (world premiere). Second: Musical Repertorie Theatre offers the first act of its current production (see regular theater listings). Third: God--a black female--drops in on an Appalachian family in Romulus Linney's comedy, performed by Zebra Crossing. Fourth: Sean O'Meara and Michael Monaco's comedy about "friendship, disease, landscaping, and cannibalism" is presented by Quando Productions. April 1, 1 PM; April 8 and 15, 6 PM.

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