Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins XVI | Festival | Chicago Reader

Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins XVI 

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The Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company's annual showcase of emerging talent runs Friday-Sunday, August 20-22, marking the 35th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival and honoring the memory of Abbie Hoffman, anarchist author of Woodstock Nation. This performance marathon offers a steady flow of entertainment by local fringe ensembles and solo artists while seeking to foster a communal spirit among performers and audience (which may be enhanced by sleep deprivation).

This year's Abbie Fest takes place at Strawdog Theatre Company, 3829 N. Broadway (around the corner from Mary-Arrchie's home base), with overlapping shows on Strawdog's main stage and its smaller Hugan Hall. A sliding admission scale allows audiences to attend a specific show or to come and go throughout the weekend; there are convenience stores nearby for those in need of a snack, the theater is air-conditioned, and there's indoor plumbing--so you don't need to use porta-potties like the folks at Woodstock did.

The schedule below is subject to change; for updated information, call 773-871-0442. Tickets: $5 for a single admission (allows you to come in once and stay as long as you can take it; "no leaving for cigarette breaks or beer," a press release warns); $10 for a one-day pass (allows you to come and go at will on a single day); and $25 for a weekend pass (with in-out privileges) to the full festival.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 20

Gathering of the Tribes

Festival participants and viewers meet at the Richard J. Daley Civic Center, 50 W. Washington, starting at 2 PM; a march north to Strawdog Theatre begins at 3 PM.

Opening Ceremonies

Actor and festival organizer Richard Cotovsky adopts the persona of Abbie Hoffman to welcome the audience. Main stage, 7 PM.

What I Meant Was

Craig Lucas's play, presented by LiveWire Theater, explores the subtext of a family's dinner conversation. Main stage, 7:15 PM.

Gator Paws

A 15-year-old boy records a love letter to a girl in Geoff Button's one-man play. Main stage, 7:30 PM.

A Parent Conference

David Alex's short play, performed by LiveWire Theater, dramatizes a parent-teacher conference impaired by a language barrier. Main stage, 7:45 PM.

Sassafrass

The sketch comedy group performs. Main stage, 8 PM.

Acid Test 1966

The Wrecking Crew presents a play with music by Randy Newman and Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh. Set at an LSD party and played out improvisationally for the most part, this evocation of early freakdom traffics in the usual assortment of heads and straights without illuminating them. Still, it's got its charms: it may have nothing to say, but at least it's a sweet nothing. (TA) Hugan Hall, 8 PM.

Black and White

A young sailor on an el platform asks directions from "someone who would seem to be his opposite" in this play by Mark Younger; it's presented by the Chicago Playwrights Collective. Main stage, 8:40 PM.

A Fair Play

The Cubs finally make it to the World Series but the fans miss the game, in this one-act by Kathleen Jackson. Main stage, 8:50 PM.

The Bearer (The New Piece)

In his latest solo piece, Michael Martin recounts his most visceral sexual experiences. Hugan Hall, 9:10 PM.

The Horror

Modern Marquis Productions presents a staged reading of a scene from Don Bapst's "full-length shocker." Main stage, 9:20 PM.

Pretense

Disposable Theatre's performance piece employs bits from Arthur Miller and Abbott and Costello. Main stage, 9:40 PM.

What She Found There

Jo Knost Productions offers this tale of picking up Alice from Wonderland for a one-night stand. Hugan Hall, 9:45 PM.

My Kingdom for a Pizza

Tremont Avenue Productions' kids' show, penned by Roger Marsh, concerns a dieting monarch deprived of junk food. Main stage, 9:50 PM.

What I Learned Over Summer Vacation

Hunger and Dread describes its production as "Lance Eliot Adams performs Butoh." Hugan Hall, 10 PM.

Gas Mask 101

Arlene Cook's weirdly wistful portrait of college guys fretting over the draft in 1970--the era of campus protests, guilt-free dope, and sexually segregated dorms--is performed by the Mary-Arrchie Theatre. (AW) Main stage, 10:50 PM.

Sexy Repellant

Two political opposites experience mutual attraction in Elizabeth Ellis's play, staged by the Actors' Center. Hugan Hall, 11 PM.

To be announced

Hugan Hall, 11:18 PM.

Empty Stumps

Bernie H. Bernstein's one-man comedy depicts a debate for class president at a community college. Main stage, 11:40 PM.

Table

A screening of Willie Laszlo's short comedy film. Main stage, midnight.

To be announced

Hugan Hall, midnight.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 21

The Last of the Dresden Quartet

Theater o' th' Absurd presents J.M. Demetrius's one-act about two vampires--half of a string quartet--recalling lost loves. Main stage, 12:10 AM.

Letters to the President

Michael Garvey reads from the 55 missives he's fired off to Dubya, containing such advice as "relax" and "take more baths." Hugan Hall, 12:30 AM.

Numbskull, the Human Blockhead

Fraser Coffeen performs his one-man freak show, cowritten with Jennifer Huffman. Main stage, 1 AM.

The Bearer (The New Piece)

See listing for 9:10 PM Friday. Hugan Hall, 1 AM.

Monologue Melodies

Frankie Janisch of Frankie J's MethaDome Theater, backed by the MethaDome Ensemble, promises that "political and social issues are forced to the surface like zits on teens" in this program of monologues. Main stage, 1:20 AM.

Wild Dogs

Mary-Arrchie Theatre mounts Matt Borczon's study of two males who turn their hostility toward women on each other. Main stage, 1:43 AM.

To be announced

Hugan Hall, 2 AM-8 PM.

Refrigerate After Opening

Kyle Carroll's one-act about "food in a refrigerator." Main stage, 2:13 AM.

Cinequadrome Revealed

Todd Frugia's play, presented by Rooms Productions, chronicles a journey through "broken memories and nightmares." Main stage, 2:33 AM.

Dock

Willie Laszlo's short movie features local improviser David Pasquesi. Main stage, 3:13 AM.

To be announced

Main stage, 4 AM.

A Red Orchid Theatre

This Old Town-based ensemble presents its version of a talk show. Main stage, 5 AM.

To be announced

Main stage, 6-10 AM.

A Fair Play

See listing for 8:50 PM Friday. Main stage, 11 AM.

To be announced

Main stage, 11:20 AM.

A Greater Gravity

Fury Theatre Company performs Bilal Dardai's comedy about two men "forced to confront the traumas and mistakes of their lives when the body of a skydiver lands near their camp." Main stage, noon.

Black and White

See listing for 8:40 PM Friday. Main stage, 1 PM.

To be announced

Main stage, 1:10-4 PM.

Ernie in the City and How to Fly Planes

The Revolution Theatre Company presents two short plays by Patrick Penta. Main stage, 4 PM.

Pretense

See listing for 9:40 PM Friday. Main stage, 5 PM.

To be announced

Main stage, 5:10 PM.

Everythingman

Sansculottes Theatre Company presents a staged reading of its play about a doleful comic-book writer who assumes the identity of a superhero. Main stage, 5:50 PM.

Shakespeare Summons

The Backstage Theatre Company performs a physical theater piece using "bits of Shakespeare." Main stage, 6:40 PM.

FIF-teen or Ain't You Never Had Dreams, Blue Smock

Famous in the Future performs songs and comedy sketches. Main stage, 7 PM.

Seeing Red

A man wakes up to discover he's being hunted in Gregory Hardigan's short play, presented by the American Myth Theater Company. Main stage, 7:55 PM.

Sexy Repellant

See listing for 11 PM Friday. Hugan Hall, 8 PM.

Wild Dogs

See listing for 1:43 AM Saturday. Main stage, 8:05 PM.

To be announced

Hugan Hall, 8:18 PM.

Free Henry Goodbar, Telepath

Black Forest Theater stages excerpts from James Moeller's new play about "prison dreams, gun dreams, and psychedelic experiences." Main stage, 8:35 PM.

Bring Me the Head of Del Close

Talk-show tribute to the late actor and improv guru Del Close, produced and hosted by Michael Flores. Hugan Hall, 9 PM.

Five More Minutes

Tiffany Carter wrote this one-act drama about "a girl, a guy, and his dead twin brother." Main stage, 9:05 PM.

What I Learned Over Summer Vacation

See listing for 10 PM Friday. Main stage, 9:55 PM.

To be announced

Hugan Hall, 10 PM.

The Art of Security

Misguided Talent does its bit for the homeland in this political satire. Main stage, 10:10 PM.

To be announced

Main stage, 10:50 PM.

Murder . . . by Improv

ChicagoImprovAnarchy's clever, fully improvised murder mystery invites the audience to vote on the victim, who then chooses his/her killer and tells the cast--except for the sleuth--who it is. Whether or not the investigator correctly deduces the identity of the culprit, the intricacies of the hour-long police procedural are sure to delight fans of the genre. (MSB) Main stage, 11 PM.

To be announced

Hugan Hall, 11 PM.

Poppin' and Lockdown 2: Dance the Right Thing and Speed the Play

Factory Theater stages a "short teaser" of Mike Meredith and Kirk Pynchon's follow-up to their 2002 spoof of break-dancing movies. David Ives's Speed the Play spoofs the work of David Mamet. Main stage, midnight.

The Horror

See listing for 9:20 PM Friday. Hugan Hall, midnight.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 22

Table

See listing for midnight Friday. Main stage, 12:20 AM.

Bunny the Undead Expediter--Episode Two: Reality Really, Really Bites

David Skvarla's parody of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is presented by Open Eye Productions and Careening Theater. Main stage, 12:30 AM.

To be announced

Hugan Hall, 1 AM.

Homestead

Two brothers cope with the loneliness of their prairie spread in the Steep Theatre Company's staging of Tony Adams's drama. Main stage, 1:20 AM.

Letters to the President

See listing for 12:30 AM Saturday. Main stage, 1:45 AM.

To be announced

Main stage, 1:55 AM.

Chasing the Radio

This set of monologues by three cops from Police-Teen Link--Live Bait Theater's collaborative project that brings law-enforcement officers and teenagers together--attempts a blend of social experiment and grassroots art making. And at their best, these rough, heart-on-the-sleeve reminiscences represent a kind of humanizing outreach to civilian audiences. But the effort to engender sympathy is compromised by the push to entertain. Though director Richard Cotovsky focuses the officers' storytelling skills, he can't turn them into natural performers, and too often they transform their lives into mini stand-up routines. There's little genuine candor, which means it can be difficult to feel involved despite the stories' drama and pathos. (JHa) Hugan Hall, 2 AM.

Gator Paws

See listing for 7:30 PM Friday. Main stage, 2:15 AM.

Zoo Story

NihilistGELO remounts its staging of Edward Albee's 1958 classic. Main stage, 2:30 AM.

To be announced

Hugan Hall, 2:40 AM-2 PM.

Bitch With Rich

Mary-Arrchie's late-night kvetch session is hosted by talk-show terrorist "Skid Mark" (aka Richard Cotovsky); the show features guest artists and video segments, and audience participation is de rigueur. Main stage, 3:10 AM.

To be announced

Main stage, 4:10-9 AM.

A Red Orchid Theatre

See listing for 5 AM Saturday. Main stage, 9 AM.

Shakespeare Summons

See listing for 6:40 PM Saturday. Main stage, 10 AM.

The Last of the Dresden Quartet

See listing for 12:10 AM Saturday. Main stage, 10:15 AM.

Pretense

See listing for 9:40 PM Friday. Main stage, 11:15 AM.

To be announced

Main stage, 11:25 AM.

Readings From "Steal This Urine Test"

Mary-Arrchie members just say no to the war on drugs as they perform passages from Abbie Hoffman's book. Main stage, noon.

A Greater Gravity

See listing for noon Saturday. Main stage, 1 PM.

Dock

See listing for 3:13 AM Saturday. Main stage, 1:50 PM.

To be announced

Main stage, 2 PM.

Homestead

See listing for 1:20 AM today. Hugan Hall, 2 PM.

Wireless

Strawdog Theatre Company's radio-style variety show features sketch comedy, plays, music, and interactive audience contests. Main stage, 3 PM.

To be announced

Hugan Hall, 3 PM onward.

Letters to the President

See listing for 12:30 AM Saturday. Main stage, 4 PM.

Black and White

See listing for 8:40 PM Friday. Main stage, 5 PM.

Christian Children's Playhouse

Screamin' Cow Productions parodies a kids' TV show. Main stage, 5:17 PM.

Political Masks 2004

AgitPop previews its production of Vincent Bruckert's satire on "local security, . . . patriotism, [and] the challenges of national leadership," which opens next weekend at HotHouse. Main stage, 5:57 PM.

Sexy Repellant

See listing for 11 PM Friday. Main stage, 6:57 PM.

Ernie in the City and How to Fly Planes

See listing for 4 PM Saturday. Main stage, 7:15 PM.

What She Found There

See listing for 9:45 PM Friday. Main stage, 7:45 PM.

Dick O'Day's Big, Lovely Liberry

Lounge lizard extraordinaire Dick O'Day (aka actor and cabaret reporter Richard Knight) hosts Annoyance Productions' "60-minute guided tour between the covers of overwrought celebrity autobiographies, tell-alls, bizarre fiction, wretched poetry," etc. Main stage, 8 PM.

The Beard

Citizens' Relief stages beat poet Michael McClure's 1965 opus. Main stage, 9 PM.

Jerry Rubin: Live and Smoking and Fucking in the Park

The 60s radical is shown "raw and in the flesh" in this one-man show by Wolf. Main stage, 9:50 PM.

Table

See listing for midnight Friday. Main stage, 10:30 PM.

The Art of Security

See listing for 10:10 PM Saturday. Main stage, 10:40 PM.

Gas Mask 101

See listing for 10:50 PM Friday. Main stage, 11:20 PM.

Closing Ceremonies

Richard Cotovsky returns as Abbie Hoffman to pronounce a farewell benediction. Midnight.

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