Sketchbook
Collaboraction

Highly Recommended - Chicago Sun Times

Highly Recommended - "Collaboraction's annual "Sketchbook" series is a whole lot more fun than your usual run-of-the-mill new plays showcase. To begin with, it has a certain sparkle and zest and daring rooted not only in the choice of material, but in the whole approach to the production


8/10/2006 - 08/27/06

Monday-Sunday evenings


Highly Recommended - "Collaboraction's annual "Sketchbook" series is a whole lot more fun than your usual run-of-the-mill new plays showcase. To begin with, it has a certain sparkle and zest and daring rooted not only in the choice of material, but in the whole approach to the production: 16 short yet tightly self-contained "dramatic sketches" divided among two 90-minute programs. Selected this year from nearly 600 submissions, each show comes with a custom-fitted director, as well as with a collaborating visual artist. The sheer diversity of the material -- from a mini- musical to a riveting piece of political commentary to an impossibly quirky philosophical satire -- is only amplified by the impressive skill and imagination with which it is all realized" - Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times 8/15/06

"Among people who are new to art, a good frame can be as important as a good painting. This psychology has always been key to the curators of Sketchbook, Collaboraction's annual festival of short plays that's produced to resemble a rave. If we can convince them they're at a party and not at the theater, the reasoning goes, they won't mind being here. Unfortunately, with each year the party got more lavish while the scant world-premiere plays (between three and eight minutes long) remained relatively the same. At its most obnoxious, like last year, the event could feel like a self-aware recreation of an Everybody's Famous party at Andy Warhol's Factory. But without the actual famous people. This year, in its sixth permutation, Sketchbook's lifestyle is considerably less like that of a rock star, and it's a good thing. Unified by a simple design scheme of wooden crates and a series of original paintings (one for each play) Sketchbook clearly has somebody with a good eye in charge of the look (Around the Coyote's Allison Stites, who curated the art, along with production designer Sam Poretta and dazzling lighting designer Jeremy Getz can share the credit). Deejays and club lighting still factor in heavily, and speeding up those simple scene changes could reduce a need for them. But overall the effect is leaner and more impressive than it's been in years. Even the play introductions are more sober, both literally and figuratively. Since Sketchbook is always at its best when it's not trying to approximate real life, I'd recommend Program A of the festival's two nights. That's when you can catch Emily Schwartz sweet and trippy Laverne and Gianni Get Married (the first play this year that pokes fun at Italian-American tradition by utilizing imagination rather than stereotypes). Or Greg Hardigan's Below the Moon , which playfully reveals the home life and legitimate pain of animals used in NASA experiments. And John Michael Garces's haunting The Delivery , which uses vibrantly active stage poetry to show a man determined to give birth. There are other highlights and low points that are par for the course in any risk-taking festival. But my question is this: If nearly 600 entries were received, why can't we see more writers that have either never been featured in here before, or aren?t members of Collaboraction's extended family? As this event continues to grow, it would be nice to see risks that are real, not just for show" - Chris Piatt, TimeOut Chicago 8/17/06

The plays: Below the Moon Written by Greg Hardigan, Directed by Chloe Johnston; Burrowing Anxiety Written by Scott Barsotti, Directed by Jeremy Wechsler; Chill is Good Written by Ellen Fairey, Directed by Mikhael Garver; The Delivery Written by Michael John Garces, Directed by Joel Moorman; Fragments Written by Brian Golden, Directed by Amanda Delheimer; Heinrich Heine , 1840, France Written by Brant Russell, Directed by Valerie Johnson; Hey, I didn’t Kill My Girlfriend Written by Doug Wilkinson-Gray, Directed by Ian Forester; How We Get To Where We’re Going Written by Theresa Rebeck, Directed by Bea Bosco; In My Dream You Loved Me Written by Phillip Dawkins, Directed by Amanda Berg Wilson; Interrogation Written by Brett C. Leonard, Directed by Brant Russell; Kegger Written by Aaron Carter, Directed by Lance Baker; Laika’s Coffin: A Suitcase Opera Lyrics by Seth Bockley and Kevin O’Donnell, Directed by Frank Magueri; Laverne and Giani Get Married Written by Emily Schwartz, Directed by Jimmy McDermott; The Octopus Story Written by Brett Neveu, Directed by Alison Daigle; Pool Of Written by Laura Jacqmin, Directed by Alyson Roux; Young Wives Written by Stephen Cone, Directed by Eddie Torres