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Estrogen Fest

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"Estrogen Fest 2005: Changing the Rules!" runs through 6/5 at the Storefront Theater in Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph. Presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs in conjunction with Prop Thtr, this annual showcase of women's performance features artists in the fields of theater, spoken word, poetry, dance, and music. The festival consists of two alternating programs of short works. Tickets are $15 per program and can be purchased by phone at 312-742-8497 or online at www.ticketweb.com; a festival pass for both programs is $25. Dinner packages are available on Saturday for persons attending both programs. More information is available at www.estrogenfest-chicago.com.

FRIDAY 3

Program A: "History, Fantasy, and Myth"

Skadi: Norse Goddess of Skiing, Stephanie Shaw's wry take on the gloriously solitary giantess Skadi, is a highlight of this program of short plays, dance, music, and poetry. Another standout monologue on the joys of solitude is Emily Schwartz's Rapunzel, about a fairy-tale character who's no princess in Lindley Gibbs's funny, feisty portrayal. Other works include Miriam Weisfeld's A Brief Message From Amelia Earhart; War Protest 1914, adapted by Marilyn Campbell from women writers of the era; Passages: Freed From the Soil, a dance trio inspired by the Bronte sisters and choreographed by Margi Cole; Jen Engstrom performing Dorothy Parker's "Sentiment"; Yolanda Androzzo's poetry program, I Ain't Down; and Brett Neveu's new play The Avon Lady, directed by Kimberly Senior. It all comes together fluidly, particularly given the physical comedy of the scene changes, accompanied by quotes from The World Is Your Stage, Eda Edson's 1953 book instructing women on how to be gracious and charming. (JG) Also, vocalist Ami Saraiya is accompanied by percussionist Ben Gray. 7:30 PM.

SATURDAY 4

Program A: "History, Fantasy, and Myth"

See listing for Fri 6/3. 5 PM.

Program B: "We're Still Here"

Many of the works on this program--short plays, dance, and performance pieces--make the personal political. Mother daughter duo Marilyn Campbell and Maria Merrin are honest and engaging as they reveal their family history through anecdotes about hair in Mixin' It Up, and Nana Shineflug in her performance/dance piece Gotcha uses apparently random acts to underline her life philosophy. Sean Graney's new play Fear of Scars, about a woman who refuses a cesarean, is promising but ultimately unaffecting, its impact blunted by this program's staging. But Cat Dean and Jill Heyser's grace and presence are empowering in Tetsuo, a dance on stilts inspired by the music of Geinoh Yamashirogum. Also on the bill: Jesse Weaver's new play 46A, directed by Ann Filmer, and Katrina Kelley performing "I'm Still Here," from Stephen Sondheim's Follies. (JG) This weekend: Martie Sanders performs Hoo-doo-the-Voodoo. Also, vocalist Ami Saraiya is accompanied by percussionist Ben Gray. 7:30 PM.

SUNDAY 5

Program B: "We're Still Here"

See listing for Sat 6/4. 5 PM.

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