Last year, with the Chicago International Theatre Festival running at about the same time, there was an aura of the underdog to this event. This year, they've got a nice logo and the field more or less to themselves. Still, the specifics are the same: ten plucky non-Equity companies displaying their wares in a series of double bills, culminating with a Sunday Marathon (see below). All shows at the Theatre Building, through April 12 (1225 W. Belmont, 327-5252). Tuesday-Saturday, 8 PM. Sunday Marathon, noon-midnight $10 per show; $25 for the marathon. The schedule for this, the festival's final weekend:
THE LONG CHRISTMAS DINNER and MYSTERIES OF THE BRIDAL NIGHT First: Thorton Wilder's "quintessential American family story" as performed by the Gallery Theatre Company. Second: The Blind Parrot Productions production of Martin Epstein's comedy about two newlyweds and a coffin. Friday.
MEDLEY and THE CENCI First: Toni Cade Bambara's "portrait of a woman redefining her relationship to the men in her life," as adapted and performed by the City Lit Theater Company. Second: "Purest Evil vs. Purest Good: which will prevail?" Megan Peterson's adaptation of the poetic allegory, performed by the Cherry St. Theatre Company. Saturday.
MARATHON Everybody, one after the other, in the following order. Weights, by the Huron Theatre Ensemble; Acts of Kindness, by the Seahorse Theatre Project; The Long Christmas Dinner; Mysteries of the Bridal Night; Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music, by Touchstone Theatre; Hamletmachine, by the Chicago Actors Ensemble; Edgewise, by the On the Edge Theatre Company; Dreamscape of the Falcon, by Igloo, the Theatrical Group; Medley, and The Cenci. Sunday.