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PAC/edge Performance Festival

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Performing Arts Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago present this self-styled "convergence of Chicago artists," running through April 26. Boasting Chicago first lady Maggie Daley as honorary chair, the avant-garde festival features more than 100 multidisciplinary presentations; participants include Plasticene Physical Theater, Theater Oobleck, the Curious Theatre Branch, Blair Thomas, Lucky Pierre, Free Street, David Kodeski, Sandra Binion, and others. All shows take place at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; the sprawling arts complex is a hive of activity, with simultaneous performances and installations in its four studio theaters as well as lounges, hallways, stairwells, and other spaces. The fest also includes workshops and panels with participating artists at other venues as shown below. Prices for individual events range from $5 to $15, though workshops generally cost more and some events and installations are free; see listings for details. For tickets and more information, and to register for workshops, call Performing Arts Chicago at 773-722-5463. Tickets can also be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 312-902-1500 or logging on to www.ticketmaster.com.

Following is the schedule through April 6; a complete schedule is available on-line at www.chicagoreader.com

FRIDAY, APRIL 4

Bianco Veneziano

Sandra Binion's video installation brings the sights and sounds of Venice to the Athenaeum stairwell. 7-11 PM; free.

StareWell

Free Street's touring youth ensemble MadJoy Theatrics (formerly known as TeenStreet) presents a performance piece in the Athenaeum stairwell. 7 PM; free.

Chumpstrap: A Madras Parable

and Refracting Rainbows

The Curious Theatre Branch presents a pair of world premieres. Jenny Magnus and Beau O'Reilly explore friendship in the "cabaret collaboration" Chumpstrap: A Madras Parable; Marianne Fieber's one-woman show, Refracting Rainbows, is a meditation on grief and recovery. Athenaeum Studio 2. 7:30 PM; $15.

500 Clown Frankenstein

The troupe that skewered Shakespeare in 500 Clown Macbeth takes on Mary Shelley's creation in this world premiere. Athenaeum Studio 1. 7:30 PM; $15.

The Palmer Raids: A Theatrical Construction

Plasticene Physical Theater's historical drama recounts the response to a rash of terrorist bombings in New York and Washington in 1919. "Hacking a decided narrative path through a jungle of historical documents, [Plasticene] came up with the most rigorous, entertaining, and cogent work [they've] yet produced. The ensemble's tightly choreographed physical routines help amplify the political and moral chaos caused by the bombings, while their thoughtful readings of newspaper clippings, court testimony, and personal letters add layers of psychological complexity. The work's current relevance is unmistakable; after Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer was nearly killed by a bomb blast, he sanctioned the incarceration of some 5,000 foreign nationals, declared a war on anarchists, and otherwise attacked civil liberties on a scale that would make John Ashcroft proud," says Reader critic Justin Hayford. Athenaeum Studio 4. 7:30 PM; $15.

Spirits to Enforce

Theater Oobleck presents Mickle Maher's new play about "superheroes, telemarketing, and Shakespeare's The Tempest." Athenaeum Lookingglass Theatre Company space. 8 PM; $15.

How to Manage Fear

See Critic's Choice. Athenaeum Studio 1. 7:30 PM; $15.

Interference

Leslie Buxbaum-Danzig and her theater company DOG based this production on The Birds by Aristophanes. Athenaeum Studio 4. 10 PM; $15.

108 Ways to Nirvana

Blair Thomas and Michael Zerang's three-part piece combines puppetry and music. Buster Keaton and the Buddha is a short puppet play, "The Third Pythia of Flin Flon" is a solo percussion composition, and "The Blackbird" borrows from Wallace Stevens's poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." Athenaeum Studio 3. 10 PM; $15.

Wax and Wayne

Local Infinities uses 200 pounds of candle wax "as the matrix for an intriguing, smart, wholly accessible meditation on creative identity, power, transformation, and sacrifice. . . . I had to admire the stamina of both performers in slathering themselves with hot wax. But what really lifts this piece above the level of a junior high science experiment is the tremendous sympathy between [Meghan] Strell and [Larry] Underwood, whose puppy-dog desire to please, melded with growing impatience at Strell's meddling, owes a debt to Charlie Chaplin. . . . Wax and Wayne is breathtaking in its intertwined intelligence and emotional openness," said Reader critic Kerry Reid when she reviewed this production last summer. Athenaeum Studio 2. 10 PM; $15. Local Infinities member Charlie Levin, billed as "girlCharlie," will be showing her "interactive wax paintings" in the Athenaeum hallway during the course of the festival. Free.

SATURDAY, APRIL 5

Plasticene Physical Theater Workshop

Plasticene Physical Theater presents "a fun introduction to the Plasticene process." Athenaeum Studio 4. 2-5 PM; $25.

Bianco Veneziano

See listing for 7-11 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum stairwell. 7-11 PM; free.

StareWell

See listing for 7 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum stairwell. 7 PM; free.

Chumpstrap: A Madras Parable and Refracting Rainbows

See listing for 7:30 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum Studio 2. 7:30 PM; $15.

How to Manage Fear

See Critic's Choice. Athenaeum Studio 1. 7:30 PM; $15

Interference

See listing for 10 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum Studio 4. 7:30 PM; $15.

A Little Thing

This dance-theater piece, presented by the Albany Park Theatre Project, features a "postmodern Greek chorus and a percussive score performed wth knitting needles." Athenaeum Studio 3. 8 PM; $15.

Spirits to Enforce

See listing for 8 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum Lookingglass Theatre Company space. 8 PM; $15.

500 Clown Frankenstein

See listing for 7:30 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum Studio 1. 9:30 PM; $15.

108 Ways to Nirvana

See listing for 10 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum Studio 3. 10 PM; $15.

The Palmer Raids: A Theatrical Construction

See listing for 7:30 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum Studio 4. 10 PM; $15.

Wax and Wayne

See listing for 10 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum Studio 2. 10 PM; $15.

SUNDAY, APRIL 6

500 Clown: Workshop II--Relationships in Clown Theater

The clown troupe teaches participants how to get along with other clowns. Athenaeum Studio 1. 2-6 PM; $50.

Bianco Veneziano

See listing for 7-11 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum stairwell. 3:30-7 PM; free.

The Palmer Raids: A Theatrical Construction

See listing for 7:30 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum Studio 4. 4 PM; $15.

108 Ways to Nirvana

See listing for 10 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum Studio 3. 4:30 PM; $15.

Skin, Strike, and Coil

Eric Leonardson and Michael Zerang perform a concert of improvised music on invented instruments. Athenaeum green room and bar. 6:30 PM; $5.

Interference

See listing for 10 PM Friday, April 4. Athenaeum Studio 4. 7 PM; $15.

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