Sketchbook 5 | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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On any given night you'll see a different sampling of the 18 new plays, none longer than seven minutes, in Collaboraction's annual multidisciplinary festival, which also includes visual art, music, and film. But the opening lineup demonstrated the variety of effects created by very brief works--sometimes they felt just right and sometimes too short or too long. The atmosphere is all-inclusive and embracing in this celebration of creativity, however, and as a result you're willing to go along for the ride no matter what. Moreover each work is different, and there are so many of them that no matter what your taste you'll find favorites--audience members are even invited to vote on the best play by sending an e-mail to For me the highlights were Wendy MacLeod's funny Photo Opportunity, in which a television star rejects a fan's odd request; David Greig's Magpie and the Cat, a moody, unusual take on modern-day dating disappointments; and Seth Bockley's imaginative pop-up storybook of a play, The End of Time, comically narrated by Laura Grey. See listing or visit for scheduling details. Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 312-226-9633. $18-$25 per show except for the 6/26 closing performance, which is $35.

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