Sketchbook Festival Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 10 2009

Sometimes brevity is the soul of witlessness. Of the 14 short offerings--supposedly seven minutes or less--in Collaboraction's ninth annual festival, nearly half go nowhere, and others are clever but flawed (obscure, anticlimactic, too long for the concept). The remaining few--ingenious, brain-teasing works by the Neo-Futurists' Dean Evans, Plasticene's Mark Comiskey, the Hypocrites' Sean Graney, and Strange Tree Group's Emily Schwartz--are buried alive among loud, cliched, pointless pieces and lengthy set changes. The whole fest seems geared to pleasing artists, not audiences. The versatile space has been fitted out with tiered wooden platforms that double as performance areas and (uncomfortable) seats. Viewers are frequently asked to move, which squashes everyone cheek by jowl. The pieces are divided into plays and "devised" works, but I couldn't tell which was which. --Laura Molzahn

Price: $15-$25, $40 festival pass, $30 for the marathon

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