At DrekFest, the worst is yet to come | Performing Arts Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Sidebar

At DrekFest, the worst is yet to come

Stage Left's annual contest for terrible ten-minute plays returns.


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Described as being on a mission "to expose bad writing for what it really is: damn funny," DrekFest, Stage Left's annual contest of truly terrible ten-minute plays, comes to ComedySportz Theatre next week for one night only. This year's fest, the eighth, features four works by local playwrights vying for the title of worst of the worst. Can they possibly top past "grand losers" such as Abortion Carnival of the Juggalos and F*** You Janine: A Play Ruined by My Ex, Like Everything Else in My Life?

Jonathan Baude's Dragons in America: A Fantasia on the Theme of How F**kin' Awesome Dragons Are is written in the style of a precocious teenage boy. Anderson Lawfer and Michael Dailey, both of Strawdog Theatre Company, offer Troubling Innocence, a musical that deals with race relations. Rory Leahy's Grape Jelly: A Play About a Prostitute focuses not on a working girl but on a writer, lampooning cringe-worthy dramatic devices like finding redemption through a whore with a heart of gold. And Behind the Wax Myrtle Shrub, by Cynthia Shur Petts, is "an incredibly pretentious southern gothic," says Stage Left artistic director Vance Smith.

The plays are given staged readings judged—which is to say, bashed—by theater critics Chris Jones and Kerry Reid (Chicago Tribune) and Kris Vire (Time Out Chicago). Audience members cast votes for the grand loser, which will receive a cash prize, but all works are eligible for "coveted honors" such as worst opening line, worst stage directions, and worst title.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment