(The Best of) 50 Plays | Donny's Skybox Studio | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

(The Best of) 50 Plays The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Saturdays. Continues through Sept. 3 2011

(The Best of) 50 Plays showcases four of the ten-minute plays written by Joe Janes from the series performed at the Strawdog Theatre last June; by turns they are silly, bizarre, violent, and provocative. Like last year's 365 Sketches, Janes's achievement here is in the scope of the undertaking. While it's certainly worthy of respect, I can't help but wonder how a "square-freaking" sketch in which three characters wearing giant Walgreens bags over their heads while taking turns speaking in exaggerated English accents about stuff like oolong tea as they trade bags every time a factory buzzer sounds made it into the top four, and what that may say for the other 46 not chosen. And yet, at its best—stories of lonely guys enrolling in "A Love That Lasts Forever" workshop at the Discovery Center and their hilariously "passionate" instructors, and "Burka Betty," in which an Iraqi woman in a wheelchair broadcasts anti-American rhetoric inspired by her direct experience over the airwaves—the pieces showcase Janes's willingness to take risks of all kinds. —Brian Costello

Price: $10-$13

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