You Be the Judge | The Reader's Guide Feature | Chicago Reader
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About a year ago, Stage Two Theatre Company cast a wide net for new one-acts. The company planned to make preliminary evaluations of the plays, then invite its audience to vote, along the lines of a poetry slam, for the best in a festival of the half dozen that would get staged readings. The response nearly swamped the small company: "We got 300 submissions from all over the world," says producer Tom Samorian. Each play was read by one of a panel of six judges that included Samorian and Stage Two's artistic director, Steve Genovese. Then the panel exchanged their favorites and started over. Samorian says they wound up with a list of ten, which was eventually whittled to the six that would best lend themselves to a less-than-full production. PlaySLAM!: The Stage Two Theatre Company's New Works Festival opens this week and continues on Wednesdays through May 21. Three plays will be presented each night, with audiences using a form similar to the one employed by the panel to evaluate plot, characters, setting, theme, and structure. The winning play will receive a full production by Stage Two next season and earn its author a $500 cash prize. The contenders are Sexual Side Effects by David Mills-Low; Sestina by Elizabeth Catalano; Falling in Love Again by J. Boyer; The Thought Trilogy by Ryan K. Vemmer; Unspoken Arrangements by Patrick Cleary; and Koran Kaballah Kebab by Allan Appel. A single $16 ticket ($12 for students, seniors, and groups) gets you into all the plays; anyone who sees all six is invited to participate in a discussion to be held after the final show. PlaySLAM! starts at 8 on April 30, May 7, May 14, and May 21 at Estonian House, on Estonian Lane off Milwaukee Avenue, a quarter mile north of Deerfield Road in Lincolnshire. Call 847-432-7469 for more information.

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