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Young Playwrights Festival

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Young Playwrights Festival, Pegasus Players. This show features the winners of Pegasus Players' 17th annual contest for high school students, which involves a yearlong cycle of programs in over 70 Chicago schools challenging students to write original one-acts. Of the more than 600 scripts submitted this year, 4 are now receiving professional productions. The result is an agreeable evening of theater from a youthful perspective.

Natasha Dyer's You Can't Handle the Truth is a comedy set on the front stoops of a neighborhood in transition. Her busybody characters are funny and familiar, and when the police arrive, these earnest "eyewitnesses" end up clouding the picture. Stephen Ptacek's Waves captures the existential paranoia of a man who fights to keep his identity from being defined on a stalker's terms. Lisa Morrow's Insert Title Here presents the fantasies of an introvert who daydreams about being a movie star, a French intellectual, and a gangster's moll. (The play is beautifully directed--choreographed even--by Alex Levy, a former festival winner himself.) And in Triptych Ruth Martin meditates on motherhood from the perspectives of three women: one who fears the responsibility, another who repeats her own mother's obsessive impulses, and a third whose life as a mother is infused with purpose.

Although none is similar to the others in theme or genre, they're evenly matched in entertainment value, with no high school-production aftertaste.

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