The Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company’s annual showcase of emerging talent–running Friday-Sunday, August 15-17–features a slew of local fringe ensembles and solo artists. Founded in 1989 to honor the late anarchist author of Woodstock Nation and to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock music festival, this performance marathon offers a steady flow of entertainment while seeking to foster a communal spirit among performers and audience (which may be enhanced by sleep deprivation). A sliding admission-price scale allows audiences to attend a specific show or to come and go throughout the weekend; there are convenience stores nearby for those in need of a snack, the theater is air-conditioned, and there’s indoor plumbing–so you don’t need to use porta-potties like the folks at Woodstock did.

Participants in this year’s Abbie Fest include the Hypocrites, Famous in the Future, Black Forest, and the Factory Theater as well as Mary-Arrchie, whose entries include festival perennials Gas Mask 101 and Wild Dogs. The schedule below is subject to change; at press time, several slots were assigned to the ever popular “To be announced.” Check with the theater for updated information. Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company, Angel Island, 731 W. Sheridan, 773-871-0442. Tickets: $5 for a single admission (allows you to come in once and stay as long as you can take it–“no leaving for cigarette breaks or beer,” a press release warns); $10 for a one-day pass (allows you to come and go at will on a single day); and $25 for a weekend pass (with in-out privileges) to the full festival.


Gathering of the Tribes

Festival participants and viewers meet at the Richard J. Daley Civic Center, 50 W. Washington, starting at 2 PM; a march north to Mary-Arrchie’s Uptown headquarters begins at 3 PM.

Opening Ceremonies

Actor and festival organizer Richard Cotovsky adopts the persona of Abbie Hoffman to welcome the audience. 7 PM.

The Final Lonely Moments of a Suicide Bomber

Sean Graney puts us inside the head of a terrorist. The Automotive Theatre Group presents Graney’s short play. 7:15 PM.

49 Stories About Brian Mackenzie

Greg Hardigan’s slide presentation concerns “the kid across the street.” 7:25 PM.

To Have and to Hold on a Minute

Four female friends spend the evening before a wedding with “margaritas and gay porn” in the Actor’s Center of Chicago’s production of Elizabeth Ellis’s play. 7:30 PM.


Experimental Theatre Chicago presents Cheryl Slean’s monologue about “the dangerous consequences of blurring the line between fantasy and reality.” 8 PM.


The Live Wire Theater condenses Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy to an hour. 8:10 PM.

Quite Simply a Total Revolution

The Livingroom Project follows Abbie Hoffman from Woodstock to Dick Cavett’s show to Chicago in this play by Sarra Berry Short. 9:10 PM.

The Frank Monologues: #1 Welts

Michael Shannon performs the first of David Hauptschein’s five “Frank” monologues, in which Frank “has an hallucinatory encounter.” 9:37 PM.

Oh Shit

Videographer Willie Laszlo exhibits his work. 9:57 PM.

Gas Mask 101

Arlene Cook’s weirdly wistful portrait of college guys fretting over the draft in 1970–the era of campus protests, guilt-free dope, and sexually segregated dorms–is performed by the Mary-Arrchie Theatre. 10 PM.

The Secretary Pool

Kathleen Jackson’s short play about three deranged office workers is presented by the Actor’s Center of Chicago. 10:50 PM.

Bags of Bones

Two men discuss their skeletons in this play, written by John Weagly and presented by Iguana Productions. 11:10 PM.


The Dream Theatre Company presents three short plays–Archive and The Devil’s Date by Jeremy Meneskeoglu and Mourning Kate by Jon Reents. 11:25 PM.


What (?)

Dance, music, poetry, and visual art are combined in Anthony Wills Jr.’s examination of the question, “What are we here for?” 12:05 AM.

FCW–Factory Championship Wrestling: The Preview

Factory Theater previews its upcoming spring production, FCW–Factory Championship Wrestling: The Pay-Per-View. 12:50 AM.

Jingo the Clown in Nobody Loves Jingo

The title character cries the tears of a clown in this hard-luck tale from Hunger and Dread Theatre. 1:20 AM.

Wild Dogs

Matt Borczon’s play concerns “two males [who] turn their hostility toward women on each other,” said Reader critic Tom Valeo when he reviewed this Mary-Arrchie Theatre production in 1991. 1:35 AM.

My Donkey Lady

The press release calls this one-act from Steep Theatre Company “a Texan cosmic love story.” 2:05 AM.

The Mortal Says Hmmm!

A Main Motha presents a staged reading of this play by Rick Almada. 2:55 AM.

Parker Brothers Ouija

Actors try to contact the dead in this Reality Theatre presentation. 3:40 AM.

Explosion of a Memory

The Disposable Theatre presents Heiner Mueller’s one-man “postmodern exploration of authorship.” 4:10 AM.

What (?)

See listing for 12:05 AM Saturday. 4:40 AM.

To be announced

5:25 AM.

Tai Chi in Italy

Daniel Guidara’s piece will have actors “doing, watching, dreaming about, or waking up to tai chi.” 9 AM.

World His Story 101: A Pornographic Rock Opera

Don Bapst performs an excerpt from his “ritualistic go-go poem” about a world tour of sex clubs. 10 AM.

To be announced

10:15 AM.

The Quarter Past Midnight

A small-time crook decides his fate with a coin toss in this one-act from Fury Productions. 10:40 AM.

I Can’t Imagine Tomorrow

Citizen’s Relief presents Tennessee Williams’s love story. 11 AM.

The Secretary Pool

See listing for 10:50 PM Friday. 11:30 AM.

Staring Contest, or The Enemy in Orange

A man suspects his goldfish of being a terrorist in this one-act from Fury Productions. 11:50 AM.

Supertech vs. the Axis of Evil

Chicago set builders are sent on a secret mission to Iraq in this Illegitimate Theater Company production by Anastasia Platt and Carl Wiesniewski. Noon.

After the Rock Left

Paper and Scissors discuss their existence after Rock abandons them in Fury Productions’ one-act. 1 PM.

To be announced

1:30 PM.

My Dirty Little Secret

First Date Productions presents Marianna Runge’s monologue. “Runge is both the epitome and the antithesis of the Chicago monologuist. Like hordes of her colleagues, she’s decided to turn her life story into a performance piece. But while many of her peers merely demonstrate their eagerness to get really upset in front of strangers, Runge thinks her way through her confusing life and leaves the emotional response to the audience. At times this approach feels a bit stiff and stagy, but her candor and intelligence more than compensate. The premise of this hour-long piece is simple. Runge has hidden two aspects of her life from nearly everyone: her devout Catholicism and her work as a phone sex operator. The phenomenal psychic energy she must expend trying to reconcile these contradictory selves would cripple most of us….Rather than separating [these] two sides into distinct acts, she…lets them bleed into each other, which produces a hallucinogenic effect–as when a phone sex caller interrupts her first confession as a young girl….Best of all, she…uses her experiences to explore the archetypal quests for faith and identity, giving her tiny anecdotes a universal resonance,” said Reader critic Justin Hayford during the show’s run last fall. 2 PM.

Seven Foals

Ronald Jiu of Deaf Bailiwick Artists performs this Chinese folk tale about three brothers and seven horses. 3 PM.

I Can’t Imagine Tomorrow

See listing for 11 AM Saturday. 3:20 PM.

Jingo the Clown in I Need Another Drink Jingo

According to the press release for this Hunger and Dread Theatre production, “Jingo the Clown gets screwed again.” 4 PM.

Staring Contest, or The Enemy in Orange

See listing for 11:50 AM Saturday. 4:15 PM.

Another Korea Revisited

James Moeller’s new drama, presented by Black Forest, examines war and memory. 4:25 PM.

Explosion of a Memory

See listing for 4:10 AM Saturday. 5 PM.

After the Rock Left

See listing for 1 PM Saturday. 5:30 PM.

Here’s to You, Mrs. Wojteczko

Tracy Ellert’s one-woman show is presented by Ballyhoo, Inc. 6 PM.

The Frank Monologues: #3 The Bunkhouse

This monologue by David Hauptschein concerns Frank’s weird tales of coworkers in close quarters. 6:30 PM.

Oh Shit

Videographer Willie Laszlo exhibits his work. 6:50 PM.

Eau de Famous in the Future

The comedy troupe delivers skits and songs. 7 PM.

Clown’s Nite Part I and II

Dreadful Engines Theatre Company performs Fred Husar’s blend of music, mime, and dance. 7:50 PM.

Buffy Live! You Brought Her, You Slayer!

This spoof by David Skvarla and Erin Carlson, produced by Careening Theatre, mixes comedy and violence. 8:15 PM.

Help! Help!

“Dramatic fool” Drew Richardson performs an adult clown show featuring “magic, music, murder, and juggling.” 9 PM.

Othello by William Shakespeare

The Hypocrites’ one-man adaptation surrounds Iago with puppets and “an educational audiotape.” 10 PM.

Patriot Act III: Rise of the Machines

Sansculottes’ one-act illustrates the “wacky hijinks” at the Department of Homeland Security. 10:25 PM.

Supertech vs. the Axis of Evil

See listing for noon Saturday. 11:15 PM.


Numbskull: Human Blockhead

The Defiant Theater presents what’s described as “a modern rendition of a classic carnival act.” 12:15 AM.

No Uncertain Words

A piece of pseudo Mamet is springboard for a discussion of what the overused “fuck” means anymore. Manmadegod performs this play by Bob Wilson. 12:30 AM.

The Final Lonely Moments of a Suicide Bomber

See listing for 7:15 PM Friday. 12:41 AM.

49 Stories About Brian Mackenzie

See listing for 7:25 PM Friday. 12:50 AM.

Coffeehouse Philosophy and the Pain It Causes

Three coffeehouse patrons are threatened by a psychotic in Ron Riekki’s play, which is presented by A Reasonable Facsimile Theatre Company. 12:55 AM.

Low Rent

Blindfaith Theatre performs a series of essays and interviews from the publication The Portable Lower East Side, detailing the lives of that neighborhood’s hustlers. 1:35 AM.

No Uncertain Words

See listing for 12:30 AM Sunday. 2:20 AM.

Bad-Ass & the Devil

Half Cocked Productions offers a revised production of writer-director Arik Martin’s dark comedy about a do-gooder and a hitchhiker who suspect each other of being a serial killer. “[This] thoroughly black script… is about as nihilistic as they come. Bad-Ass & the Devil isn’t just a cheap excuse for a bloodbath, however….What’s chilling here is the cat-and-mouse game that [takes place] as driver and passenger jockey for power,” said Reader critic Nick Green when he reviewed the show’s original run. 2:31 AM.

Date With A Stranger

Cherrie Vogelstein’s play, produced by 3rd Rail Theatre Company, follows a couple from when they meet for the first time through dating and marriage to when they divorce ten minutes later. 3:11 AM.

Bitch With Rich

Mary-Arrchie’s late-night kvetch session is hosted by talk-show terrorist “Skid Mark” (aka Richard Cotovsky); the show features guest artists and video segments, and audience participation is de rigueur. 3:26 AM.

Quite Simply a Total Revolution

See listing for 9:10 PM Friday. 4:30 AM.

Mr. Heyman Goes to the Conservatory

Willie Laszlo screens a video. 4:55 AM.

Astral Talk

A Red Orchid Theatre’s early-morning offering employs a radio talk-show format. 5 AM.

To be announced

6 AM.

Tai Chi in Italy

See listing for 9 AM Saturday. 9 AM.

To be announced

10 AM.

What (?)

See listing for 12:05 AM Saturday. 10:45 AM.

Wild Dogs

See listing for 1:35 AM Saturday. 11:30 AM.

Readings From “Steal This Urine Test”

Mary-Arrchie members just say no to the war on drugs as they perform passages from Abbie Hoffman’s book. Noon.

To be announced

12:30 PM.

Grace and the Bear

Son of Famous in the Future performs Frank Carr’s one-act about a woman who wants to reunite with her high school sweetheart. 1 PM.

The Frank Monologues: #3 The Bunkhouse

See listing for 6:30 PM Saturday. 1:45 PM.

The Millionaire’s Dinner Party

Aardvark presents a staged reading of Vincent Bruckert’s new play about balancing security and freedom since 9/11. 2 PM.

Tollbooth Buddy: Wallace Reese

Pushtop Productions presents a play by Clay Mcleod Chapman. 3 PM.

Dead Monkeys

Chaos ensues when a technician at a research institute disappears. Revolution Theatre Company performs Tony Zelonis’s play. 3:30 PM.

Another Canterbury Tale

Chaucer takes the stage to tell “The Knight’s Tale” properly in this adaptation by Frank Merle. 4:10 PM.

The Woolgatherer

Deaf actors perform William Mastrosimone’s drama about a salesgirl and a truck driver. 4:30 PM.

We Just Peed Our Pants

“Mateo y Jaime” (Matt Diehl and James Kruse) perform a set of improv and sketch comedy. 4:45 PM.


Todd Frugia introduces you to the folks he came to know while working in a Texas refinery. 5:30 PM.


Andy Ross of the Andy Ross Experience pits the god of comedy (Comedeus) against the god of realism (Trutheus) while wearing a bodysuit. 6:15 PM.

World His Story 101: A Pornographic Rock Opera

See listing for 10 AM Saturday. 7 PM.

Name Tag Unknown

In Your Face Productions presents Sarra Berry Short’s performance piece about the victims of hate crimes. 7:15 PM.

The Quarter Past Midnight

See listing for 10:40 AM Saturday. 7:25 PM.

Dr. Roe and the Inner Expansion

A Main Motha presents a staged reading of Rick Almada’s screenplay. 7:45 PM.

Tape Stephan Belber’s one-act, performed by Efficiency Theatre, “examines our responsibility for our past actions.” 8:16 PM.

Uncle Elaine

The five women and two men of this troupe perform long-form improv. 9:16 PM.

Stormy Noodle Soup

“Bizarre characters meet in bizarre scenarios” in this sketch comedy show by Emily Beatty and Safiya Johnson. 9:46 PM.

49 Stories About Brian Mackenzie

See listing for 7:25 PM Friday. 10:16 PM.

Perfect Gentlemen

This two-man sketch show by Dave Taylor and Jeff Madden examines obsessive behavior. 10:20 PM.


Get Back in the Closet Productions’ comedy concerns two south-side drunks and their run-in with a drug dealer. 11:20 PM.

Gas Mask 101

See listing for 10 PM Friday. 11:50 PM.

Closing Ceremonies

Richard Cotovsky returns as Abbie Hoffman to pronounce a farewell benediction. 12:40 AM.