This multidisciplinary event, presented by Performing Arts Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, runs weekends through 4/10. The avant-garde showcase, now in its third year, features presentations by established and emerging artists (including a number of SAIC students and alumni) working in theater, performance, circus arts, puppetry, storytelling, dance, music, video, and sound and installation art. The shows range from family-oriented to adults-only. Participants include Goat Island, the Curious Theatre Branch, Free Street, Theater Oobleck, the Hypocrites, the Neo-Futurists, Plasticene, Teatro Luna, Mathew Wilson, Mad Shak Dance Company, and many more.

All activities take place at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; the sprawling arts complex hosts often simultaneous performances and installations on its main and studio stages and in offices, lounges, hallways, stairwells, and other spaces–even the alley behind the building. The fest also offers workshops and panels with participating artists as shown below.

Prices for most events range from $5 to $20, though workshops generally cost more and some events and installations are free; see listings for details. For tickets and more information, and to register for workshops, call Performing Arts Chicago at 773-722-5463. Tickets can also be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 312-902-1500 or logging on to Following is the schedule through 3/20; a complete schedule is available online at



Anthony Cobb offers an ambient performance piece that focuses on “walking in an audience member’s shoes.” a 6:30 PM, entrance foyer. Free

Scheduled Activity

Deva Eveland’s performance installation features “a series of social occasions and events attended by the artist only. Viewers may safely watch from the outside,” a press release advises. 6:30- a 10:30 PM, second-floor corridor. Free.

Economies of Touch

Sheelah Murthy “will give bodywork to people connected with the sex industry and ask viewers to meditate on their own complicity in a complex global economy.” 6:30- a 11:30 PM, main stage landing. Free.

Pluto: The Opera

Playwright Idris Goodwin and composer Justin J. Mayer created this music-theater piece about “connections between people and places, love and violence, villains and leaders, and race and gender.” It’s premiered by Free Street and Hermit Arts. a 7 PM, Studio 1. $15.

Performance of Sleep in One Long Act Without Intermission

Live Action Cartoonists’ world premiere is inspired by true stories about sleep and death. This tedious piece about mercy killing and the death penalty is cartoonish for the first hour–when it’s dominated by an annoying kiddie-show format apparently meant to justify the fact we’re being told lots of things we already know–and deadly serious for the last 30 minutes. (LM) Reviewed this week in Section 1. a 7 PM, Studio 2. $15.

CC The Hunchback Variations

7:30 PM, Studio 3. $15.

R Windmilled: Tilting at Don Quixote

The Neo-Futurists’ noble meditation on noble futility–written and performed by Sharon Greene, Shawn Huelle, and Jay Torrence–never quite achieves the associative synergy it seeks. Riffing elliptically off Cervantes’s novel rather than retracing, recasting, or unpacking it, the performers intertwine two main narratives: one revisiting Greene’s tenure with Planned Parenthood, the other recounting Huelle’s drive to the Arctic Ocean with a crazy friend. In this show the Neo-Futurists venture further into kinetic-art territory than usual, with frequently affecting results. (BN) a 9 PM, Studio 2. $15.


Plasticene presents a physical-theater piece about “four people who are thrown off the edges of life and are struggling to find balance as they fall.” a 9:30 PM, Studio 3. $15.

Mountains Clouds Turbulence Coastlines

Wholesale Chicago presents a performance piece by Dolores Wilber with Steven Thompson and Douglas Grew, in which “two sometimes-headless men construct an unusable tent home while they investigate the making of a hand grenade.” a 10 PM, Studio 1. $15.



Mark Baldridge presents an ambient performance piece. a 2 PM, fire escape. Free.

Any Illusion: A Perversion of New England in One Short Act

Seth Bockley’s solo piece, presented by Walkabout Theater, charts “the lonely life of an American Saint through the purgatory of New England.” a 3 PM, Studio 2. $15.

Defining Americanism

Coya Paz of Teatro Luna facilitates this panel on how the term “Americanism” is defined by artists, politicians, activists, and immigrants. a 3 PM, Studio 1. Free.

R Petitmal

Stephen Fiehn and Tyler B. Myers, who perform together as Cupola Bobber, premiered this piece at last year’s PAC/edge Festival, then remounted it in September in a short run at Link’s Hall. Petitmal draws heavily on the sort of endurance art that pioneers like Linda Montano explored; as in one of her early works, Fiehn and Myers spend a chunk of this 80-minute show running on treadmills and delivering texts, in this case from a variety of sources, notably Kevin Bacon’s rhapsodic paean to dance in Footloose. The piece is chockablock with images suggesting both the futility and joy of daily existence. The physical repetitiveness may wear on some viewers, but the performers’ palpable intelligence and understated wit make Petitmal work beautifully much of the time. (KR) a 4:30 PM, Studio 2. $15.

Mountains Clouds Turbulence Coastlines

See listing for Fri 3/18. a 5 PM, Studio 1. $15.

Duet for Hattie

Kym Olsen and Trevor Martin, aka Morganville, offer a new work in progress inspired by Flora Rheta Schreiber’s 1973 classic about multiple personalities, Sybil. a 6 PM, Studio 3. $5.

Scheduled Activity

See listing for Fri 3/18. 6:30- a 10:30 PM, second-floor corridor. Free.

Brianne Waychoff

Waychoff explores the “relationship between hysteria and feminist/female performance art” by tap dancing until she reaches an hysterical state. a 6:30 PM, main lobby. Free.

The Turtle at Play

Beau O’Reilly’s new play, presented by the Curious Theatre Branch, concerns “two disenfranchised young Americans . . . obsessed with studying the habits of a hundred-year-old turtle.” a 7 PM, Studio 1. $15.

La Probadita S-e-x-oh!

Teatro Luna’s world premiere, based on autobiographical writing and interviews, examines virgin/whore stereotypes about Latina sexuality. a 7:30 PM, Studio 2. $15.

Discarded Landscape

Weather Talking’s world premiere, directed by Brian Torrey Scott, is far too long and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I found the wordless opening, in which the three players thrash with obvious angst about the stage, excruciatingly pretentious; when they started talking, the dialogue was obscure and the delivery alternately histrionic and flat. The program lists the characters as a father, son, and daughter while the antics onstage suggest they belong to a highly dysfunctional family. By the end it appears the mother (an offstage narrator played by Scott) has died and none of them is dealing with it very well, which somehow results in incestuous grappling between the father and daughter, then between the daughter and son. Though James Harms is engaging and often funny as the father (and the servant in a brief takeoff on Ibsen), he’s the only good thing about this nerve-jangling piece. (LM) Reviewed this week in Section 1. a 8 PM, Studio 3. $15.

The Girlie-Q Variety Hour

J.T. Newman presents “a neo-burlesque, vaudeville-inspired performance event with a queer edge.” a 9 PM, main stage. $20.

Pluto: The Opera See listing for Fri 3/18. a 10 PM, Studio 1. $15.

Performance of Sleep in One Long Act Without Intermission

See listing for Fri 3/18. a 10 PM, Studio 2. $15.

CC The Hunchback Variations

10:30 PM, Studio 3. $15.


Performing in Community

Teatro Luna presents a workshop about using autobiographical and autoethnographic performance as a strategy for addressing larger social and political issues in ensemble performance. 11 AM-2 PM, Studio 2. $20-$25.

Masterpieces of Modern Music

The SAIC Sinfonietta performs electronic compositions by John Cage, Alvin Lucier, and others. a 2:30 PM, Studio 1, $10.

R Windmilled: Tilting at Don Quixote

See listing for Fri 3/18. a 3 PM, Studio 2. $15.

Discarded Landscape

See listing for Sat 3/19. a 3:30 PM, Studio 3. $15.

R Petitmal

See listing for Sat 3/19. a 5:30 PM, Studio 2. $15.

Action Item: DOG Does Not Perform

In video format, the DOG theater group “offers honest motives, clear dialogue, and compelling reasons for its utter and complete absence onstage.” a 6 PM, Studio 1. $15.


See listing for Fri 3/18. a 6:30 PM, Studio 3. $15.

Cutting Her Off

Clover Morell’s ambient performance involves a saw, a jar of honey, and a copy of Nancy Friday’s My Mother/My Self. a 7 PM, second-floor landing. Free.

La Probadita S-e-x-oh!

See listing for Sat 3/19. a 7:30 PM, Studio 2. $15.

The Turtle at Play

See listing for Sat 3/19. a 8 PM, Studio 1. $15.

Duet for Hattie

See listing for Sat 3/19. a 8:30 PM, Studio 3. $5.


Industry of the Ordinary

Mathew Wilson and Adam Brooks will, over the course of the festival, create works that challenge you to look at the ordinary in a new light. See documentation at Ongoing during festival hours, throughout the Athenaeum. Free.


Art installation by Lori Hall-Araujo, inspired by Plasticene’s production of Refuge (see listing for Fri 3/18), creates “accidental encounters” and “slices of life” throughout the Athenaeum. Free.


Sandra Binion’s recent trip to Cuba inspired her exploration of political and cultural myths surrounding the island nation’s identity as a “forbidden” place. Second-floor foyer. Free.


Ryan Mitchell Flesher’s eight-minute piece depicts a swimmer crossing a void. Projected on front windows of Athenaeum.


Malin Lindelow’s installation seeks to reclaim the ancient tradition of expressing grief. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to add their wails to the soundscape throughout the festival. Sun 5-7 PM.


This installation by Mrs. Rao’s Growl (Sheelah Murthy and Anuj Vaidya) attempts to move into the space of “psychic seepage” through laughter. First-floor corridor. Free.

Intermission Machines: Self-Running Random Shadow Generators

The Rubber Monkey Puppet Company has set up several “intermission machines” throughout the Athenaeum to create shadow puppet collages. Free.

Tell Us a Secret and Mundane Tasks

Anti Gravity Surprise asks viewers to perform “cultural research” in these installations throughout the Athenaeum that explore the concept of work as identity.