The CollaborAction Theatre Company’s second annual festival of short plays features 16 world premieres, including sketches by David Mamet, Eric Bogosian, Brett Neveu, Regina Taylor, Beth Henley, and Wendy MacLeod. This “progressive mixed-media festival” also features visual art (environmental design by Wesley Kimler as well as a display of drawings by local artists, including Ed Paschke and Tony Fitzpatrick, which will be silently auctioned throughout the festival); DJs creating soundscapes 45 minutes before each performance; and a live video Web broadcast on closing night.

Sketchbook ‘One takes place at the Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, with shows nightly at 8 PM from February 21 through March 3; each night features a different program of nine sketches. A closing-night marathon performance of all 16 entries will begin at 6 PM on Sunday, March 4; at this show, the sketches will be judged by a panel of dramaturgs, agents, casting directors, and other industry professionals as well as artists in various media. Tickets for the shows February 21 through March 3 are $15 per night; admission on March 4 is $25, which includes a closing-night party. Festival passes, which cost $25, offer admission to all shows except the closing night. For more information, call 312-409-2741 or visit the festival Web site at

Following is the schedule for February 21 and 22; the running order of each program is subject to change.


Scenes From the New World

This excerpt from Eric Bogosian’s new collection of character sketches finds a narrator welcoming viewers to a contemporary, voyeuristic world. It’s directed by festival director John Cabrera.


Eric Ziegenhagen directs Wendy MacLeod’s study of a female science professor trying to seduce a chemist who looks like a praying mantis.

The Vestibule

Joe Brady’s portrait of a couple trapped in a vestibule is directed by John Gawlik.


Beth Henley’s playlet about a woman rummaging through her grandmother’s memories is staged by Jennifer Shook.


Jonathan Jacobs’s farce concerns a man credited with inventing “the American art of paper frogs.” Adam Belcuore directs.

Goodbye Pablo, Goodbye George

Ellen Fairey wrote this memory piece about a 12-year-old girl recalling her parents’ relationship. It’s directed by Jessica Thebus.

Jazz Genius: A Symposium

Speakers offer competitive anecdotes about the outlandish accomplishments of great jazz musicians in this comic piece by Steve Amick. Matt Miller directs.

Differences in Jealousy

Samien Schoen’s play concerns a conflict between two men; it’s directed by Barry Brunetti.


Jonathan Mastro’s vignette examines the work and family life of a janitor; Jeremy Cohen directs.


Scenes From the New World

See listing for Wednesday.

Hola, Amigo

Brett Neveu’s piece examines the relationship between two coworkers hoisting margaritas in a bar. Greg Westler directs.

Paper Thin

Lindsay Price’s piece about “the effects of thin dry wall on contemporary society” is directed by Eric Graves.

Room 21

Mandy Ratliff’s playlet is an enigmatic portrait of a woman who checks into a motel room that comes complete with a shotgun under the bed. It’s directed by Joanie Schultz.

Film Crew

Two male movie grips, one older and one younger, engage in a bull session. Sounds like David Mamet? That’s because he wrote it. Jim Dennen directs.

The Veranda

Doug Bedwell’s play depicts “another night of whiskey sours and Russian roulette on the veranda.” It’s staged by Lila M. Strommer.

Love Poem #98

Regina Taylor’s portrait of an urban relationship is directed by Kimberly Senior.

Laugh and the World Might Not

Life in a family of clowns is the subject of Zac Richardson’s play; it’s directed by Sean Graney.

The Neighbor

Evan Cater’s study of suburban paranoia is directed by Saket Soni.