Last fall, in the vein of its long-running, now-retired Sketchbook festival, the social-issues-focused theater group Collaboraction brought together more than 200 artists to share 24 short “prayers for peace” in Chicago as part of a new performance festival, Peacebook. This winter, the company hones in more specifically on racism and racial healing between communities within the city by curating Encounter, a series of full-length solo plays, free staged readings, film, dance pieces, and more presented by a diverse array of local artists—including some familiar names like Sandra Delgado and Sir Taylor and the Example Setters.
“In Encounter,” says artistic director Anthony Moseley, “we are going much deeper into the most critical area of peace and violence, exploring Chicago’s history of systemic racism and cultivating dialogue in order to seek truth and transformation.” And as Peacebook did, Collaboraction will follow its initial presentation (this time in its Wicker Park Flat Iron Arts Building home) with a tour to Englewood, Austin, and Hermosa. “I would say [community] is a core ingredient to the show itself,” Moseley says. It’s “all about cultivating space for the artists to connect with one another, see each other’s shows and talk, and then welcoming the audience to that circle and then amazing things happen.”
Entries—pulled from a submission pool up more than double from Peacebook’s—include Not Quite: Asian American by Law, Asian Woman by Desire, a solo piece by Ada Cheng that expands on her compelling and frank monologue How Long Do I Have to Continue to Prove Myself?, and D on the South Side, a short film directed by Diana Quiñones Rivera.
Encounter: An Mixed Medium Explorative Series on Racism and Racial Healing in Chicago 1/9-1/20: times vary; see website, Collaboraction Studios, 1569 N. Milwaukee, 312-226-9633, collaboraction.org, $10-$25, festival passes