Above: 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche Devised by The New Colony; below: Spider in the Attic Devised by Jessica Hudson (Photos: Saverio Truglia)
Sarah Terez Rosenblum (@SarahTerez) is an MFA-holding writer, teacher and Spinning instructor. She's also the Theater Listings Editor for Centerstage Chicago. Look for her posts twice a week.
For me, a big night equals crunchy peanut butter, threadbare leggings and season two of Lost, which I’m watching for the first time. (With the exception of that hurricane over in New Orleans, the view from 2005 is lovely, thanks for asking, and I’m sure Brad and Jen will be back together in no time.) I’m not lazy or anti-social (yes I am), but leaving the house requires shoes, the most perplexing aspect of any outfit. Flats, heels, boots dear God, my head aches, someone hand me the peanut butter.
Still, duty calls, so on Saturday, after trying on approximately 27 different pairs, I bussed to Wicker Park to check out Sketchbook X, Collabaraction’s 10th annual mixed media festival. As unenthusiastic as I am about leaving the house, I’m even less thrilled to leave my neighborhood, but Wicker Park’s Saturday night vibe seemed an extension of Sketchbook’s energetic atmosphere; impossible to imagine the event in any other setting.
Inside, an infectious sense of the possible kept my spirits afloat even after Collaboraction artistic director Anthony Moseley announced the show’s predicted four-hour running time. Through June 27, the festival’s pieces will play in repertory; however, opening night featured all 19. While potentially overwhelming, Moseley defends the “epic meal of short plays,” noting “too often, there is a lack of energy in the theater. (Presenting the pieces en mass) turns it into an event, and I think people get excited about that.”
Moseley himself is particularly excited about Sacre Bleu, “a delicious piece of physical theatre by Dean Evans.” In addition to selecting plays and overseeing the festival, Moseley acts in Andy Grigg’s The Untimely Death of Adolph Hitler (Moseley: “I like killing Hitler. Very satisfying.”) and directs What I'm Looking For by Brett C. Leonard, “in which an ensemble of 26 murders and their victims sing a Rufus Wainwright song while waltzing.”
Call me suggestible (no, really, it turns me on), but even as the four-hour mark loomed, I found myself aberrantly uncritical, taken momentarily with nearly every play. In particular, Jessica Hudson’s “Spider in the Attic” left me literally breathless, dazed by the piece’s union of text, photos and movement. I was also excited to see Magilicutty's, a short by my fellow SAIC alum Ira Murfin.
Unfortunately, the Damen bus becomes a pumpkin at eleven o’clock, so although leaving early incited that day after Christmas letdown, I had no choice but to head home.
Since then, my crunchy peanut butter seems inexplicably creamy and my decrepit leggings have lost some allure. Sayid’s still my boyfriend, but let’s be real: Black smoke monsters have nothing on nightly live music, jumbo video screens and lesbians eating quiche.