Collaboraction Presents 11th Annual Sketchbook Festival, 6/2-25


Collaboraction's widely celebrated SKETCHBOOK FESTIVAL returns for its 11th year to the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., June 2 - 25. One of the most innovative and communal theater, music and video festivals in the country, this year's festival, titled "SKETCHBOOK: Evolution," features nine short plays and seven devised works, all eight minutes or less, inspired by the theme of ‘Evolution.' A different musical guest creates a unique soundscape for each performance, and the lineup of works will vary each night. Full music and play schedule available at

Previews are Thursday, June 2 and Friday, June 3 at 8 p.m. Opening/Press night is Saturday, June 4 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.; the 16 short works will be presented in two separate programs (eight works per program). Tickets are $15-25 and available at or by calling 312.226.9633.

SKETCHBOOK pools together the collective talents of hundreds of multi-disciplinary artists for an electrifying and diverse evening of world premieres, video installations, live music and visual art. The festival has gained widespread recognition as a platform for emerging artists to gain critical exposure as well as an incubator for established artists to take exciting artistic risks.

The Chicago Tribune hails the festival as "stellar;" the Chicago Reader raves, "The atmosphere is all inclusive and embracing in this celebration of creativity, and as a result you're willing to go along for the ride no matter what;" and NewCity proclaims, "One of the city's most intriguing off-Loop companies. Sketchbook...has become a
must-see annual event."

"For the first festival of our second decade, we turn our focus towards evolution, the ongoing force of growth and change that is both invisible and ever-present," said Anthony Moseley, Executive and Artistic Director of Collaboraction.

"We are delighted to present this diverse collection of artists and perspectives that will utilize the medium of theater to explore the theme of evolution and in doing so, raise questions about the trajectory of our civilization and the art form itself."

New this year, Collaboraction joins forces with video and installation artist Gordon Kummel, who will use a Microsoft Kinect 3D camera to create stunning video riffs on the theme of evolution to be incorporated throughout the evening. A self-taught software developer, Kummel uses a hacked Kinect camera, normally used for Xbox games, to create 3D-like images that particularly highlight structure and shape, providing unique perspectives of everyday forms including our own self images.

Kummel is most known for his large scale production "Mindfield Experiment 1" in 2001. This event took place in 7,000 sq. ft industrial loft and brought together an international team of artists to build a dance floor capable of reading movement through hundreds of embedded pressure sensors. KumMel Built the software to translate this data into customized visuals and audio that reacted to the participants as they danced inside an immersive multimedia environment. "Mindfield Experiment 1" ran as an art installation during the day and as a dance club environment at night.



Written by Kristoffer Diaz, Directed by Eddie Torres
Pulitzer Prize finalist and playwright of smash hit "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity," Kristoffer Diaz throws down with Charles Isherwood, theatre critic at the New York Times about the evolution of theatre itself in this provocative new piece written for SKETCHBOOK. The play is directed by Eddie Torres, artistic director of Teatro Vista and director of "Chad Deity."

"I and My iPhone"
Written by Mat Smart, Directed by StEve Wilson
A group of teenagers stage an intervention for their friend who is absolutely her iPhone. A sweet parable about how we connect, based on Herman Melville's "I and my Chimney" and written for the Red Orchid Youth Ensemble by the playwright of "Samuel J and K" and "The 13th of Paris."

"Only Paradise"
Written by Kristin Idaszak, Directed by Bea Bosco
During a layover at O'Hare, a young man encounters a saxophone-touting stranger who reminds him that the only paradise is a paradise lost, making him wonder if he really knows where he's going after all. Written by Collaboraction's Associate Artistic Director Idaszak.

"Dead Letters"
Written by Danielle Littman, Directed by Nathan Green
A mailman delivers a eulogy for letters as he delivers the last one ever written in this reverie about paper, love and permanence.

"The Franchise"
Written by Andy Grigg, Directed by John Wilson
The feature film "Blazing Heart" garnered success and stardom for its two leads. So they made a sequel, and a third, and an the author of "The Untimely Death of Adolph Hitler" directed by Collaboraction Company member John Wilson.

Written by Chelsea Marcantel, Directed by Sarah Moeller
The writer of SKETCHBOOK 9's "Beatrice and Beau" returns with a darkly enticing tale about an innocent little girl with a very evil doppleganger. What recourse does she have against this person making mischief--and eventually mass chaos--in her name? Directed by Collaboraction Producing Director Sarah Moeller.

"The Parasite"
Written by Lauren Yee, Directed by Sandra Marquez
Directed by Chicago favorite Sandra Marquez, from the playwright behind Ching Chong Chinaman comes this bittersweet romance about Trudy and--a botfly, who teaches her that love hurts, and that sometimes lovers take more than they give.

"Termination of Species"
Written by Ken Urban, Directed by Scott Illingworth
When Henry finds an old VHS in his basement, little does he suspect that it contains a message from Steve, an extraterrestrial who's very sorry, but he has to end the world tonight.

Written by Jack Miggins, Directed by Keira Fromm
A man born with a very peculiar birth defect on his thigh spends his life avoiding human contact in case it kills him, until he meets Joy. "Confluence" explores the pain and rewards we open ourselves up to when we let someone else touch us.

Roelle Schmidt of Links Hall served as the Guest Co-Curator of the Devised pieces, which are based on a comprehensive concept and developed through a collaborative artistic effort during the rehearsal process, resulting in a fully realized production.

"Manual Cinema"
Devised by Drew Dir, Julia Miller and Sarah Fornace
Collaborating with the band Oh+Ah, "Manual Cinema" is creating a shadow puppet show about death and regeneration using their signature paper cut-outs for a simple but breathtaking effect co-devised by Sketchbook veteran playwright Drew Dir.

Devised by Marc Frost
Two physical theatre performers capture the history of the evolution of the spine in seven minutes, from the ocean to the office.

"Suspect Politic"
Devised by Meida McNeal
The Ladies Ring Shout uses spoken word, movement and music in this piece that questions both the external and self-created myths, roadblocks and pressures that women of color experience.

"I Wish You Love"
Devised by MerEdith Miller
Drawing on the highly stylized and gendered imagery of the 1920s and 1930s, MerEdith Miller dissects popular jazz standards to create intimate, atmospheric vignettes in this intersection of cabaret and puppetry.

Devised by Joseph Ravens
Ravens explores the parts of ourselves that have de-evolved in a visually lush movement piece informed by the grotesque and beautiful imagery of Japanese Butoh.

"It Came from the Third Dimension"
Devised by Zoe Schwartz and Dav Yendler
A group of scientists receive a package from the future containing...3D video. This satirical 1950s commercial takes audience members on a tour of a world so real they'll wonder if they've been living in the second dimension this whole time.

"The Ritual of the Final Exit as presented by the Tribes of the 13 Colonies"
Devised by Rinska Prestinary and Joe Janes
Collaboraction company member Rinska Prestinary creates a brand new funeral ritual to celebrate, mourn and experience death, as well as its counterpart: life.

Julia Miller is the Curator of the musical line-up for "SKETCHBOOK: Evolution." Visit for full line-up and updates.

Collaboraction's 11th annual "SKETCHBOOK: Evolution," runs June 2 - 25 at the Chopin Theatre. Previews are Thursday, June 2 and Friday, June 3 at 8 p.m. Opening/Press night is Saturday, June 4 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. All 16 short plays will be presented in two separate programs every Saturday (eight works per program).

The performance schedule is as follows: Thursdays at 8 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at
7 and 9 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. Additional Monday night shows will take place June 6 and June 20 at 8 p.m. There will be no performance Sunday, June 5.

The Closing Night Finale, June 25, will feature two programs at 7 and 9 p.m., followed by an awards ceremony with guest judges and festivities.

General admission is $25. Student/industry tickets are $15 with a valid student ID or headshot/resume. Preview tickets are $15.

A Festival Pass is available for $40 and offers unlimited festival admission (seats must be reserved in advance; subject to availability). Group discount tickets available; please call 312.226.933. To purchase tickets, visit or call 312.226.9633.

SKETCHBOOK is Collaboraction at its best: breaking down the walls that divide theater, music, visual art, video, and the internet. Selected from hundreds of submissions, SKETCHBOOK once again brings together the collective talents of more than two hundred pioneering directors, designers, actors, musicians and artists from Chicago and around the country for a jaw-dropping
evening of creativity, experimentation, and celebration. Over its 10-year history, SKETCHBOOK has featured works by such prominent artists as Brett C. Leonard David Mamet, ReGina Taylor, Michael John Garces, Ellen Fairey, Wendy MacLeod, Quiara AlegrÌa Hudes, Frank Maugeri, Sean Graney, Itamar Moses, Beth Henley and hundreds of additional established and emerging theater artists.

Collaboraction celebrates its 15th year as a Chicago-based arts organization and remains focused on becoming a national leader of contemporary theater. By incorporating innovative artists and interdisciplinary collaboration, Collaboraction creates groundbreaking theatrical and art-based experiences. Presenting such smash hits as 2010's Chicago premiere of "1001" by Jason Grote, 2008's world premiere of "Jon" by George Saunders and directed by Seth Bockley, and 2007's critically acclaimed production of "The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow: an instant message with excitable music" by Rolin Jones, as well as the annual SKETCHBOOK Festival, Collaboraction has worked with more than 2,500 artists to bring more than 60 productions and events to more than 50,000 audience members. For more information, visit


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