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Critics' theater picks; an Improv Marathon and the CDF closes

Kelly Kleiman

Isn't theater supposed to disappear in August? Fuhgeddaboudit, and dig into the rich vein of shows and related events on offer as the month winds down.

Eclipse Theatre has already opened The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, the first in its season of plays by Naomi Wallace. (Jonathan and I will duel over the show Friday.) But on Saturday the 27th, the company will also present a staged reading of Ms. Wallace's newest play, And I And Silence, following a conversation with the playwright about her entire MacArthur Genius Grant-winning oeuvre. The conversation begins at 12:30 p.m., with play to follow at 2 p.m., both at the Greenhouse on Lincoln Avenue. Tickets are only $10.

Before you head over to the serious business at Eclipse, consider dropping in to the 2nd Annual Playground Improv Marathon, which is just what it sounds like: 30 straight hours of improv by the 8-person K.C. Redheart, with hourly relief from Second City performers and other improv muck-a-mucks. It's a benefit for the Namaste Charter School, but nonetheless quite reasonably priced: $5 for an hour's worth of matinee, $10 for an hour during prime time, and $25 for a pass to the entire Marathon (which may or may not include access to a fainting couch). The insanity begins at 5 p.m. Friday and continues through 11 p.m. Saturday at the Playground, 3209 N. Halsted.

Laura Molzahn

Dance world upstarts—and I mean that in the best possible way—dominate the weekend. Actually, Erica Mott has been around for a while but is still flying under the radar. Friday and Saturday she presents the latest installment of her Victory Project Trilogy, which looks at how the female body has been used in artistic representations of victory in the last four centuries or so. When I saw her perform inPrint in 2007, she’d made herself a gown of scrunched-up newspapers. Looks like The Victory Project: Liberty Leading the People, at Woman Made Gallery, will take a similar tack.

The Leopold Group, headed by Lizzie Leopold, presents an evening of new works at the Fasseas White Box Theater at the Drucker Center, an intimate new-ish venue. Une elephante looks at endurance and duration for audience and dancers alike, while Lips of Their Fingers examines the history of pantomime, especially in ballet. Meanwhile choreographers Enid Smith and Lauren Warnecke head over to Link’s Hall for a shared bill called Iced Coffee.

And if upstarts aren’t your thing, consider the big guns being brought out for the final evening of the Chicago Dancing Festival, Saturday at the Pritzker Pavilion. You can see the Paul Taylor and Martha Graham companies, the Joffrey, Ballet West, artists from New York City Ballet, and River North. For free, no reservations required.

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