Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mary-Arrchie Theatre Commemorates Woodstock With Abbie Fest XXI

photo by James Moeller


Mary-Arrchie Theatre, located on Chicago’s north side, will celebrate the anniversary of Woodstock on the weekend of August 14-16 with a virtually non-stop festival of drama and comedy. Over 50 groups are expected to participate. Long known for its in-your-face productions, Mary-Arrchie launched the first Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins Festival back in 1989, and has hosted the freewheeling event every year since. As usual, Mary-Arrchie Artistic Director Rich Cotovsky will channel the spirit of Abbie Hoffman. Decked out in full hippie regalia, he’ll spearhead a rally at Daley Plaza at 2PM Friday, and a march that will proceed north, eventually arriving at the theatre’s location near the intersection of Broadway and Sheridan Road.


Cotovsky/Hoffman will conduct the festival’s opening and closing ceremonies by ranting against the establishment; read selections from the Abbie Hoffman book, Readings From Woodstock Nation; and periodically materialize onstage to introduce acts. It’s believed Cotovsky doesn’t sleep for the entire three days, and he’s claimed in past years that he doesn’t get much rest during the week before the fest due to all the participants involved. Groups scheduled to perform include Famous In The Future, the only act that has been part of every Abbie fest. (Full disclosure: I was part of Famous In The Future for 20 years.) Some of the other groups are Factory Theater, Black Forest, Rare Terra, Democracy Burlesque, and Fury Theater. Mary-Arrchie itself will be performing Gas Mask 101, Wild Dogs, and Bitch with Rich, a late night, counter-culture talk show. Tickets for Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins are $10 for a day pass, $25 for a weekend pass. See www.maryarrchie.com/abbie or call 773-871-0442 for details.

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