Chicago Reader

Best of Chicago Performing Arts
Mark Chrisler

Best Emerging Playwright: Mark Chrisler

Lloyd Degrane

Best Emerging Playwright

The Reader’s Choice: Mark Chrisler

Googling Mark Chrisler is instructive. Once you’ve separated him out from the San Francisco banker and the Berkeley high school tennis coach—who may be the same guy—you find that Mark Chrisler the playwright doesn’t turn up in the orthodox playwright spots. He doesn’t have a listing, for instance, on, giving his oeuvre, play by play. But he’s around, alright, hooked up with Chicago’s longtime, unreconstructed fringe—the companies, like Curious Theatre Branch, that never made the transition from family to institution. I saw Chrisler’s latest last month, at Curious’s 20th Rhino Fest: Histories Minor, a trio of short plays that turn events in the lives of obscure historical figures (physicist David Bohm, journalist Nellie Bly, and pioneering photographer George Barnard) into absurd dreams. The Bohm play was brilliant; the others were more interesting than good. But they were all funny, menacing, subversive, smart, unique, and impossible to imagine anywhere but on a stage. —Tony Adler

Our readers’ choice: James Asmus

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