LiveWire Chicago Theatre Presents VisionFest 5: Johnny 5 Is Alive July 17 – August 2, 2013

90793A08-755D-44F5-BA8E-B17C3D02EFD0LiveWire Chicago Theatre “gets technical” at VisionFest 5: Johnny 5 Is Alive, ten short plays inspired by technology’s influence on society (or what happens when things short circuit). The fifth annual festival will be presented July 17 – August 2, 2013 at INTUIT – The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, 756 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago.  Each play will be staged in a different area of the multi-room gallery, with drinking and mingling encouraged as audiences move from play to play. 

Curated by LiveWire Associate Artistic Director Chris Zdenek, VisionFest 5 will feature ten new works by widely celebrated playwrights including:  Bekah Brunstetter (Oohrah!Philip Dawkins (The Homosexuals), John Greiner-Ferris, Ike Holter (Hit the Wall), Daniel Kozuh, Amanda Petefish-SchragJohn Taflan*, Hilary Williams*, Conor Woods (So Long) and Joe Zarrow (The Pigeons). *LiveWire Collective members.
VisionFest 5 will run in two alternating programs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm (five plays each) with a marathon of both programs (all ten plays) on Fridays at 7:30 pm and 9 pm.  Tickets costs $15 (single programs) or $20 (Friday marathons) and are available at  For additional information, visit

VisionFest Selection Process

A community-driven festival, VisionFest features new, unique guidelines each year chosen by a public vote.  For the fifth annual festival, LiveWire asked the community, what “Play on 5” should VisionFest submissions be guided by?  The winner of the online vote: “Johnny 5 is Alive” (the name inspired by the robot in the popular ‘80s film Short Circuit). The unique guideline writers followed for this year’s submissions was “technology’s influence on society (or what happens when things short circuit).”

“VisionFest exists to showcase current playwright’s at their best, at their most pure and concise,” comments VF5 curator and LiveWire Associate Artistic Director Chris Zdenek. “To champion the stories that only take ten minutes to tell, but remain with you forever – VisionFest will stand as a beacon to shine on the elegance of the short play format,” adds Zdenek.



Dispatches from the Uncanny Valley

Written by John Taflan (Chicago, IL), Directed by Josh Sobel

Wouldn’t it be great to have a robot? To cook for you, clean, make phone calls; to do everything tedious, like falling in love.


Written by Hilary Williams (Chicago, IL), Directed by Joel Reitsma

The greatest treasures in life can be as simple as your sister’s voice. Even if you are deaf.

The Appointment

Written and directed by Conor Woods (Chicago, IL)

In the near future, science can guarantee our babies be healthy and happy.  But how much is too much? How do we stop ourselves from playing God?

Written by Amanda Petefish-Schrag (Maryville, MO), Directed by Chris Zdenek

Eureka! Will Isaac’s new scientific breakthrough be a boon or burden on his relationship?


Written by Bekah Brunstetter (Los Angeles, CA), Directed by Julie Ritchey

Blind date at a bar. Antiquated in an age where we can find out everything about someone without even meeting them, but how much information do we need to fall in love?


Ex Libris

Written by Philip Dawkins (Chicago, IL), Directed by Krista D’Agostino

Beck likes books. Is that a crime? Why should she turn a blind eye to the abandonment of thousand of Library books when she has plenty of space in her dorm room to keep them. No one asked her if she thought e-books are “progress,” no one asked her if her life could change.


Written by Daniel Kozuh (Atlanta, GA), Directed by Stephen Ptacek

The loss of a loved one robs us of so much. If you could get just little of that person back, wouldn’t that be worth anything?


Written by Joe Zarrow (Chicago, IL), Directed by Elly Green

If you add Everything to Karaoke, you get Everythingaoke! A great way to hang out with your friends. Just remember to watch what you say and stay PC in front of the robot.


Written by John Greiner-Ferris (Qunicy, MA), Directed by Chris Zdenek

Potpee is finally alone! Only problem is that she’s stranded in the middle of the ocean. Who needs people when you have a piece of dead tree to float on!


Written by Ike Holter (Chicago, IL), Directed by Gus Menary

Mistakes made in real life can be forgotten and exist in a finite time. Mistakes made online will be there forever. Hirsch has found this out the hard way; will it now ruin his relationship with Max as well?


Wednesday, July 17 – Program 1 at 7:30 pm

Thursday, July 18 – Program 2 at 7:30 pm

Friday, July 19 – MARATHON (Program 1 at 7:30 pm & Program 2 at 9 pm)

Wednesday, July 24 – Program 2 at 7:30 pm

Thursday, July 25 – Program 1 at 7:30 pm

Friday, July 26 – MARATHON (Program 2 at 7:30 pm & Program 1 at 9 pm)

Wednesday, July 31 – Program 1 at 7:30 pm

Thursday, August 1 – Program 2 at 7:30 pm

Friday, August 2 – MARATHON (Program 1 at 7:30 pm & Program 2 at 9 pm)

VisionFest History

LiveWire established VisionFest to expose new works to the community and get the community involved in new works.  Last year, VisionFest 4 featured ten plays and a devised piece inspired by two original artworks: Breanne Duffy’s “Rockets” and Josephine Ferorelli’s “Untitled.”  The works were staged throughout a multi-level art gallery. In 2010, LiveWire chose the theme of “Feast” for VisionFest 3 and asked the community for suggestions of a line or phrase that all playwrights would have to incorporate into their play and “I can’t remember the last time we were all together” won the vote. In 2009, the focus of VisionFest was “Environment” and the public voted for a “Street Corner” as their preferred environment. For the inaugural festival in 2008, an overarching theme of “Control” won the majority vote.  At the festival, programs are provided with ample space for attendees to offer constructive feedback to the playwrights.

About LiveWire Chicago Theatre:

LiveWire Chicago is a collective of artists who create theatre that reflects the current cultural landscape of our community through productions of original and contemporary works.  Previous productions include the Chicago premiere of Oohrah! by Bekah Brunstetter presented as part of Garage Rep 2012 at Steppenwolf Theatre; the Chicago premieres of A Bright New Boise and A Permanent Image by 2011 Obie Award-winning playwright Samuel D. Hunter; the Chicago premiere of The 13th of Paris by Mat Smart, the world premiere of Emily Dendinger’s Hideous Progeny, presented at the Chicago DCA Storefront Theater and the Chicago premiere of Red Angel by Eric Bogosian, among others. LiveWire presents an annual short play festival, VisionFest, which invites the community to be involved in the presentation of new works. For more information, visit, and


Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art promotes public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of intuitive and outsider art through education, exhibition, collecting and publishing Intuit believes the instinct to create is universal and the arts must embrace, celebrate and be accessible to everyone, regardless of education or socio-economic status. Through a series of exhibitions, publications, events and educational outreach, Intuit explores and advocates for the art of the untrained—visionaries, non-traditional folk art creators, spiritualists, isolates, the mentally ill and the socially marginalized. Our exhibitions and educational programming strive to be a platform for personal inspiration and community development.