Chicago Theatre Review

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Have you written the worst ten minute play? Read on.

April 29, 2012 News Comments Off on Have you written the worst ten minute play? Read on.


DrekFest 2012 is Stage Left’s annual, national search for America’s worst ten-minute play. Now in its sixth year, DrekFest is on a mission to expose bad writing for what it really is: damn funny.  To be clear, we are not out to make fun of writers or those who love them. We are asking good writers to intentionally write awful plays that make us laugh.

We are now accepting submissions for bad, bad ten-minute plays. Of these, four terrible finalists will be selected to be performed on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at The ComedySportz Theatre, 929 W. Belmont.  The audience in attendance will vote on the Grand Prize-winning Worst Play.

Cash prizes will be given to all four finalists, as well as other highly coveted honors for the truly terrible. In addition to Worst Play, prizes that may be awarded by our panel of adjudicators include those for Worst TitleWorst Opening LineWorst Stage Directionand Worst Character Name, among others.

All plays will be performed as staged readings with minimal or no tech, and all stage directions will be read aloud. After all four plays have been read, the writers will join the panelists onstage for a mock critique (safe, and all in good fun), during which the awards will be given. Previous panels have included theater critic and professor, Jonathan Abarbanel, Steppenwolf Managing Director David Schmitz, ComedySportz President and CEO Matt Elwell, Chicago Dramatists Managing Director Brian Loevner and nationally known playwright Mia McCullough.

Past DrekFest Grand Losers are Jamie Campbell in 2011 for A Fist Before DyingJake Lindquist in 2010 for Man Vs. Carp: An Environmental Tale Exploring Mostly, but not Exclusively, the Themes of Tolerance, Immigration, Conservation, and a General Understanding of the Problems Going on in the World TodayRandall Colburn in 2009 for SCARECROW’ OR SOME SHIT, CALL IT WHATEVER YOU F***ING WANT, I DON’T CARE. A F***ing Harsh Play About Scarecrows and Killing Bitches, and Rob Kozlowski in both 2008 and 2007 for The Frenzied Beating of the Jungle Tom-Toms Once More, Once More and  Wilhelm Ferguson, Nationally Renowned Playwright, in the Midst of the Production of his Holocaust Play The Holocaust, Falls in Love with a Wheelchair-Bound Vietnam Veteran with AIDS, Whose Name Remains Unknown, Like So Many Others Like Him” respectively.

Stage Left is proud to again partner with The ComedySportz Theatre for DrekFest 2012. ComedySportz team members will be joining Stage Left and our guest directors in staging the four finalists.


If it’s not already painfully clear, we want the funny! Preference will be given to scripts that make us laugh. Here are the submission guidelines:

DEADLINE: Submissions must be received by Friday, June 1, 2012 (note, this is not postmark date, it is a “received by” date).

Plays must perform at ten minutes or less (remember that stage directions will be read aloud)

Maximum of 5 actors per script (however, write as many characters as you please).  DrekFest 2012 WILL BE TIMED.  Plays exceeding 10 minutes will be ended with the sound of an annoying buzzer and action will be stopped immediately. Seriously.  Keep it short. 

There are no limitations on genre or subject matter.  Even though Stage Left’s mission is to raise political and social debate, we know that bad writing knows no genre, so don’t worry about adhering to the mission for this contest.

We will be using a Blind Submission process. Please include the following materials with your submission:

  • A cover letter on a separate sheet of paper, included in the envelope with your play (or as a separate attachment, if emailing). Envelopes and emails will not be opened by judges, only by non-judge staff members. List your contact info, including name, phone, email & street address on your cover letter.
  • Your resume.
  • Your availability to be in Chicago on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Given the economy and the state of arts funding, Stage Left cannot provide travel support. You do not need to be able to travel to Chicago in order to send a submission to DrekFest; however, most of the fun is in being there!
  • Your play(s). Do NOT include your name, by-line or contact info on the play itself. If mailed, plays must be clipped or bound in such a way that the pages can be easily separated for copying – no spiral bindings.
  • Your submission fee of $10.00 per play (e.g., $20.00 if you submit two plays). All submission fees will go entirely towards the cash prizes awarded to the winners. If mailing, include a check made out to “Stage Left Theatre.” If emailing, call us at 773-883-8830 x5 by Friday, June 1st to charge your fee to a Visa or MasterCard.  Credit card payments will have an additional $1 added.

A Note About Cash Prizes:
One hundred percent of the submission fees paid go back into the cash prizes. Therefore, the amount of the prizes will depend on the number of submissions we get. In past years, the Grand Prize has ranged from $300.00 to $400.00, and may be less or more as submissions warrant.

Please mail your submissions to:

Stage Left Theatre

Attn: DrekFest

3408 N. Sheffield Ave.

Chicago, IL 60657

― OR ―

Email your submissions to:



For questions or info, please contact:

Vance Smith, Artistic Director, at 773-883-8830


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