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Rhinoceros Theater Festival 

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Rhinoceros Theater Festival

This annual showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago's fringe began as part of the Bucktown Arts Fest; now it's hosted by the Curious Theatre Branch. Taking its name from surrealist painter Salvador Dali's use of the term "rhinocerontic" (it means real big), the Rhino Fest celebrates its tenth anniversary with shows by such local notables as Theater for the Age of Gold, Lucky Pierre, Plasticene, Cin Salach and Ten Tongues, Antonio Sacre, the Penlight Theater, and members of the Neo-Futurists and Theater Oobleck, as well as the Curious cabal. Also taking part is the Theater im Quadrat from Halle, Germany, which appears this week on double bills with local troupes.

The Rhinoceros Theater Festival runs through October 2 at the Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln, 773-327-6666; admission is $10 or "pay what you can," unless otherwise noted. Following is the schedule for September 16 through 23, based on information available Monday.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16

Cows

This one-act is written by Mike Hansel and directed by Eric Ziegenhagen for Cougar Cougar Productions. 8 PM.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17

Quartett and 4 x 4

See Critic's Choice for description of Quartett. 4 x 4, a movement-theater piece by Chicago's Plasticene ensemble, is described by director Dexter Bullard describes as "a study in time, crisis, and consequence for four actors and four lights." 8 PM. The price for this double bill is $15.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

Quartett and 4 x 4

See listing for Friday, September 17. 8 PM. The price for this double bill is $15.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

In the Wreckage

Playwright-director Matthew Wilson, known for his live monologues Friday nights on WZRD, teams up with fellow former Thunder Road Ensemble members Amy Eaton, Deborah King, and Daniel Taube to premiere Wilson's new play. Presented by Hysteria Productions, it's composed of seemingly independent narratives whose subjects range from an unexpected encounter between old acquaintances to a car crash. "In the Wreckage is [Wilson's] first attempt at playwriting, and it shows. . . . Wilson does an excellent job of establishing common themes among the five individual components of this production. And the cast . . . does a solid job of bringing to life Wilson's tales about the desperation of everyday existence. . . . But despite their best efforts, In the Wreckage falls too often into one-sidedness," says Reader critic Nick Green. 7 PM.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

The Lucky Ones and Quartett

Jenny Magnus's new play The Lucky Ones, presented by the Curious Theatre Branch, concerns "the end of things, and what we get when we get there." The cast includes Magnus, Beau O'Reilly, and Paul Leisen. "Program notes hint that Magnus's play is a sort of love letter to her father and his now contemplative approach to life; this much is conveyed in the carefully crafted performances. But the script poses a fair number of perplexing questions, and answers too many of them with more questions. Magnus's previous works have featured elliptical dialogue and Beckett-like wordplay, but this piece is missing some of the grand peaks and valleys of earlier efforts," says Reader critic Nick Green. 8 PM. See Critic's Choice for description of Quartett. 8 PM. The price for this double bill is $15.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett as Found in an Envelope (Partially Burned) in a Dustbin in Paris, Labeled "Never to Be Performed. Never. Ever. Ever! Or I'll Sue! I'll Sue From the Grave!!!"

Greg Allen, Danny Thompson, and Ben Schneider team up for this parody-homage to the late, great playwright. 8 PM.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

Cows

See listing for Thursday, September 16. 8 PM.

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