Rhinoceros Theater Festival | Festival | Chicago Reader

Rhinoceros Theater Festival 

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This annual showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago's fringe began as part of the Bucktown Arts Fest; now it's produced 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, now in its 11th year, features shows by such local notables as Theater for the Age of Gold, the Billy Goat Experiment, Blair Thomas, Antonio Sacre (now based in LA, but returning for the festival), John Musial, Michael K. Meyers, and Theater Oobleck in addition to the Curious folks.

The Rhinoceros Theater Festival runs through October 14 at the Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln; additional performances take place September 12 through 27 at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs' Storefront Theater, located in the Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph. Admission to all shows is $10 or "pay what you can"; for information and reservations, call 773-327-6666.

Following is the schedule for September 7 through 14, based on information available Monday.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

Carving Wood and Midwest Parking

The first play on this double bill is a comedy by Nicole Kupper about a woman obsessed with Ping-Pong and her relationship with her daughter and the daughter's fiance; the second, presented by Cougar Cougar Productions, is a comedy by writer-director Mike Hansel. Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

Geek Love

Theater for the Age of Gold presents a musical by Jeff Dorchen and Jeff Kowalkowski, which explores themes of "dismembered body image and identity." Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM. (Reviewed this week in Section One.)

Something Made Up

Monologuist Barrie Cole tries her hand at playwriting with this tale of a woman and a man whose worldviews are altered by a book on ventriloquism and a bottle of oregano respectively. Directed by Cole and Eric Ziegenhagen, the production features Julie Caffey and Doug Stapleton. Lunar Cabaret, 10 PM. (Reviewed this week in Section One.)

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9

Chameleon With a Stigmata

Former stand-up comic Sue Cargill wrote this dark comedy about a self-effacing woman whose new apartment is inhabited by a human-sized bright red chameleon whose inability to change his colors contrasts with the woman's tendency to blend in with her surroundings. Anna Bahow directs. Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM. (Reviewed this week in Section One.)

Nelson Algren: For Keeps and a Single Day

Director-designer-filmmaker John Musial's multimedia exploration of the life and work of the famed Chicago novelist features performer Thom Cox and live jazz by Dave Pavkovic and Griffin Rodriguez. This performance is a preview of Lookingglass Theatre Company's forthcoming production. Lunar Cabaret, 10 PM.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

Evening at Club Means

See review in this section. Lunar Cabaret, 7 PM.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11

Until One Day I Run Out of Teeth and The Secret Thoughts of Clowns

See review in this section. Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12

The Puppet Show of Don Cristobal and Virgin in Three Parts, Part One: "Saint Christina the Astonishing"

The first portion of this double bill is Federico Garcia Lorca's slapstick puppet play based on the characters of Don Cristobal and Miss Rosita, the Andalusian version of Punch and Judy; it's performed by puppeteer Blair Thomas. The second half is the Billy Goat Experiment's portrait of a virgin martyr. "[In] their startling 'toy theater' retelling of the life of Saint Christina, they produce work with all the mystery, intrigue, and hyperbole due their subjects," said Reader critic Justin Hayford when he reviewed the production's earlier run. Storefront Theater, 7 PM.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Ian Belknap, in the role of Mephistopheles, hosts a program of monologues about the seven deadly sins. The performance is part of a weekly series in which each show features a different lineup of sins, portrayed by a rotating ensemble that includes Jenny Magnus, Bryn Magnus, Lusia Strus, Susan Messing, Matt Kaye, Rose Abdoo, and others. Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

The Puppet Show of Don Cristobal and Virgin in Three Parts, Part One: "Saint Christina the Astonishing"

See listing for 7 PM Tuesday, September 12. Storefront Theater, 7 PM.

Lily

See review in this section. Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

Loser's Alias

The Curious Theatre Branch presents Bryn Magnus's "action play" about a test of wills between a flamboyant wrestling promoter and a do-gooder trying to legitimize the sport by making it tame. The production, a revised version of one of the troupe's early, seminal works of more than a decade ago, features puppets and live music by "mock-rock/grunge band" Family Problem. The original show "was one of . . . Magnus's more confused epics, [but he] has heightened the emotional reality of his main characters and toned down the assaultive energy that overwhelmed his first production," says Reader critic Justin Hayford. Storefront Theater, 7 PM.

Carving Wood and Midwest Parking

See listing for 8 PM Thursday, September 7. Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

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