The Rhinoceros Theatre Festival | Festival | Chicago Reader

The Rhinoceros Theatre Festival 

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Inspired by surrealist painter Salvador Dali's use of the term "rhinocerontic"--it means real big--this sprawl of avant-garde theater and performance in Chicago is coordinated this year (its fourth) by Michael Martin, Scott Turner, and Beau O'Reilly, who have endeavored to maintain the event's broad scope and cutting-edge sensibility. Rhino Fest runs August 20 through 28 at three venues: the Curious Theatre Branch (1900 W. North), the Prop Theatre (the Garage, 1843 W. North), and Remains Theatre (1800 N. Clybourn); the official Rhino horn is 883-8801. Shows are priced at $7 per ticket, $25 for four tickets, $36 for six tickets, or $50 for ten tickets. (Complementing Rhino Fest is the Bucktown Arts Fest, which offers free theatrical performances August 28 and 29 at the Holstein Park field house, 2200 N. Oakley; call 489-4662 for details.) The schedule for August 20 through 26 follows.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 20

Extravaganza in Fat Pads

New Crime Productions, which specializes in a high-volume contemporary variation on classic commedia dell'arte clowning (complete with masks, strange makeup, and intensely physical action), presents a new work directed by Polly Noonan. Prop Theatre, 8 PM.

Fathomless Performance Concepts presents . . . Bliss, by Ewa

Studio 108 stages Gregory and Allison Kagan's comedy, described as "the first and last production of the world's most dangerous theater company, complete with a rhino ballet and a danse macabre." Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM.

It Comes in Waves: LSD at 50

Acid test: Performance artist Andy Soma conceived this historical and personal tribute to the noted hallucinogen. Prop Theatre, 10 PM.

Cries Afar Now Faint Now Clear

See Critic's Choice in Theater listings. Curious Theatre Branch, 10 PM.

The Willies

Jenny Magnus's "performance collage" addresses "dreams, guilt, and unrelenting workhorseplay." Remains Theatre, 10 PM.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 21

Keen Cuttings and Rumpelstiltskin: The Real Story

Primus, a city-sponsored theater company composed of people 55 and older, performs a double bill. The first is a revue; the second is Dan Tucker's reworking of the well-known folk tale. Curious Theatre Branch, noon and 3 PM.

The John & David Show

Performer-poets John Starrs and David Hernandez team up for a program of word pictures. Prop Theatre, 8 PM.

Let the Dolly Do the Work

In this comedy about a group of incompetent professional movers, playwright Beau O'Reilly has "taken [a] seemingly insipid premise and constructed an adventure of giddy theatrical heights," said Reader critic Justin Hayford when the play premiered last spring. Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM.

The Yellow Wallpaper

Steele Prod. uses stylized movement, masks, and puppetry to interpret turn-of-the-century feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman's drama about an artistic woman whose doctors prescribe absolute rest for her self-expressive inclinations. Prop Theatre, 10 PM.

Literal Translations (or, What We Think We Talk About When We Talk About Love)

Kerry Reid's one-woman show intersperses autobiographical anecdotes with selections and citations from the likes of Eudora Welty, Joyce Cary, and J.D. Salinger. When the show premiered last fall at the Splinter Group Studio under the auspices of Pidgin English Productions, Reader critic Jack Helbig praised Reid's "funny but touching stories" and the "disarming ease and self-assurance" with which she related them. Curious Theatre Branch, 10 PM.

The Croaking Fascist and The Armband Variations

Jeff Dorchen and Mickle Maher, under the auspices of their Theater for the Age of Gold, perform Dorchen's darkly comic studies of racial, religious, and gender labeling as dictated by political-correctness extremists on the right and the left. Remains Theatre, 11 PM.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 22

The Spew Police . . . The Suffergush Returns

Beau O'Reilly's monologue concerns a man who takes a vodka-fueled voyage from Rogers Park to Wicker Park in one long day. Prop Theatre, 8 PM.

Fathomless Performance Concepts presents . . . Bliss, by Ewa

See listing for Friday, August 20. Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM.

The Croaking Fascist and The Armband Variations

See listing for Saturday, August 21. Remains Theatre, 9 PM.

MONDAY, AUGUST 23

The Yellow Wallpaper

See listing for Saturday, August 21. Prop Theatre, 8 PM.

Literal Translations (or, What We Think We Talk About When We Talk About Love)

See listing for Saturday, August 21. Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM.

On Rosa Luxemburg: Work in Progress

Blue Rider Theatre's Donna Blue Lachman reads from her new work The Language of Birds: Rosa Luxemburg & Me, which explores "the reverberations between the reformer and the performer." Remains Theatre, 8 PM.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 24

Cries Afar Now Faint Now Clear

See Critic's Choice in Theater listings. Prop Theatre, 8 PM.

Let the Dolly Do the Work

See listing for Saturday, August 21. Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM.

Annajenska

Drag queen performance artist Joan Jett Blakk, making her farewell appearance in Chicago, plays the lead role in George Bernard Shaw's comedy about a royal revolutionary. Remains Theatre, 8 PM.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 25

Dark City: The Transformation of the Cheerleader

The Chicago Cabaret Ensemble performs Warren Leming's dance/theater piece examining boosterism in the arenas of sports and performance. Prop Theatre, 8 PM.

Ceremonies for a Broken Heart and Yugoslavia: A Scholarly Explanation and "Wacky" Improv Show (Ooh, Baby!)

Theater Oobleck presents two performance pieces, by Ted deMoniak and Danny Thompson respectively. Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 26

Even the Dwarf Started Small

The Math new-music ensemble, whose instrumentation includes a propane tank, performs "a concert with a cameo by puppets." Prop Theatre, 8 PM.

The John & David Show

See listing for Saturday, August 21. Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM.

Everyone's Afraid of the Dark

The Playwrights' Center presents Min McCullough's play about an insecure woman who attempts to escape from her abusive lover and nasty boss. Prop Theatre, 10 PM.

Awake and Stupid

Stuart Allen, whose work directly reflects his experiences as a gay, HIV-positive recovering crack addict, wrote this program of performance pieces featuring Jenny Barron. Curious Theatre Branch, 10 PM.

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Agenda Teaser

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