The duck, the Birthday Boy, and "the Other Side of the Elephant"
The duck, the Birthday Boy, and "the Other Side of the Elephant" Credit: Jeffrey Bivens

The folks at Curious Theatre Branch seem to have decided that just one event named after a wrinkly gray behemoth isn’t enough. Having staged the 24th annual Rhinoceros Theater Festival last winter, the Chicago fringe institution is back now with “The Other Side of the Elephant,” a month-long repertory fest consisting of three batches of short works by Curious writers. Each batch will be performed once a week at Prop Thtr. Here’s the lineup:

    • Fridays: Jayita Bhattacharya makes few concessions to accessibility in her avant-garde, linguistically complex works. For those who can keep pace with her slicing and dicing of the English language, she’ll be acting in her own I Know the Bird by Its Call (But Do You Know the Bird’s Call?). Birthday Boy and Summer of ’76 round out the evening. The former represents a joint effort between Matt Test and the engrossingly grim Chris Bower; the latter is a dose of Vicki Walden’s sophisticated minimalism.

    • Saturdays: Family ties continue to weave through Curious even though founding couple Beau O’Reilly and Jenny Magnus are a couple no more. Here, Beau’s gifted son Colm O’Reilly performs The Juggernaut, a mythopoetic piece of writing by Jenny’s talented brother Bryn Magnus. Also on the bill: Judith Harding’s solo piece Lou, and Matt Rieger’s 12 Jackets.

    • Sundays: Beau O’Reilly is all over this installment, directing Jennifer Moniz’s Advanced Placement and performing in Matt Wilson’s Crowns. And beatish Chicago fringe fixture John Starrs makes an appearance of his own in I Always Wanted to Be a Teacher. Later on Sundays, at 7 PM, Curious hosts a showcase for new plays by students in the writing program at the School of the Art Institute.