This annual showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago’s fringe, coproduced by Curious Theatre Branch and Prop Thtr, runs 8/24-11/4. This year’s schedule features two full-length trilogies, “The Madelyn Trilogy” by Beau O’Reilly and the “Danger Face Trilogy” by Idris Goodwin. Admission is $15 or “pay what you can,” except where noted. Performances take place at the Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston, the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, and elsewhere as noted. An installation by Jamie Rey, Reconciliation, will be up in the Prop’s lobby for the course of the festival. For information and reservations, call 773-539-7838 or visit rhinofest.com. Following is a schedule of shows opening through 8/30; a complete schedule is available at chicagoreader.com.
Madelyn Dangles by the Noose The first part of Beau O’Reilly’s “The Madelyn Trilogy” introduces the McGuffin siblings at the funeral of Madelyn Glass, who was married to two of the brothers before committing suicide. a Opens Fri 8/24, 7 PM. Through 10/5: Fri 7 PM, Prop Thtr, north theater. Then Fri 10/19 and 10/26, 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre. $15; $20 for the full trilogy.
Torch: The Bearer, Where No Wood Is Michael Martin’s solo piece is illustrated with “images of post-Katrina New Orleans, home improvement projects, and porn.” a Opens Fri 8/24, 7 PM. Through 9/8: Fri 7 PM, Sat 9 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
Defender A prostitute in criminal court runs into an old boyfriend who’s now a lawyer, in James Owens’s new play. a Opens Fri 8/24, 9 PM. Through 10/1: Mon 9 PM, Fri 8/31, 9 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Danger Face Idris Goodwin’s “Danger Face Trilogy” kicks off with this tale of two outlaws storming into a coffeehouse. a Opens Fri 8/24, 10 PM. Through 10/5: Fri 10 PM. Then Fri 10/12, 8 PM. Prop Thtr, south theater, $15; $20 for the full trilogy.
Backfire Paula Pazdurka’s collection of monologues explores her relationship with her father. a Fri-Sat 8/24-8/25, 11 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
The McGuffins Run the 440 “The Madelyn Trilogy” continues the tale of the McGuffin siblings. a Opens Sat 8/25, 7 PM. Through 10/6: Sat 7 PM, Prop Thtr, north theater. Then Sat 10/20 and 10/27, 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre. $15; $20 for the full trilogy.
The Unauthorized “On the Road” The 50th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac’s beat classic is marked with this “word jazz celebration” directed by Stefan Brun. a Opens Sat 8/25, 7 PM. Through 9/30: Sat-Sun 7 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
Danger Face 2: The Slow Burn The outlaws take refuge in an art gallery in this second part of the “Danger Face Trilogy.” a Opens Sat 8/25, 10 PM. Through 10/6: Sat 10 PM. Then Sat 10/13, 8 PM. Prop Thtr, south theater, $15; $20 for the full trilogy.
Hitting the Bricks “The Madelyn Trilogy” concludes. a Opens Sun 8/26, 7 PM. Through 10/7: Sun 7 PM, Prop Thtr, north theater. Then Sun 10/21 and 10/28, 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre. $15; $20 for the full trilogy.
Hollywood at Sunset A gay couple trying to make it in Hollywood hide their relationship in Robert Patrick’s play. It’s presented by the People’s Theater of Chicago. a Opens Mon 8/27, 7 PM. Through 9/24: Mon 7 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
Drive A former couple travels together to the wedding of old friends in Mark Young’s one-act, presented by the Side Project. a Opens Mon 8/27, 7 PM. Through 9/24: Mon 7 PM, Prop Thtr, north theater.
The Play About the Squirrel A couple must contend with a squirrel in their attic in Mia McCullough’s play, presented by Stage Left Theatre. a Opens Mon 8/27, 9 PM. Through 9/17: Mon 9 PM, Prop Thtr, north theater.
Selections From Estrogen Fest 07 This program of shorts includes pieces by Susan Hahn, Lisa Dillman, Sarah Gubbins, and Kristy Lockhart. a Opens Wed 8/29, 7 PM. Through 9/26: Wed 7 PM, Prop Thtr, north theater.
Une Baye Lithuanian actress Une Babickaite-Baye is the subject of this play written and directed by Audre Budrys. a Opens Wed 8/29, 9 PM. Through 9/20: Wed 9 PM, Thu 7 PM, Thu 8/30, 9 PM only, Prop Thtr, north theater.
Eat Shit This collaboratively written comedy inspired by recipes from The Joy of Cooking is directed by Maegan Larmer for the Mill. a Opens Thu 8/30, 7 PM. Through 9/27: Thu 7 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
The Danger Face Trilogy Idris Goodwin’s trilogy concludes with the third installment, Danger Face 3, performed with the first two parts. a Opens Thu 8/30, 9 PM. Through 10/11: Thu 9 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater, $20.
Who’s Afraid of Affirmative Action? Varrick Douglas’s spoof of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? involves an African-American student invited to a professor’s house and offered a chance at a doctoral program. a Opens Fri 8/31, 11 PM. Through 9/28: Fri 11 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
Tsarovia! This program of short plays by New Orleans playwright R.J. Tsarov is performed by Simone Jubyna and Mike Driscoll. a Opens Sat 9/1, 3 PM. Through 9/29: Sat 3 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
We Were the World Brian Torrey Scott directs this collaboratively written play combining structured plots with improv, “fear, comedy, teamwork, and live music.” a Opens Sat 9/1, 11 PM. Through 9/29: Sat 11 PM, Prop Thtr, north theater.
The Belle of Austin and Promises to Keep: The Poems of Robert F. Kennedy The art of Emily Dickinson and Daniel Johnston are examined in The Belle of Austin, written and performed by Rory Jobst. Also, Halfway House Theater Society presents a fictional account of RFK’s “life, loves, crimes, and children.” a 9/5-9/13: Wed 9 PM, Thu 7 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
Pasiones: Songs of the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939, A Folk Cabaret This revival of Jamie O’Reilly and Michael Smith’s program of folk songs and anthems is performed in six languages. a 9/7-9/9: Fri-Sat 7 PM, Sun 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Billy: A Man in Progress Wm. Bullion’s multimedia solo piece examines the nature of identity. a Fri 9/7, 9 PM, Athenaeum Theatre. Then Tue 9/18 and 9/25, 7 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
Bad Action Project Course and Living Tall Mike Test’s piece seeks to define “bad action” as a philosophical term. Living Tall is a play about a man who finds solace in a mistaken identity. a Fri-Sat 9/7-9/8, 9 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
The Uncertainty Principle: Dances Inspired by the Work of Werner Heisenberg and the Birth of Quantum Physics The title of this piece from the Space/Movement Project pretty much says it all. a 9/8-9/22: Sat 3 PM, Prop Thtr, north theater.
Ian’s Dog and Pony Show Ian Belknap headlines an evening of stand-up comics, monologuists, and sketch and improv actors, with a different lineup each week. a 9/8-9/22: Fri-Sat 9 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Wake Up, Apocalypse (Awake!) Greasy Joan & Co. performs an “unfinished play by Konstantin Gavrilovich Treplev” (a character in Chekhov’s The Sea Gull). a Opens Sun 9/9, 7 PM. Through 10/7: Sun 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Trash The politics of waste management is the subject of Matt Rieger’s play. a Opens Wed 9/12, 7 PM. Through 10/24: Wed 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
My Pants Are Fire A program of “hyper-vignettes” from the Sansculottes Theater Company. a Opens Wed 9/12, 9 PM. Through 9/27: Wed-Thu 9 PM. Then Sun 10/7 and 10/14, 3 PM. Athenaeum Theatre.
Echo Chamber Tif Bullard’s one-woman performance piece centers on her struggle with emetophobia–the fear of vomiting. Dexter Bullard directs. a 9/13-9/22: Thu-Sat 7 PM, no show Thu 9/20, Athenaeum Theatre.
Rise Like a Penis From the Flames–A Phallic Phoenix Story Monologuist Antonio Sacre touches on five key problem areas–family, finances, faith, friends, and fun–in his exploration of love. a 9/14-9/15: Fri 7 PM, Sat 9 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
A Break With Charity KellyAnn Corcoran’s adaptation of Ann Rinaldi’s young-adult novel about the Salem witch trials is the premiere production of the Corcoran School of Theater Arts. a 9/15-9/30: Sat-Sun 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Semeneau Edward Salem’s “combination of prose and video monologues by various performers” marks his debut performance in theater. a 9/19-9/27: Wed 9 PM, Thu 7 PM, Prop thtr, south theater.
Flat Danny A dead soldier’s family’s grieving takes a twist when the army sends them a life-size cardboard cutout of their son and brother in Barrie Cole’s new play. a 9/21-9/29: Fri 7 PM, Sat 9 PM. Then Sun 10/7 and 10/14, 3 PM. Prop Thtr, south theater.
Perfect Kitchen Sherry Antonini’s “prepared improvisational performance” about the kitchen’s place in a home is accompanied by live music. a Fri 9/21 and 9/28, 9 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
Black Box–A Play Crash The Billy Goat Experiment Theatre perform their play within a play in the tradition of the Marx Brothers. a Opens Thu 9/27, 7 PM. Through 10/25: Thu 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Distance = A Camel Caravan on a Grain of Rice: A Performance Duet in Six Parts Karen Christopher and Mark Jeffery use video images to investigate concepts of distance. a Fri-Sat 9/28-9/29, 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Rock and Roll: Impatience The Lucky Pierre performance quartet swagger through every cliched rock ‘n’ roll posture–a kind of musical clip art–searching in vain for spontaneous, eternal bacchanalia. It’s a joyful and confounding evening. (JHa) a Fri-Sat 9/28-9/29, 9 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Mixtape Collision Theatre Company perform their “visual and aural theatrical expression” about the perfect track list. a Opens Wed 10/3, 9 PM. Through 10/25: Wed-Thu 9 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Torvald and I and The Best of 365 Days: 3,000,000,000 Plays Torvald and I, Mark Chrisler’s take on Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, is “the best comedic post-feminist construction that 19th century realism can offer.” Also on the bill, Tim Racine seeks to better Suzan-Lori Parks’s “365 Days/365 Plays” project by about 10 million times. a 10/3-10/11: Wed 9 PM, Thu 7 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
XV-XVI Century Northern Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection 1978 BoyGirlBoyGirl present a quartet of solo pieces inspired by an exhibition catalog of Renaissance drawings. a 10/5-10/13: Fri-Sat 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Girl Go Boom! Two short plays: Ferine, Carey Friedman’s update of Lysistrata, and Joe Meno’s Don the Army Blue, about a couple of army brats looking for “something resembling love.” a 10/5-10/13: Fri-Sat 7 PM, Thu 10/11, 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Railroad Backward Kestutis Nakas’s play is about a Chicago man’s bizarre journey through frontier Illinois. Nakas creates a playful but puzzling journey that often wanders too far from a discernible path. Yet his handful of well-placed references to Vietnam and Iraq do create a sense of the United States’ robust history of ruthless profiteering. (JHa) a Sat 10/6 and 10/13, 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
(H)ourglass Julie Caffey and Leslie Swieck’s performance piece tells the story of a love affair between a theater manager and a church secretary. a Fri-Sat 10/19-10/20, 5:30 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
The Great Cicada Letdown and Other Natural Disruptions The Magpies ponder that coyote in Quizno’s and other collisions between nature and the city in this series of monologues and songs. a Fri-Sat 10/19-10/20, 9:30 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Untitled Work in Progress Vicki Walden plans to use video clips and live actors in her piece. a 10/20-10/28: Sat-Sun, 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
A Concert With Jenny Magnus and Stephanie Rearick The two present a musical program. a Fri-Sat 10/26-10/27, 9:30 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
The Big Palaver The festival concludes with an evening of new work by Mickle Maher, Jimmy Carrane, Bryn Magnus, Audrey Niffenegger, Jeff Dorchen, and others. Beau O’Reilly and Jenny Magnus host. a Sun 11/4, 3 PM, School of the Art Institute, ballroom, 112 S. Michigan, $20.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Madelyn Dangles by the Noose.