This annual showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago’s fringe, coproduced by Curious Theatre Branch and Prop Thtr, runs 9/7-11/12. This year’s festival includes an emphasis on work by, or inspired by, Samuel Beckett. All performances are at the Prop Thtr, 3502-4 N. Elston, unless otherwise noted. Several performances will be at Roots, an offshoot of Curious Theatre Branch located in a private home; the address will be provided when the reservation is made. Admission is $15 or “pay what you can,” except where noted. For information and reservations, call 773-539-7838 or visit www.rhinofest.com. Following is the schedule through 9/14; a complete schedule is available at www.chicagoreader.com.
Sprung Movement Theatre (Anthony Courser, Karen Foley, and Jon Sherman) premiere a physical theater piece about masculine friendships–and what happens when a woman enters the picture. 9/9-10/7: Sat 9:30 PM.
Being at Choice
Factory Theater reprises its 2004 production of Michael Meredith’s comedy. Meredith’s affectionate parody of support groups is not quite sharp or dark enough for a full-length play. What’s missing is a cohesive narrative. (JV) 9/11-10/9: Mon 7 PM.
Classic Shorts: Beckett/Albee
Greasy Joan & Co. present a trio of one-acts: Footfalls and Come and Go by Beckett, both directed by Julieanne Ehre, and Counting the Ways by Edward Albee, directed by Libby Ford. 9/10-10/15: Sun 7 PM.
The Climb Up Mount Chimborazo
Nonsense Company presents Rick Burkhardt’s fanciful meditation on South American liberator Simon Bolivar and his tutor Simon Robinson, inspired in part by the historical collage novels of Eduardo Galeano. 9/10-10/15: Sun 7 PM.
Beau O’Reilly’s adaptation of the Beckett short story is performed by Matthew Wilson under O’Reilly’s direction. Presented at Roots. 9/15-10/27: Fri 7 PM. On 9/15 only: presented as a double bill with Great Hymn of Thanksgiving (see separate listing).
Beckett’s existential masterpiece about a blind man stuck in a room with his servant features Beau O’Reilly, Guy Massey, Stefan Brun, and Teresa Weed. 9/9-10/14: Sat 3 and 7 PM. Then 10/21-10/29: Sat-Sun 7 PM.
Full Moon Vaudeville
The festival kicks off with this evening of music, short pieces by Samuel Beckett, and a mini rock opera, BAM-BAM Suckitt, by the Super Cool Sluuts of America. Thu 9/7, 7 PM.
Great Hymn of Thanksgiving
Folk duo the Prince Myshkins offer a musical tour of a holiday dinner table where conversation has been replaced by fragments of news reports, Arab folktales, and excerpts from an army prayer manual. Presented at Roots on a double bill with The End (see separate listing). Fri 9/15, 7 PM.
Cecilie O’Reilly and Dwight Eastman perform Beckett’s play about a chatty woman, Winnie, buried up to her waist in dirt, and her taciturn husband, Willy. 9/10-10/15: Sun 3 PM.
I Left My Birth Control in Baltimore
Super Cool Sluuts of America (aka Kate Bergeron, Kathryn Korosi, Jenn Spain, and Sarah Weis) incorporate music, comedy, and choreography in an exploration of “the modern female experience.” a 9/13-9/27: Wed 7 PM.
In the Dark
Writer/performer Israel Antonio’s autobiographical solo play traces the effect of sudden blindness on his journey through adolescence. Scott Vehill directs. 9/8-10/27: Fri 9:30 PM.
Krapp’s Last Tape and Thee
This bill from Clove Productions pairs Beckett’s monologue about a decrepit old man listening to a tape he made of himself 30 years earlier (played by Michael Martin under Beau O’Reilly’s direction) with a new play by Martin about two women who “navigate the boat of their life through shallows and storms.” a Sat 9/9: 11 PM (Krapp’s Last Tape only). Then 9/13-9/27: Wed 7 PM.
Barrie Cole premieres her latest play, in which a young man’s blog about his eccentric parents leads to “rich and strange” events after a reader of the blog invites herself over. 9/8-10/13: Fri 7 PM.
The Observer and Gazooly
Mark Chrisler’s new lecture-cum-solo performance takes up where the beloved time-traveling sci-fi television series Quantum Leap left off. Olivia Cronk’s Gazooly is “part poetry, part vaudeville,” performed by an ensemble. 9/14-10/12: Thu 9:30 PM.
Tennessee Speaks in Tongues for You (or The 3 1/2-Character Play)
New Orleans-based playwright R.J. Tsarov’s play, a fantasia on the work of Tennessee Williams, receives a local premiere under the direction of filmmaker John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer). 9/9-10/28: Sat 9:30 PM.
Unperceivable Perception a Contradiction #347: Reading Berkeley at the U. of C.
Steve Peterson’s solo, directed by Neo-Futurist founder Greg Allen, is an interactive exploration of Peterson’s travails in writing his PhD dissertation in philosophy at the University of Chicago, complete with fantasies about Susan Sontag and “at least one sing-along musical number.” a 9/14-10/12: Thu 7 PM.
What Where, The Jesus Fields, and Green Science Bloody Done Hate
A trio of short plays, presented by Ooftish Theatre. In addition to Beckett’s meditation on torture, the evening includes Matthew Test’s exploration of “Jesus as an agricultural product” and Jayita Bhattacharya’s play about murder and revenge. 9/11-10/23: Mon 7 PM.
The Whole Thing
Kristy Lockhart premieres a new evening of tales “usual and unusual,” inspired by her family in Birmingham, Alabama. Presented at Roots. 9/10-9/24: Sun 7 PM, on a double bill with Words and Music (see separate listing).
Words and Music
The Billy Goat Experiment performs Beckett’s radio play, directed by Catherine Jarboe and with new music by Troy Martin played live. Presented at Roots. 9/10-10/8: Sun 7 PM. On a double bill with The Whole Thing (see separate listing) 9/10-9/24 only.
Brian Torrey Scott’s new musical about “time, rest, forgetting and grief” features a score by Azita Youssefi and Sam Wagster. 9/8-10/27: Fri 9:30 PM.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Kristin Basta.