Rhinoceros Theater Festival

This annual showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music used to be presented at multiple locations, but now all activities take place at a single venue: the Lunar Cabaret in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, home base of the Curious Theatre Branch, whose artistic director Beau O’Reilly is the event’s coordinator. But though the Rhino’s roaming grounds have been reined in this year, the beast’s appetite hasn’t been curtailed. The Rhino Fest, which takes its name from surrealist painter Salvador Dali’s use of the term “rhinocerontic” (it means real big), still seeks to offer audiences a broad sampling of new, sometimes innovative work from the fringes of Chicago’s performing-arts community.

The eighth annual Rhinoceros Theater Festival runs through September 28 at the Lunar Cabaret, 2827 N. Lincoln. Performances are generally Mondays at 8 PM, Thursdays at 8 and 9 PM, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and 10 PM, and Sundays at 3 and 8 PM; consult the listings below for specific shows and times. All events are $10 or “pay what you can.” For more information, call 773-327-6666.

The Reader lists festival schedules (which are subject to last-minute change) on a week-by-week basis; following is the schedule for September 18 through 25.


Reciprocal Quantities: A Mathematical Study

Local Infinities presents Meghan Strell and Charlie Levin in “a comical duet for two women and their box.” 8 PM.

Strange Tales

Magician and performance artist David Parr presents an evening of theater and illusion, during which the audience is invited to take part in “a perplexing series of paranormal experiments.” 9 PM.


The Clown

Frank Melcori and Douglas Grew star in their own adaptation of Heinrich Bšll’s tale; the performers “concentrate on the two personalities that are the Man and the Clown, exploring the ironic inviersion of the discipline needed to be a professional fool and the absence of hope needed to be a private one,” according to a publicity statement. 8 PM.

Partial Post/Pregnant Pause

These two one-acts by local playwright Mark Guarino are directed by Julieanne Ehre. Partial Post concerns a man who writes and mails a letter at the same time every day; Pregnant Pause concerns a pregnant cleaning lady who seeks “to eradicate every inch of dirt on her block.” 10 PM.


Little Crashes/Old

Local playwright Peter Handler offers two new one-acts; Hallie Gordon directs. Little Crashes concerns a woman who hears an airplane crashing; Old is about two elderly sisters and their even more elderly mother living in the same nursing home. 8 PM.

Cut It Out

Caravan/Caravan’s adaptation of Heinrich Bšll’s Murke’s Collected Silences explores the function of silence in post-World War II Germany; director Leslie Buxbaum employs puppetry and sculptural elements. 10 PM.


The Clown

See listing for Friday, September 19. 3 PM.

Eddie: A Man in His Skin

Beau O’Reilly’s one-man show, presented by the Curious Theatre Branch, concerns a “nude run messiah” and his “ecstatic pursuit of a world that embraces the naked.” Musical accompaniment is provided by cellist Paul Leisen. 8 PM.


Partial Post/Pregnant Pause

See listing for Friday, September 19. 10 PM.


Reciprocal Quantities: A Mathematical Study

See listing for Thursday, September 18. 8 PM.

Strange Tales

See listing for Thursday, September 18. 9 PM.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): “Old” theater still by Mary Beth Sova.