This third annual showcase of avant-garde theater in Chicago (with a taste of Kansas City for good measure) is coordinated by Scott Turner, Valerie Turner, Jim Krulish, and John Oartel–with a bow to Salvador Dali, whose use of the term “rhinocerontic” (it means real big) inspired the event’s name. It runs August 21 through 29 and features 18 companies in 20 different at three locations in the area around North and Damen avenues: Latino Chicago Theater Company (the Firehouse, 1625 N. Damen); the Curious Theatre Branch (1900 W. North); and Theatre of the Reconstruction (the Garage, 1843 W. North). The phone number for all Rhino Fest information is 235-1944. Except where noted otherwise, performances are priced at $7 per ticket, $25 for four tickets, $36 for-six tickets, or $50 for ten tickets. Following is the schedule for August 21 through 27:


THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET Amy Ludwig’s adaptation of Sandra Cisneros’s book of stories explores life in a working-class Chicago neighborhood during the early 60s as seen through the eyes of a young Latino woman. Presented by Chameleon Productions in association with Latino Chicago Theater Company. (Latino Chicago, 8 PM)

MEDEA Revenge is tasty for the title character, a sorceress who punishes her unfaithful husband by serving him his children on a plate. Euripides’ tragedy is performed by Steele Productions, whose specialty is fusing movement, mask, and puppetry techniques. (Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM)

THE SELECTION Ted de Moniak adopts a 19th-century declamatory style to perform portions of Indecent Exposure, by South African satirist Tom Sharpe. Special Theater Oobleck price: $4, “free if you’re broke” (all Rhino Fest tickets and reservations honored). (Theatre of the Reconstruction, 8 PM)

POUND BOUND Scott Baker’s performance piece is based on Ezra Pound’s work–and the poet’s imprisonment in an open cage for treasonous rantings during World War II. It’s presented by PUS. (Latino Chicago, 10 PM)

KINGDOM–ANIMALIA; PHYLUM–ARTHROPOD The Math new-music ensemble, which employs found objects and traditional instruments, takes on the persona of “a class, order, family, genus, and species of insectachilopodas having a sprawling body and several heads, six, eight, or ten legs, distinct eyes, and metal antennae with 17 joints” in this performance piece. (Curious Theatre Branch, 10 PM)

BIRTH OF A FRENCHMAN See Critic’s Choice. (Theatre of the Reconstruction, 10 PM)


DANCING NAKED ON THE WHITE HOUSE LAWN No, it’s not about Tipper Gore freaking out in November. Donna Blue Lachman’s autobiographical “spiritual travelogue” includes reminiscences of LSD experimentation, the 1968 Democratic convention, the (last) Gulf war, and other stops along the author-performer’s “mythic journey.” Presented by Blue Rider Theatre. (Latino Chicago, 8 PM)

HOWARD HUGHES The legendary gazillionaire and recluse is portrayed by Glenn Bugala in the Amicus Theatre’s one-man show. (Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM)

DATES WITHOUT CHICKS Scott Turner wrote this comedy about a pair of guys pondering the ways of women. Reviewing the Theatre of the Reconstruction’s production earlier this summer, Reader critic Adam Langer called the play “predictable and excessively preachy,” but said that “Turner’s ear for dialogue is sharp, and the rapid-fire repartee is often hilarious and true.” (Theatre of the Reconstruction, 8 PM)

JUNGLE OF TONGUES In the belly of the beast: Convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault, lifelong criminal Caryl Chessman became a national icon of the capital-punishment debate when he spent a dozen years on death row, writing books and conducting his own legal appeals, until he was executed at San Quentin in 1960. Chessman is the subject of this theatrical “auto-da-fe” performed by Charles Pike and the Jef Bek Orkestra under the auspices of PUS. (Latino Chicago, 10 PM)

KINGDOM–ANIMALIA; PHYLUM–ARTHROPOD See listing under Friday, August 21. (Curious Theatre Branch, 10 PM)

THE SELECTION See listing under Friday, August 21. Special Theater Oobleck price: $4, “free if you’re broke” (all Rhino Fest tickets and reservations honored). (Theatre of the Reconstruction, 10 PM)


POST ACUTE WITHDRAWAL Stuart Allen is a gay, HIV-positive recovering addict. He’s also one half of this two-person performance duo from Kansas City, whose name refers to the condition that affects some addicts after they stop using drugs. The pair–Valorie Hubbard is Allen’s partner–performs such Allen works as “Sensitivity,” “Getting Fisted,” and “Jesus Is a Crack Dealer From San Antonio” (The team’s August 25 show features a different program.) (Latino Chicago, 8 PM)

HIDE THAT HEAD–CURIOUS BITS The Curious Theatre Branch ensemble performs a program of monologues and short works, interwoven with vignettes by Jenny Magnus. (Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM)

DATES WITHOUT CHICKS See listing under Saturday, August 22. (Theatre of the Reconstruction, 8 PM)


THE SCENE Local artists gather to discuss trends in stage design in this symposium. Free. (Theatre of the Reconstruction, 8 PM)


THE KASHUBIAN TAPES “The protagonist of [this] one-man show featuring Peter Reinemann [offers] evidence that the United States supplied Iran with weapons and parts for years before the Iran-contra scandal …. The evidence, despite the fragmented way in which it’s presented, is compelling…Whether or not this material is true–Dan Sutherland, the playwright, claims it’s a fictionalized treatment of real events–it makes a good play,” said Reader critic John Shaw when he reviewed this Eagle Mountain Productions show in 1989. (Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM)

POST ACUTE WITHDRAWAL See listing under Sunday, August 23. The program for tonight’s show includes “Mickey and Johnathan,” “Angel of Death,” and “Rigid With Disapproval.” (Theatre of the Reconstruction, 8 PM)


THE KASHUBIAN TAPES See listing under Tuesday, August 25. (Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM)

BIRTH OF A FRENCHMAN See Critic’s Choice. (Theatre of the Reconstruction, 8 PM)


HIDE THAT HEAD–CURIOUS BITS See listing under Sunday, August 23. (Curious Theatre Branch, 8 PM)

THE CASE OF WAGNER Hitler’s favorite composer debates the philosopher Nietzsche, in this meditation on aesthetics, philosophy, and fascism by Warren Leming. It’s presented by the Chicago Cabaret Ensemble. (Theatre of the Reconstruction, 8 PM)

A PERFECT ANALYSIS GIVEN BY A PARROT and THE DIMMED HEART See Critic’s Choice. (Curious Theatre Branch, 10 PM)

LAS TOALLITAS This “gypsy circus band in search of a circus to play with” blends funk, jazz, and Latin American musical styles; for this engagement the group is exploring a more theatrical, characterbased format, in which to ground its sound. (Theatre of the Reconstruction, 10 PM)

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Robbin Depping.