Taking its name from the Tower Building at the intersection of North, Damen, and Milwaukee--commonly called the "Coyote Building" because it once housed the Coyote Gallery--this multimedia arts event includes a sizable theater and performance component (coordinated this year by Wm. Bullion, director of Sliced Bread Productions) that lays claim to being Chicago's only entirely free theatrical festival. Running September 17 through 20 at a variety of venues in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area, the third annual Around the Coyote fest features 22 companies offering 28 different plays and performance pieces. Admission to all theater events is free; for more information, call 342-6777. Following is the schedule through September 17.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
Swing Your Lady
The farmer and the cowhand should be friends? The Cook County Theatre Department (not another governmental agency, worried taxpayers are assured) offers its textual and musical deconstruction of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! Paulina Arts Center, 17 3 5 N. Paulina. 7 PM.
The Poppy Garden
Anne McGravie's new play, seen here in a workshop performance, draws on the playwright's own experiences in its portrait of a woman with breast cancer. An audience discussion follows the show. At the Gallery-Chopin Theatre (downstairs), 1541-43 W. Division. 7:30 PM.
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
See description in regular theater listings. At the Gallery-Chopin Theatre, 1541-43 W. Division. 8 PM.
Dana Block performs this solo piece, based on historical documents, about a 17th-century German woman on trial for being a witch. (She claimed she was innocent at first, but never fear--the torturers got the truth out of her.) David Schein of Free Street Theater directs the Chicago premiere of this work by California monologuist John O'Keefe. Urbus Orbis, 1934 W. North. 8 PM.
Brou Ha Ha
Original comedic sketches. Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division. 8 PM.
An unnamed, AIDS-like plague, not family loyalty, is the tragic factor in Alan Bowne's grim twist on Romeo and Juliet, in which two young people--one infected, one not--find and fight love in an urban ghetto. This staging from Bad Rep Productions was mounted especially for the Coyote fest. Urbus Orbis, 1934 W. North. 9 PM.
and Fiesta Boy in a Ten Joint Town
The Civitas theater offers two short plays. The first, by Israel Horovitz, finds a brother and sister confronting their parents' death while speaking only in stage directions. The second, a coproduction with Theatre Wyrzuc, is Brian G. Kirst's poetic performance piece about "a search for our shadowed self in a nation and generation divided." Love Loft, 15 09 N. Milwaukee, 9 PM.