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Rhinoceros Theater Festival

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The Curious Theatre Branch's ambitious yearly showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago's fringe began as part of the Bucktown Arts Fest. Over the years it's mushroomed from a neighborhood happening to an event of citywide significance--especially now that it's been taken under the wing of the city's Department of Cultural Affairs as part of a laudable effort to bring an off-off-Loop sensibility into Chicago's downtown theater district.

Taking its name from surrealist painter Salvador Dali's use of the term "rhinocerontic" (it means real big), the 14th annual Rhinoceros Theater Festival runs August 29-October 26. Performances take place at the Curious Theatre Branch, 7001 N. Glenwood; No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood; and the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Admission is $12 or "pay what you can"; for information and reservations, call 773-274-6660.

Following is the schedule for August 29 through September 4; a complete schedule is available online at www.chicagoreader. com.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29

My Name Is Mudd

Illinois being the Land of Lincoln, this Curious Theatre Branch production opens the Rhino Fest with a bang. Written and directed by Shawn Prakash Reddy, this "political comedy" reenacts Shakespearean actor John Wilkes Booth's assassination of Honest Abe. Curious Theatre Branch, 7 PM.

Jazzterpiece

Barrie Cole, whose writing is known for its experimental approach to language, penned this "play about jazz, loss, yoga, and the delusions of creativity." Joe Huppert directs. No Exit Cafe, 7:30 PM.

The Wolf Hunt

Matt Wilson's drama, directed by Daniel Taube, concerns an adopted man's attempt to track down his birth family. Curious Theatre Branch, 9 PM.

Big Buildings

The band Big Buildings blends rock, country, and "pub trash." No Exit Cafe, 9:30 PM.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 30

My Name Is Mudd

See listing for 7 PM Friday, August 29. Curious Theatre Branch, 7 PM.

Vato Maldito

This Prop Thtr production about a Latino safecracker is adapted from the memoirs of Johnny "Bubbles" Gallegos by Gallegos's nephews Raoul and Scott Vehill (Scott Vehill codirects with Stefan Brun). No Exit Cafe, 7:30 PM.

With Love in Your Arms and a Knife in Your Heart

Joe Meno's noirish drama finds an American boxer exploring Mexico's underworld. It's presented by the O Theater. Curious Theatre Branch, 9 PM.

The Pedestrians

This band "refuses to be pigeonholed," according to a press release. No Exit Cafe, 9:30 PM.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 31

Caravan

The Still Point Theater Collective performs Arab-American poet Myleesha Sargis Meraee's playwriting debut--the story of six Palestinian women who immigrate to Chicago. Jenny Magnus directs. Curious Theatre Branch, 3 PM.

With Love in Your Arms and a Knife in Your Heart

See listing for 9 PM Saturday, August 30. Curious Theatre Branch, 7 PM.

Love Gandhi, Red Circle Prayers, and Trap Door Dream Dogs

The first of these three one-acts is Heidi Broadhead's portrait of a longtime activist and her lover, a recent convert to the left, as they attend a peace rally. The second, written and performed by Robin Cline and Eiren Caffall, is described as "a collaborative investigation of landscape, friendship, vacation, and disaster." The program's closer is a collaboration between writer Teresa Weed and actor Kat McJimsey. No Exit Cafe, 7:30 PM.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Dorchen & Isaacson's Medicine Show

Theater Oobleck's David Isaacson and Jeff Dorchen present a comic, participatory program of "improvised theatrical healing." Curious Theatre Branch, 7 PM.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

Dorchen & Isaacson's Medicine

Show See listing for Monday, September 1. Curious Theatre Branch, 7 PM.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

The Casual Family

This program features four short plays with music: Airland, by Adam Vine; Aviary, by Nora Jean Lange; and Tuning In to the Power of Active Listening and Understanding Shyness, by Brian Torrey Scott. Curious Theatre Branch, 7 PM.

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