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Rhinoceros Theater Festival

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This annual showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago's fringe, coproduced by Curious Theatre Branch and Prop Thtr, runs through 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. Admission is $15 or "pay what you can," except where noted. For information and reservations, call 773-539-7838 or visit rhinofest.com. Following is the schedule through 11/2; a complete schedule is available online at chicagoreader.com.

Danger Face: The Slow Burn Idris Goodwin offers the second part of his pulp serial--the first premiered last summer. Inspired by Beckett's Waiting for Godot, it follows two outlaw brothers into a fantastical art gallery. Joe Peracchio of New Mexico's Tricklock Theatre Company directs, and Michael Haeflinger provides live musical accompaniment. Presented on a double bill with The, End?! (see separate listing). a Tue 10/31, 7 PM.

The, End?! Halfway House Theatre Society premieres Chris Bower's adaptation of "The End" by Samuel Beckett, "performed atop a painted neon-eyed horse." Presented on a double bill with Danger Face: The Slow Burn (see separate listing). a Tue 10/31, 7 PM.

REndgame Samuel Beckett's existential masterpiece, about a blind man stuck in a room with his servant, is an exquisitely static portrait of mankind's last gasp. Director Jeffrey Bivens steers the cast away from the script's overt humor, and Beau O'Reilly and Guy Massey focus on its dark subtext to create 90 minutes of engaging bleakness. (JHa) a Through 10/29: Sat-Sun 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. a Through 10/31: Fri 9:30 PM, Tue 7 PM.

Macbeth NonSoFar, described as a "Rhino all-star ensemble," offers a Beckettian take on the Shakespearean tragedy. Directed by John Starrs.

a Through 10/29: Sat-Sun 3 PM.

My TV Movie of the Week Three short films that "explore the strange side of pop culture," presented by We're So Screwed Productions. a Through 10/27: Thu 9 PM, Fri 11 PM.

RNTHE MYTH OF LOVE | It's easy to see why Dave Kunz's dark comedy was extended beyond its world-premiere run at the Rhinoceros Theater Festival. This may not be the most polished production, but Kunz's take on marital discord is both hilariously exaggerated and balanced by another point of view. Two bickering neighbor couples are having drinks together when one woman announces she's hired a contract killer to off her husband. Contrasted with the adults' regrets and disappointments are scenes showing the couples' two kids on a date. Although director Shannon Evans stages some of the transitions awkwardly, and sometimes the adults' disillusionment is expressed absurdly--as in a silly chase scene--the teens' optimism helps ground the play: even while laughing, you can relate. --Jenn Goddu a Sat 10/28, 3 PM. Then in an extended run with Prop Thtr through 11/18, Wed 7 PM, Sat 3 PM.

Porno Zombies A Halloween-themed play, written by Matt Casarino and directed by Emily Lotspeich. a 10/30-10/31: Mon-Tue 9:30 PM.

Room Jenny Magnus premieres an original song cycle that takes place in a series of rooms inhabited by "lonely people, tired people, contented people, disgusted people." a Through 10/28: Sat 9:30 PM.

RTennessee Speaks in Tongues for You (or The 31/2-Character Play) New Orleans-based playwright R.J. Tsarov's fantasia on the work of Tennessee Williams--directed by filmmaker John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer)--offers a witty send-up of the tantrum-prone, alcohol- and drug-addled Williams of the late 70s and early 80s. Stealing a page from William S. Burroughs (another drug-using gay writer from Saint Louis), Tsarov wrings every paranoid interpretation he can out of the provocative premise that Williams is infected by a parasite with the power to control his thoughts, feelings, and speech--an alien presence that also serves as a metaphor for artistic creation. The two other characters in the piece are an abnormally close brother and sister (refugees from Williams's The Two-Character Play). This Gordian knot of a script makes for a rich postmodern evening of puzzles, and the actors perform with intensity and commitment. (JHe) a Through 10/28: Sat 9:30 PM.

Zest for Gloom The solo performance collective BoyGirlBoyGirl--represented here by David Kodeski, Edward Thomas-Herrera, Susan McLaughlin Karp, Rachel Claff, and Diana Slickman--use Beckett's work as the inspiration for a collection of new monologues about "memory, swimming pools, stage directions, and the end of the world." a Through 10/27: Fri 7 PM.

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

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