This annual showcase of experimental theater, performance, and music from Chicago's fringe, coproduced by Curious Theatre Branch and Prop Thtr, runs through 11/4. This year features two full-length trilogies, "The Madelyn Trilogy" by Beau O'Reilly and the "Danger Face Trilogy" by Idris Goodwin. Admission is $15 or "pay what you can," except where noted. Performances take place at the Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston, and the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, and elsewhere as noted below. An installation by Jamie Rey, Reconciliation, will be up in the Prop's lobby for the course of the festival, along with a display of memorabilia of early off-Loop theater curated by Rick Paul. For information and reservations, call 773-539-7838 or visit rhinofest.com.
The Big Palaver The festival concludes with an evening of new work by Mickle Maher, Jimmy Carrane, Bryn Magnus, Audrey Niffenegger, Jeff Dorchen, and others. Beau O'Reilly and Jenny Magnus host. a Sun 11/4, 3 PM, School of the Art Institute, ballroom, 112 S. Michigan, $20.
Black Box--A Play Crash The Billy Goat Experiment Theatre perform their play within a play in the tradition of the Marx Brothers. a Through 10/25: Thu 7 PM, no show 10/11, Athenaeum Theatre.
Danger Face Idris Goodwin's "Danger Face Trilogy" kicks off with this tale of two outlaws storming into a coffeehouse. a Thu 10/11, 9 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater, $15, $20 for the full trilogy.
Danger Face 2: The Slow Burn The outlaws take refuge in an art gallery in this second part of the "Danger Face Trilogy." a Fri 10/12, 9 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater, $15, $20 for the full trilogy.
Danger Face 3 Idris Goodwin's trilogy concludes with this third installment. a Thu 10/11 and Sat 10/13, 9 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater, $15, $20 for the full trilogy.
XV-XVI Century Northern Drawings From the Robert Lehman Collection 1978 BoyGirlBoyGirl present a quartet of solo pieces inspired by an exhibition catalog of Renaissance drawings. a Through 10/13: Fri-Sat 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Flat Danny At her best, Barrie Cole can deliver both charming word-drunk poetic language and heartfelt revelations about life and mortality. But this two-act, about a couple of friends and an estranged mother mourning a fallen U.S. soldier in Iraq, does neither very well. Her characters are interesting, however, at least as they're interpreted by these performers. (JHe) a Sat 10/13, 7 PM, Sun 10/14, 3 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
Girl Go Boom! Two short plays: Ferine, Carey Friedman's update of Lysistrata, and Joe Meno's Don the Army Blue, about a couple of army brats looking for "something resembling love." a Through 10/13: Thu 7 PM, Fri-Sat 9 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
The Great Cicada Letdown and Other Natural Disruptions That coyote in Quizno's and other collisions between nature and the city are explored in this series of monologues and songs from the Magpies. a Fri-Sat 10/19-10/20, 9:30 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Hitting the Bricks "The Madelyn Trilogy" concludes. The final play veers toward absurdism. I spent three hours wondering which way was up. (JHa) a Sun 10/21 and 10/28, 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre. $15, $20 for the full trilogy.
(H)ourglass Julie Caffey and Leslie Swieck's performance piece tells the story of a love affair between a theater manager and a church secretary. a Fri-Sat 10/19-10/20, 5:30 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Lady Sings Jenny Magnus and Stephanie Rearick present a musical program. a Fri-Sat 10/26-10/27, 9:30 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Madelyn Dangles the Noose The first part of Beau O'Reilly's "The Madelyn Trilogy" introduces the McGuffin siblings at the funeral of Madelyn Glass, who was married to two of the brothers before committing suicide. O'Reilly has a unique feeling for the weird yet lyrical. The first two acts complement each other, but the third seems largely unnecessary. (JHa) a Fri 10/19 and 10/26, 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre. $15; $20 for the full trilogy.
RThe McGuffins Run the 440 "The Madelyn Trilogy" continues the tale of the McGuffin siblings. This spare, efficient play is nearly perfect. I can't recall a more satisfying two and a half hours I've spent in the theater. (JHa) a Sat 10/20 and 10/27, 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre. $15, $20 for the full trilogy.
Mixtape Collision Theatre Company perform their "visual and aural theatrical expression" about the perfect track list. a Through 10/25: Wed-Thu 9 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
My Pants Are Fire A program of "hyper-vignettes" from the Sansculottes Theater Company. a Sun 10/14, 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Pretty Good Artist Five contestants strive to create something out of nothing in this "reality performance event." Applicants should e-mail a short paragraph saying why they should be chosen to email@example.com. a Sun 10/14, 10 AM, Prop Thtr, north theater.
Promises to Keep: The Poems of Robert F. Kennedy This fictional account of RFK's "life, loves, crimes, and children" is written and directed by Chris Bower for Halfway House Theater Society. a Fri 10/12, 7 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
Railroad Backward Kestutis Nakas's play is about a Chicago man's bizarre trek through frontier Illinois. Nakas creates a playful but puzzling journey that often wanders too far from a discernible path. Yet his handful of well-placed references to Vietnam and Iraq do create a sense of the United States' robust history of ruthless profiteering. (JHa) a Sat 10/13, 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Torvald and I and The Best of 365 Days: 3,000,000,000 Plays Torvald and I, Mark Chrisler's take on Ibsen's A Doll's House, is "the best comedic post-feminist construction that 19th century realism can offer." Also on the bill, Tim Racine seeks to better Suzan-Lori Parks's "365 Days/365 Plays" project by about 10 million times. a Through 10/11: Thu 7 PM, Prop Thtr, south theater.
Trash The politics of waste management is the subject of Matt Rieger's play, presented by Illegal Drama. a Through 10/24: Wed 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Untitled Work in Progress Vicki Walden plans to use video clips and live actors in her piece. a 10/20-10/28: Sat-Sun 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.
Wake Up, Apocalypse (Awake!) Greasy Joan & Co. touts its play as the "professional premiere" of one alluded to in Chekhov's The Seagull, written by sweet, troubled young Konstantin Treplev. But it's more of a tribute in which three actresses lament his passing, explore Chekhovian issues, dance, and recite passages from The Seagull along with a recipe. This montage generates some charm but is finally less interesting than the concept promises. (TA) a Through 10/14: Sun 7 PM, Athenaeum Theatre.