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The Rhinoceros Theater Festival

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This is the closing weekend of the sixth annual Rhino Fest, a showcase of experimental theater and performance that started as a component of the Bucktown Arts Fest but has since taken on a life of its own. The event's name is inspired by surrealist painter Salvador Dali's use of the term "rhinocerontic" (it means real big); the three-week agenda includes work by the Neo-Futurists, the Curious Theatre Branch, Theater Oobleck, Frank Melcori, Warren Leming, and other local fringe familiars.

The Rhino roams from Wicker Park to Lakeview and Andersonville this year. Running through September 2, the event features performances at the Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln; the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland; the Splinter Group Studio, 1937 W. Division; and the Near Northwest Arts Council's Flat Iron Gallery, 1579 N. Milwaukee. Tickets are $7 per program or $10 for any two programs. To make reservations call the RSVP line at 665-4435; for more information call the festival office at 327-6666.

The Reader lists festival offerings on a week-by-week basis; following is the schedule for August 31 through September 2.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 31

The Life and Times of Jewboy Cain, a Musical Novel for the Stage

Jeffrey Dorchen's one-man show, presented under the auspices of Theater for the Age of Gold, concerns a folksinger who draws on his roots in southern rural culture and Orthodox Judaism. "Dorchen's wicked monologue . . . is one bizarre ride--a fanciful, dark, perversely funny, strangely perspicuous, at times tasteless, vividly entertaining, beautifully paced tequila-influenced journey. . . . This is a great show despite its structural or philosophical difficulties," says Reader critic Carmela Rago. Neo-Futurarium, 8 PM.

The Road to Jaipur

Frank Melcori's new collection of monologues accompanied by trumpet offers a seriocomic "history of desire." Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

Two More Not So Solo Performances

Meredith Neuman offers two pieces, Neogeocentrism and Absolutely Nothing To Do With Pushkin. Splinter Group Studio, 8 PM.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Summer Shorts: "Still Life"

The Neo-Futurists' evening of four plays, all directed by Greg Allen, includes Milk, Chicagoan Richard House's portrait of a woman whose inner world is invaded by AIDS; Until the Day Breaks and the Shadows Flee Away, a musical/theatrical collage adapted by Allen from texts found in local cemeteries; and two Harold Pinter pieces, Victoria Station (about tension between a taxi dispatcher and a driver) and Family Voices, a cryptic, epistolary piece about a young man on his first foray away from his parents' home and the mother he's left behind. Reader critic Justin Hayford says that Victoria Station is "perhaps the most successful play of Summer Shorts" because actors Greg Allen and Phil Ridarelli "perform Pinter's deceptively simple text with the grace of verbal acrobats," but the rest of the program "begins to devolve into confusion." Neo-Futurarium, 8 PM.

The Road to Jaipur

See listing for Thursday, August 31. Splinter Group Studio, 8 PM.

Big-Tooth High-Tech Megatron vs. the Sockpuppet of Procrastination

Theater Oobleck presents actor-writer Danny Thompson's new piece, a comic meditation on high and low tech in the theater that employs deliberately cheesy puppetry and sophisticated interactive video. Reader critic Justin Hayford says that Thompson's "ingeniously conceived paranoid delusion [is] a stunning piece of electronic wizardry. . . . Because the story Thompson tells is absurdly unpredictable, and because every ten minutes the style of the piece seems to change, the evening feels spontaneous and playful." Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

The Seven Industrial Sins

Warren Leming conceived and directed this piece about bars at night; it's performed by dancers from the London School of Contemporary Dance under the auspices of the Cold Chicago Dance Theatre. Near Northwest Arts Council's Flat Iron Gallery, 8:30 PM.

Krapp's Last Tape

and Footfalls

The Splinter Group pairs two works by Samuel Beckett, seen this spring in the company's "Buckets o' Beckett" festival. "Matt O'Brien paints [Krapp] with a look so haunted and quizzical it's hard to exorcise, [but] other elements in [the] production are less persuasive," said Reader critic Lawrence Bommer in his original review of Krapp's Last Tape. Splinter Group Studio, 10:30 PM.

Rennie Sparks, Katherine Boyd, Anna Brown, and Julie Laffin

The four performance artists pool their talents for an evening of solo works. Sparks's Pretty concerns a woman who "has her head blown off after a lovely day of shopping"; Boyd's interdisciplinary solo Lucky Me: The Heroic Tale of Ms. Katherine Gusler Conrad--From Human to Deer portrays a woman undergoing a species change; Brown's Sylvester "highlights the coincidences of fate and pokes holes in the notion of being in the right place at the right time"; and Laffin's Path of Most Resistance is "an outdoor, durational event" that hovers "between the incidental and the spectacular." Lunar Cabaret, 10 PM.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

The Evil Flower

Redmoon Theater presents a puppet play that uses no spoken words; playwrights Jim Lasko and Blair Thomas aim to cross Punch and Judy with Baudelaire. Lunar Cabaret, 2 PM.

Big-Tooth High-Tech Megatron vs. the Sockpuppet of Procrastination

See listing for Friday, September 1. Splinter Group Studio, 8 PM.

The Life and Times of Jewboy Cain, a Musical Novel for the Stage

See listing for Thursday, August 31. Neo-Futurarium, 8 PM.

The Third Degrees of J.O. Breeze

Beau O'Reilly's new play inquires into "the ethics and future of Horace and Doris." Lunar Cabaret, 8 PM.

The Seven Industrial Sins

See listing for Friday, September 1. Near Northwest Arts Council's Flat Iron Gallery, 8:30 PM.

Krapp's Last Tape

and Footfalls

See listing for Friday, September 1. Splinter Group Studio, 10:30 PM.

Rennie Sparks, Katherine Boyd, Anna Brown, and Julie Laffin

See listing for Friday, September 1. Lunar Cabaret, 10:30 PM.

Closing Night Party

The wrap celebration features "garage jazz redneck da-da" by the Betsy Years. Lunar Cabaret, midnight. Free to festival-goers.

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

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