Metroblogging Chicago has been holding out on us. Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind came to Wooly Mammoth by way of the Chicago troupe The Neo-Futurists. Over at Chicago Metblogs there’s at least three different articles that Fuzzy has written about them and their projects.
I managed to get in to see their signature piece at Wooly at the last minute and was glad I did. Presenting thirty plays in sixty minutes, TMLMTBGB is a collection of shorts that are written by the people that are performing them. In this case it was Bilal Dardai, Dean Evans, Sharon Greene, Kristie Koehler, and Jay Torrence. When I got to speak to Sharon after the show I found out exactly what this means to the content of the show.
The neo-futurists are up-front about the way the show is conducted – a clothesline which has the numbers one through thirty hangs across the stage, just out of easy reach – and what hangs on that clothesline changes from show to show, as one or more shows come out of the rotation and are replaced by others. It’s performed by the person who wrote it and may include some or all of the rest of the ensemble.
What’s not obvious from the introduction or the handout is the fact that the neo-futurists are comprised of more than these five performers. Notably more, in fact, as when I asked Sharon about traveling shows or for-hires she said they had enough people to run one or two traveling shows and keep the weekly performances in Chicago running, all at once. Which means that not only does any show you wander into get changed between runs, it gets changed based on the potentially changing cast as well.
The really criminal thing here in this writeup is that I’ve made it to paragraph five before telling you that it was 100% awesome. Every performer was bursting with energy and clearly having a great time, something that made every single play fun even if I didn’t care for it. Not that there were many I didn’t find delightful, though some pieces like 26,558 were moving and powerful and completely delight-free. I’m going to be in Chicago next month, and #1 on my list of things to do is going to be to catch at least one show so I can share this fun with my darling girlfriend.
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs