ANALOG, 'TOO MUCH LIGHT' and More Headline The Neo-Futurists' 2012-2013 Season
The Neo-Futurists announce their 24th season to include 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, part of a nation-wide festival curated by Andy Bayiates, Analog by Kurt Chiang, and The Miss Neo-Futurist Pageant by Megan Mercier. Also on the books is another great year of the smash hit, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind.
Prime-Time shows run Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. (please note new starting times for the 2012-2013 season) at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland (at Foster) in Andersonville. Tickets are $20, $10 for students/seniors with ID, or pay-what-you-can on all Thursdays. For tickets or information, visit www.neofuturists.org or call The Neo-Futurist Hotline at 773-275-5255.
44 Plays for 44 Presidents, Neo-Futurist Original, Curated by Andy Bayiates
Previews: October 4 & 5, 2012
Opening Night: Saturday, October 6, 2012
Performances continue through Saturday, November 10, 2012
44 Plays for 44 Presidents is a chronological, biographical survey of the lives and presidencies of each of the 44 men who have held the office so far. The 2012 production is a remount of one of the biggest prime-time blockbusters in Neo history, 43 Plays for 43 Presidents, originally produced in 2001. This year's incarnation comes with a shiny new cast under the direction of Halena Kays, Artistic Director of The Hypocrites. In 44 Plays... mistakes and successes of our presidents are celebrated by a company of actors who take turns donning a star-spangled coat that symbolizes the presidency. Beginning with George Washington's almost Eden-like perfection, the scenes shift frequently between the comic and the tragic, from Ben Franklin giving Thomas Jefferson a Borscht Belt-style roast, to a polarized America in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama plays. 44 Plays for 44 Presidents not only gives a second chance to audiences who missed the first production, but it gives existing fans an opportunity to experience the show in a new way after the original traveled around the country and is now a part of the Plays for Presidents Festival 2012.
The Plays for Presidents Festival 2012 is a national collaboration of theatre and educational artists interested in elevating political discourse and highlighting the impact of history through the production of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents. No fewer than 44 theatres, colleges, and high schools are producing the play in conjunction with the 2012 Presidential Election. Each participating group selects a different presidential play to perform on video, with the Chicago Neo-Futurists taping the piece on President Barack Obama. The festival culminates in simultaneous election night events and an online composite video production of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents made up of contributions from all 44 Productions. More information, including a list of presidents that are currently unclaimed, can be found at www.playsforpresidents.com.
Analog, World Premiere, Created by Kurt Chiang
Previews: February 28, March 1 & 2, 2013
Opening Night: Monday, March 4, 2013
Performances continue through Saturday, April 6, 2013
With an ensemble of writer/performers, Neo-Futurist Kurt Chiang explores routine, ritual, and the concept of “FATE.” In this mentally dexterous piece, Chiang relives his self-prescribed task of transcribing by hand the entire 1954 novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding. The transcription was done in pen over the course of three years for no discernible purpose other than the fact that he could. Through Analog, Chiang extracts meaning from this task by creating a distinctive and visceral performance event. In thrusting the audience into Chiang’s brain both figuratively and physically, their identity and perspective as audience members is redefined as they relate their own everyday tasks into tangible items of fate. Analog is a theatrical collage of writing and performance, music and noise, and personal expression where Chiang and the ensemble commit to the Neo-tenets of immediacy and new work, revealing those parts of our daily lives that are actual, elusive, and weird. Featuring the work of Neo-Futurists Jessica Anne, Trevor Dawkins, Tim Reid, as well as Neo-friends Lizi Breit and Hank Vogler.
Kurt Chiang started working with The Neo-Futurists in 2007 when he participated in a slew of prime-time shows, including The Fool (Returns to his Chair), Contraption, and Picked-Up. Chiang joined the Neo-Futurist ensemble in 2008, and has since written over 100 short plays in Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, incorporating his mixed curiosities for writing, music, sound, physical-performance, visual art, and even live theater. He also originated the un-apologetically heavy-handed role of “Bud Miller” in the Neo-Futurist’s BEER! The Musical. He has created other ethereal work for Drinking & Writing Theater, Paper Machete, the Chicago One-Minute Play Festival, Barrel of Monkeys (where he is a company member), and his visual art collaborative DEAD SQUIRREL. Analog is his first endeavor as a Neo-Futurist prime-time show creator.
The Miss Neo-Futurist Pageant, World Premiere, Created by Megan Mercier
Previews: May 16, 17 & 18, 2013
Opening Night: Monday, May 20, 2013
Performances continue through Saturday, June 22, 2013
Through personal narrative, games, and competitive sport as devised by an ensemble of Neo-Futurist women, this spin on American beauty pageant forms explores the challenges of gender and societal identity as girls decide to become women. One part masquerade, two parts sixth-grade sleepover, and three parts walk-of-shame, four parts late blooming, and five parts trashing a best friend's yard with toilet paper at 2am, this unlikely group of uniquely equipped girl-women must negotiate internal rivalry, perceived expectations and, a need to be loved and supported by their audience.
Megan Mercier is a Chicago-based writer, performer and actor. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Megan joined the The Neo-Futurists ensemble in 2008, with whom she performs regularly in Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. Other Neo-Futurist credits include Picked Up, Crisis: A Musical Game Show, Burning Bluebeard and a smattering of Film Fest shows. Her work has been featured around town in a variety of events including Write Club, The Paper Machete, 2nd Story and The Encyclopedia Show. She has trained at iO Chicago and The Second City in comedy and improvisation. She is currently co-writing a short feature to be produced by Hesperidian Productions in the summer of 2012.
Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes
Every weekend except December 21-23 & December 28-30, 2012
Special 24th anniversary performances: December 7-9 & December 14-16, 2012
Special New Year’s Eve performance: December 31
Fridays and Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. (doors open 11:00 p.m.)
Sundays at 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Tickets: $9 plus the roll of one six-sided die, or $10-15. Reservations accepted on Sundays via www.neofuturists.org
The Neo-Futurists’ signature show, performed since 1988, is the longest-running production in Chicago history. Too Much Light... is an ever-changing attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. Each week the ensemble adds between two and twelve new plays to the menu. Every performance creates an unreproduceable, living-newspaper collage of the comic and tragic, the political and personal, the visceral and experimental.
The Neo-Futurists, performers of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind and creators of over 60 other original, full-length productions, are a collective of wildly productive writer/director/performers who create immediate, non-illusory, interactive and head-slappingly affordable performances.
The Neo-Futurists are partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, Alphawood Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and a CityArts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.