The Neo-Futurists Set 2015-16 Season
The Neo-Futurists announce their 2015-16 season alongside a slate of new artistic initiatives which explore devised theater and new works. The season includes two prime time productions: POP WAITS created by Malic White and Molly Brennan, and Mike Mother created and written by Jessica Anne. In addition, the company launches a series of year-round developmental presentations including a quarterly experimental performance workshop The Arrow created by Kurt Chiang and Lily Mooney as well as a new works residency Neo-Lab with an inaugural workshop of Saturn Returns created by Tif Harrison. The Neo-Futurists document this year of devised work exploration through Go! A Podcast about Creativity and continue another great year of the smash hit Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. All season events are held at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland (at Foster) in Andersonville.
Ensemble launches new initiatives exploring devised theater and new works
Home to a prolific ensemble, a fast-paced creation cycle and accounting for the theater's more than 9,100 original works, The Neo-Futurists approach the upcoming season with renewed commitment to creating original work while fostering process-oriented, ensemble-driven theater.
Neo-Lab is an original works residency that annually commissions one new play anchored by innovative approaches to creation. Offering public presentations and opportunities for audience interaction throughout the season, Neo-Lab supports artist retreats and stipends, public readings and presentations, and a full production the following season. During the 2015-16 season, Neo-Lab's inaugural workshop is Ensemble Member Tif Harrison's Saturn Returns.
Co-Artistic Director Bilal Dardai states, "Within the context of The Neo-Futurists' long history of original work, Neo-Lab represents both an embrace of our most cherished artistic principles as well as an experimental departure from our practiced processes. The proposal alone for Saturn Returns gave our Ensemble a moment to pause and reflect on our creative values when it comes to devised, original work. As such, we hope to include the development of this project as a centerpiece for a more comprehensive discussion of process-based work within not only our theater, but other theaters as well."
Created by Tif Harrison
Written by Kurt Chiang, Tif Harrison, Lily Mooney, Kirsten Riiber, and Andrew Tham
Directed by Elisabeth Barnick
Workshop presentations and open houses for Neo-Lab's Saturn Returns are Thursday, October 15, 2015 and Monday, February 29, 2016 at 7:30pm.
Saturn Returns is a two-year Neo-Futuristic exploration that asks larger existential questions about time, patience, and the vast expanse of an unknowable universe. Not content simply with looking inward, Tif Harrison and ensemble look upward and outward, offering observations on the silence and solitude of space, on the uncrossable distances between celestial bodies and the intimacy of standing next to somebody you love. Saturn Returns examines both the astronomical and astrological implications of Saturn's solar orbit- a 29-year journey- as well as its moons and the Cassini Solstice Mission, to observe various dramatic changes that have manifested in the lives of the individuals on stage. Over the next two years, Harrison and the group build the show while inviting audiences into the process through intimate events, collected interviews, and open dialogues with the creator and artists involved.
Tif Harrison has been an Ensemble Member of The Neo-Futurists since 2011. In addition to writing and performing regularly in Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, Tif was a writer and performed in The Miss Neo Pageant, directed Analog, and served as an editor for the company's most recent book, The Neo-Futurists: Body. She has performed at live lit events like The Paper Machete and Drinking & Writing's Annual Beerfly Alleyfight. When not on stage, Tif runs a micro-press called Sunday Home Press publishing zines and mini-comics.
Created by Kurt Chiang and Lily Mooney
Quarterly performances of The Arrow begin Fall 2015.
Furthering the ensemble's exploration of collective creation and dramatic structure, Co-Artistic Director Kurt Chiang and Ensemble Member Lily Mooney launch The Arrow, a quarterly experimental performance workshop which invites multidisciplinary artists to explore writing in unexpected frameworks. The experiment includes four different ensembles throughout the year with a goal to challenge the company's approach to structure.
The Arrow is a new Neo-Futurist experiment: a recurring show that subjects written stories to spontaneous interventions. An ensemble of writer-performers question, interrupt, rebut and add to each other's work, pushing beyond their first creation in search of something new, more honest and more live. Dialogue emerges and relationships evolve as the artists challenge and steal from each other. By shifting expectations of dramatic performance, The Arrow develops plays of varying lengths and genres, with an emphasis on inventive and durable writing.
Co-Artistic Director Kurt Chiang states, "It is my firm belief that The Neo-Futurists are historically the forerunners of a particular kind of art that's indicative of what Chicago theater-goers crave: spontaneous, relevant, new and surprising work. The Arrow is our latest platform for serving up this brand of performance to our audiences, as well as opening doors to future collaborators. I'm especially eager for The Arrow to highlight our company's emphasis on writing-for-performance. Language and storytelling is a huge part of The Neo-Futurist identity and The Arrow will show that."
Kurt Chiang is Co-Artistic Director and an Ensemble Member with The Neo-Futurists. Since 2008 he has written over 200 plays within the show Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. Other credits at The Neo-Futurists include: Analog (creator/writer), Haymaker (director), BEER! The Musical (performer), Burning Bluebeard (choreographer), The Fool (Returns To His Chair) (writer/performer). He writes, performs, and teaches in Chicago.
Lily Mooney has been an Ensemble member of The Neo-Futurists and performed regularly in Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind since January of 2013. Her work has been developed and produced in Chicago, Boston, and New York.
GO! A Podcast about Creativity
Go! is a podcast that follows The Neo-Futurists through the next season's process of creating two-minute plays, new performance structures, and full-length shows. Go! examines the lives of the people who make this work. Each episode will explore a different facet of being a Neo-Futurist, such as seeking inspiration, confronting failure, and financial survival. Go! documents The Neo-Futurists' ongoing conversation about how creativity works and what it can do, in the hope of fueling more conversation and sparking the artistic impulse in listeners.
With Go!, The Neo-Futurists spark the creative impulse in any listener, offering episodes as tools to fuel a lively creative practice in your life or community. Believing that creative expression can be a force for personal and social change, the company explores many facets of maintaining a creative life, returning often to the question: "What can creativity do?"
Go! co-creator, Leah Urzendowski states, "I wanted to work on our podcast, because it is media that is far-reaching, and easily experimented with. I love that a podcast is just voice or sound. We are a culture that has become so focused on the visual world, that eliminating that element and simply hearing a collective of artists talk frankly about art and theatre-making and being an artist, is really exciting to me. The possibility of reaching more than just 150 seats a night is incredible."
The podcast is available on The Neo-Futurists' website www.neofuturist.org and on iTunes for download starting Fall 2015.
PRIME TIME SEASON
The company continues its commitment to producing original works in its Prime Time Season. Tickets are $20, $10 for students/seniors with ID, or pay-what-you-can on Thursdays. For tickets or information, visit www.neofuturists.org or call The Neo-Futurist Box Office at 773-275-5255.
Created by Malic White and Molly Brennan
Previews: Thursday through Saturday, February 4-6, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Opening: Monday, February 8, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Run: Thursdays through Saturdays, February 11 through March 12, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
POP WAITS is an athletic, participatory, clown rock opera provocation to write the perfect song. With the help of a live band and the audience, performers Malic White and Molly Brennan call on the powers Iggy Pop and Tom Waits through personal narratives, movement pieces, and performances of the rock heroes' most influential songs.
Malic White has been an Ensemble Member of The Neo-Futurists since October 2012, where Malic has assistant directed The Miss Neo Pageant and continues to perform and write in Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. Malic's performance work has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, Davenport's Piano Bar, Logan Square Auditorium, Tour de Fat, and Chances Dances. Malic sings in the Madam Barker Band and can be seen as St. Jimmy in The Hypocrites' production of American Idiot.
Molly Brennan is an actor, singer and clown, playing the Red Queen in Lookingglass Theatre's Lookingglass Alice, an Accessible Lesbian in The Second City's American Mixtape and as Madam Barker in Red Tape' Theatre's The Life and Death of Madam Barker. Other credits include The Second City's Guide to the Opera at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Peter Pan: A Play at Lookingglass Theatre, Animal Crackers at Goodman Theatre, Theatrical Essays at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and 500 Clown Macbeth and 500 Clown Frankenstein in multiple venues in Chicago and the United States. On the variety/cabaret/storytelling front, Molly has appeared at the Chicago Humanities Festival, MCA Chicago, Salonathon, Davenport's, Followspot, The Paper Machete, and You're Being Ridiculous. Molly served as Artistic Director of Barrel of Monkeys for three years. Molly was named Chicago's "Queen of Mischief and Make Believe" by American Theatre Magazine, February 2015. She's also got a couple Jeff prizes for being an acting winner.
Created and written by Jessica Anne
Featuring Jessica Anne and Mike Hamilton
Previews: Thursday through Saturday, April 28-30, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Opening: Monday, May 2, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Run: Thursdays through Saturdays, May 5-June 4, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Let's say you have a friend, and that friend has a friend, and that friend of a friend does not have any pet allergies, and then let's then say that you have just read 'Night, Mother' by Marsha Norman for the two hundredth time and you are now inspired to write a two person show of your own. For yourself and Mike Hamilton. And a few adorable guinea pigs. And one spectacular flare gun. Seriously, let's say that. Call it Mike Mother.
Exploring the tension between fiction and non-fiction, Jessica Anne's Mike Mother weaves theatre, writing and film into the lies that cripple memories, the truth that haunts our tales, and all the gaps in between.
Jessica Anne became an Ensemble Member of The Neo-Futurists in 2006, working nationally in Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind for six years. Jessica Anne has co-written and performed in A Very Neo-Futurist Christmas Carol, Analog, and The Miss Neo Pageant. Most recently, Anne completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Roosevelt University and wrote her first book, A Manual for Nothing, a finalist for Civil Coping Mechanism's publishing competition.
Mike Hamilton is an actor/director/performer in Chicago. He has worked previously with The Building Stage, Griffin Theatre, Awkward Pause, Lights Out, Duplicity Ensemble, Redmoon, Alluvium Group and The Neo-Futurists. He is currently in production for Lunacy! with Jackalope Theatre Company. He can also be seen in the Chicago indie series The Dreamers.
Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes
Every weekend except December 18-20 and 25-27, 2015
Best of 2015 performances: December 4-6 and 11-13, 2015
Special New Year's Eve performance: December 31
Fridays and Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. (doors open at 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 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 inimitable, living-newspaper collage of the comic and tragic, the political and personal, the visceral and experimental.
ADVANCED SALES FOR TOO MUCH LIGHT MAKES THE BABY GO BLIND
The Neos go pro-choice with Roll-Back Refunds! You choose - buy your tickets in advance or take your chances at the door. Half of all tickets to every performance of Too Much Light... are available on a pre-sale basis for $20 with a Roll-Back Refund at the door. Pre-sale patrons can guarantee their seats for the performance while still getting the chance to roll the die receiving $1-6 cash back, effectively making their price between $14-19. Tickets available via neofuturists.org.