What is Neo-Futurism?
Neo-Futurism follows these four basic principles:
1) You are who you are.
2) You are where you are.
3) You are doing what you are doing.
4) The time is now.
The New York Neo-Futurists are…
2016 Recipients of the NYIT Outstanding Musical for STEVE: A DOCUMUSICAL
2015 NYIT Nominees
2014 Drama Desk Nominees
2013 NYIT Nominees
2012 Drama Desk Nominees
2011 Recipients of the NYIT Outstanding Performance Art Award
2010 Recipients of the NYIT Caffe Cino Award
2009 NYTheatre People of the Year!
2009 Winners of the Village Voice Readers’ Choice for Performance Art!
2006 Recipients of the NYIT Outstanding Performance Art Production Award for TOO MUCH LIGHT MAKES THE BABY GO BLIND.
The ensemble with our NYIT Award in 2006!
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind opened at Stage Left Theater in Chicago on December 2, 1988. Conceived and directed by Greg Allen, the show was written and performed by an eight-person ensemble and billed as “an ever-changing attempt to perform 30 Plays in 60 Minutes.” The show promised an emotional and intellectual roller-coaster of ideas and images ridden at break-neck speed by a participating audience. Greg Allen and the ensemble created the formula for Too Much Light… from an amalgam of different influences. In typical post-modern fashion, a theory was borrowed from here, a form was stolen from there. From our namesakes, the Italian Futurists came the exultation of speed, brevity, compression, dynamism, and the explosion of preconceived notions. From Dada and Surrealism came the joy of randomness and the thrill of the unconscious. From the theatrical experiments of the 1960’s came audience interaction, breaking down all notions of distance, character, setting, and illusion. Finally, from the political turmoil of the 1980’s came a socially conscious voice and a low-tech, “poor theater” format. This Neo-Futurist aesthetic, embraced by an ensemble of highly dedicated, talented writer/performers, became Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind.
The original ‘New York 5’ Neo-Futurists in Manhattan in the 90’s
In the spring of 1995, three one-time Chicago Neo-Futurists and two brand new recruits ventured to Manhattan to perform T.M.L.M.T.B.G.B. They opened first at the emerging H.E.R.E Theater and then moved to the raw energy of Ludlow Street’s Todo con Nada. A sixth member was added to the New York company, and Greg Kotis premiered his play, Jobey and Katherine. This New York run of Too Much Light lasted just over two years until the supplies ran low and the ensemble was scattered to the winds (the ‘winds’ being various remarkable projects including Urinetown: The Musical, raising families, and many other amazing things too numerous to mention here).
The original New York Neo-Futurist ensemble in Brooklyn.
In 2004, the Neo-Futurists broadened their horizons yet again from the Second City to the City That Never Sleeps (or at least, to its neighboring borough). On April 8, 2004, an almost entirely new cast of ten ripped into the first performance of Too Much Light at the Brooklyn Lyceum in Park Slope. After an initial six-month run in Brooklyn, we moved back to Manhattan to the Belt Theater then back to H.E.R.E., followed by the Cherry Lane, and since 2005 we have based out of the East Village in the historic Kraine Theater.
We have toured all around the country, most notably to the Alden Theater, Foothills Performing Arts Center, NACL, Austin College, Grinnell College, Sarah Lawrence, Fordham, Ripon College, Lafayette College, University of Texas, Hamilton College, University of Delaware, Hofstra, NYU, Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, Artists of Tomorrow Festival, the Providence Improv Festival, Edinburgh Festival, and Ladyfest. We have appeared on the Joey Reynolds Show, 44 Charlton, Indie Theater Now, and the Derek and Romaine Show. We also have been featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, Pinque Magazine, and Comedy Magazine, to name a few.
In 2017, the New York Neo-Futurists, in conjunction with the companies in Chicago and San Francisco began delving into a new weekly Neo-Futurist show. With 43 years of collective history performing Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, the ensembles are now collaborating on the next chapter of our late night productions, experimenting in Neo-Futurism under the working titles, The Neo Show (NY), These 30 Plays (Chicago), and Playtest (SF).
In New York, Chicago, San Francisco and beyond, the Neo-Futurists continue to expose and explore new artistic territory, all consistent with the original mission to create interactive, highly personal, emotionally and intellectually challenging art for the general public.
Portions of this text have been used with permission from The Neo-Futurists
New York Neo-Futurist Ensemble through the years
We are a collective of wildly productive writer/director/performers who create:
~ Theater that is fusion of sport, poetry, and living-newspaper.
~ Non-illusory, interactive performance that conveys our experiences and ideas as directly and honestly as possible.
~ Immediate, unreproducable events at heads-slappingly affordable prices.
~ We embrace those unreached or unmoved by conventional theater-inspiring them to thought, feeling, and action.
As a group, we are dedicated to:
~ Strengthening the human bond between performer and audience. We feel that the more sincere and genuine we can be on stage, the greater the audiences identification with the unadorned people and issues before them.
~ Embracing a form of non-illusory theater in order to present our lives and ideas as directly as possible. All of our plays are set on the stage in front of the audience. All of our characters are ourselves. All of our stories really happened. All of our tasks are actual challenges. We do not aim to “suspend the audience’s disbelief,” but to create a world where the stage is a continuation of daily life.
~Embracing the moment through audience interaction and planned obsolescence. In order to keep ourselves as alive on stage as possible, we interweave elements of chance and change — contradicting the expected and eliminating the permanent.
~Presenting inexpensive art for the general public. We aim to influence the widest audience possible by keeping our ticket prices affordable and our productions intellectually and emotionally challenging yet accessible.
For press photos click here.