In surfing the Internet today, I came across this lovely video showcasing what is one of the more rewarding experimental theatre groups in the country, the New York chapter of the Neo-Futurists.
From time to time, TDF Stages will highlight exciting Off and Off-Off Broadway theatre companies with exclusive “getting to know you” videos. Today, we’re featuring New York Neo-Futurists, who create 30 plays a week and want you to join in the creative explosion. This video features interviews with nine (!) current Neo-Futurists.
The company’s signature show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes, runs almost every weekend of the year.
I have not seen the New York Neo-Futurists in person, but I have consumed numerous official and bootleg recordings of their shows online. I have, however, enjoyed several shows of the Neo-Futurists located in Chicago. In the continuing appeal and expansion of this theatrical vocabulary, a San Francisco chapter opened late last year. I cannot wait to start seeing some theatre from the compnay.
The theatrical aesthetic of Neo-Futurism is informed by the original Futurists, who describe their intentions in the violent language contained within the Futurists Synthetic Theatre written by f.t. marinetti, emilio settimelli, bruno corra. The Neo-Futurists, however, abstain from fascism.
A few quotes pulled from the manifesto:
Synthetic. That is, very brief. To compress into a few minutes, into a few words and gestures, innumerable situations, sensibilities, ideas, sensations, facts, and symbols. The writers who wanted to renew the theatre (Ibsen, Maeterlinck, Andreyev, Claudel, Shaw) never thought of arriving at a true synthesis, of freeing themselves from a technique that involves prolixity, meticulous analysis, drawn-out preparation.
1. It’s stupid to write one hundred pages where one would do, only because the audience through habit and infantile instinct wants to see character in a play result from a series of events, wants to fool itself into thinking that the character really exists in order to admire the beauties of Art, meanwhile refusing to acknowledge any art if the author limits himself to sketching out a few of the character’s traits.
3. It’s stupid to pander to the primitivism of the crowd, which, in the last analysis, wants to see the bad guy lose and the good guy win.
7. It’s stupid to allow one’s talent to be burdened with the weight of a technique that anyone (even imbeciles) can acquire by study, practice, and patience.
Greg Allen, who started the Chicago company in 1988, has some wonderful essays about the subject on his and the neofuturists.org web sites.
- Neo-Futurist Statement of Purpose
- About the Neos
- Neo-Futurism In A Nutshell
- 26 Rules for Creating Good Theater
If you are in Chicago, New York, or San Francisco, take a risk of rolling the dice and see a show. There’s always something for everyone on the menu.