Sunday, February 04, 2007

NEO FUTURIST OVERLOAD: Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind and Apocalypse Neo

I say overload because it makes for a good title, but you can't get too much of a good thing. I'm glad that I'm no longer a TMLMTBGB virgin, and that my eyes are open wide to the aesthetic appeal of the "deny nothing" art form that is Neo-Futurism. Well, to be perfectly honest, you need to experience TMLMTBGB. Thirty plays in sixty minutes is a unique viewing experience on its own, but this is a talented ensemble, an energetic series of shows, and ultimately an entire season of Saturday Night Live on crack. There's political expressionism, avant-garde imagery, slapstick, straight-stick (it's hard to just call it drama, given the conceit), interpretive dance, movement pieces, narratives, monologues, spoofs... the list goes on, and while some of the themes may repeat, the visual performances of them continue to change. While this week's eclectic collection didn't demand as much from the audiences as I'd heard (rumors of buzz-cuts, beer-chugging, and make-out sessions abound), 11 of the 30 plays next week will be all new (determined, like the ticket price, by the roll of a die), so unlike other cult amusements like Rocky Horror, this is the gift that literally keeps giving. [Read on]

Apocalypse Neo, on the other hand, is a "prime-time production," which means that the works are less frantic and more paced. The advantage of TMLMTBGB is that when it misses, it only misses for a few minutes. With Apocalypse Neo's "In which the end of the world...," a "debate" between whether or not the Apocalypse will occur in our lifetime, we've got a winner. The action is clear-cut, comedic (yet poignant), and hey, there's popcorn too. The other two segments aren't quite as strong, depending on your tastes: "Revelations of a City of Us" is a pop-culture story about recreating society, made the more interesting by their appropriation of the audience's coats, shoes, and persons, and the use of lighting is intriguing. But the show itself is a little threadbare. "Monkeyland II (anatk 21.10)" is a satire of biblical proportions that mocks the very things that we put faith in, by comparing them with a cult of toy-monkey worshippers. Again, interesting, but so vague and confusing that I'm not as engaged here as with the ADD antics of TMLMTBGB. Still, Apocalypse Neo ends on the 10th, while TMLMTBGB has a continuing run late Friday and Saturday nights at the Kraine, so you might want to catch their prime-time work before it vanishes, and then just stick around for TMLMTBGB. [Read on]


Christopher said...

I'm glad you discovered "Too Much Light..." I first saw the show when the Neo-Futurists were doing it in Chicago in 1996. Eleven years later and it's still going strong... I'll defintely put it on my schedule.

andor said...

The NY Neo-Futurists are amazing - anybody having anything to do with theater need to check them out.