The New York Neo-Futurists are at once jubilantly theatrical and completely antithetical to theater itself. They delight in transforming a space, transporting audiences from the theater into a place where all the rules are malleable and time may or may not be linear. Simultaneously, the Neo-Futurists never act or deceive the audience. They don’t play characters, they don’t attempt to suspend any disbelief or even deny the presence of the audience. The diverse and dynamic combinations of theatricality, light, and pacing make On The Future more fun as an audience member, and the reality and honesty of the performance makes it more accessible and engrossing than multimillion dollar productions.
Many attendees of On The Future probably recognize the New York Neo-Futurists from their ever-changing, ongoing show Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. While Too Much Light is a race against the clock to perform thirty plays in sixty minutes and the Neo-Futurists have done award-winning full-length shows in the past, On The Future is a hybrid of these structures: six separate but cohesive short plays concerned with the future. The interpretations are as wild and engrossing as the cast themselves.
In one high-energy play, post-apocalyptic struggles for survival are contrasted with 1950s imagery of imminent danger and vintage robots, futures that have not come to pass; in another, the charming Meg Bashwiner contrasts her great grandma’s career as a psychic with our own (in)ability to predict our fate. The plays are alternately loud and exciting, quiet and contemplative, talkative or singular or world-building or world-destroying. The use of practical lights, table lamps, and floodlights, the glow of four omnipresent televisions on set, all lend each experience a unique design and visual depth.
The through-line in this ecstatic carnival of zeerust, cosmology and temporal madness is the enduring personality of the performers. The honest presence of the Neo-Futurists, the understanding that these are real people grappling with real questions, makes the balance of risk and reward more thrilling than anything that can be faked. On The Future is a fun, witty, and evocative exploration of the things, great and small, that challenge our understanding of the present.
Written by: Eevin Hartsough, Joey Rizzolo, Meg Bashwiner, Daniel McCoy, Ricky Gamboa, Adam Smith, & Christopher Loar.
Directed by: Rob Neill
- Written by Shane Reader, Promotional Writer @ FABnyc