Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind: A Neo-Futurist Production
Thirty plays attempted in 60 minutes. Some of the plays are hilarious pieces of political satire. Others highlight the personal fears of the cast. And some of the plays are visceral snapshots of performance art that, according to cast member Bilal Dardai, “will only make sense to you 5 years from now.”
“Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” is performed by the Neo-Futurists and is currently the longest running show in Chicago (debuted in 1989). Plays are written by the cast members themselves with only one rule: brutal honesty. Neo-Futurists only play themselves on stage and only write from true life experience. A play can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
‘Too Much Light’ completely integrates the audience from start to finish. Upon arrival into the theatre, you are asked to recite your name for a Neo-Futurist, who then gives you a name tag scribbled with a fictional character. I was recently tagged ‘Rank and File’ — I’m still trying to figure this one out.
Audience members also choose the running order of the show. Each play is scribbled on a sheet of paper that hangs from a clothesline across the stage, the audience shouts out the play they’d like to see next when the cast yells ‘Curtain’!
One of the reasons ‘Too Much Light’ has been successful for so long, is that it constantly changes. When the 60 minute show has expired, a Neo-Futurist cast member brings out a giant foam six-sided die that is rolled by an audience member. The number the audience member rolls corresponds to the number of plays the Neo-Futurists have to re-write for the next week. So, as the Neo-Futurists say, ‘if you’ve seen the show once, you’ve seen the show once’.
‘Too Much Light’ costs $9 + the roll of a die (i.e. price ranges from $10 – $15, depending on your luck). Not too shabby. And if the show ‘sells out, they order out’ (The cast calls up free pizza for a full-house after the show!) People line up an hour before curtain, so get there early if you want a seat.
Location: The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland
Showtimes: Friday nights at 11:30pm (doors open at 11:00), Saturday nights at 11:30pm (doors open at 11:00), Sunday nights at 7:00pm (doors open at 6:30).