Innovative Chicago theater company The Neo-Futurists are thrilled to announce their 32nd Season of programming for 2020-2021, continuing to create and produce new work on a weekly basis despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has effectively shut down indoor theatrical performances for the rest of the year.
“Our mission is to inspire audiences to thought, feeling and action; and this moment in our country calls for all three,” said Artistic Director Kirsten Riiber. “As our journey into digital Neo-Futurism expands, we’ll continue to find innovative ways to bring our community together. Their support has made this new chapter of Neo-Futurism possible, and we’re having a blast exploring the uncharted territory.”
Kicking off the season in time for the presidential election is the world premiere of 45 Plays for America’s First Ladies, Oct. 8-Nov. 2, 2020, a Neo-Lab commission that serves as a companion piece to the acclaimed Neo-Futurist production 43 Plays for 43 Presidents (originally produced in 2004 and remounted in 2012). The production features ensemble members from the Chicago, New York and San Francisco Neo-Futurists under the direction of Denise Yvette Serna, and is written by Neo-Futurists alumni Andy Bayiates, Bilal Dardai, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Sharon Greene and Chloe Johnston.
“45 Plays takes a box cutter and a stylus to US History, exuding strength and sensitivity, questioning complicity, and inserting our contemporary bodies and voices directly into a history that trivializes the experiences of women,” said Director Denise Yvette Serna. “With the effortless honesty and crushing vulnerability we can expect from the Neo-Futurists, we’re prepared to create space for ourselves, hold space for one another, and cry/laugh in horror at the wicked pageantry of American Democracy… in real time!”
Focusing this time on the women who served in the role of First Lady, 45 Plays for America’s First Ladies is a chronological series of 1- to 5-minute plays over the course of 90 minutes that adopt a variety of shapes, tones and theatrical conventions, in traditional Neo-Futurist style. Rather than presenting a purely biographical story, the project uses the “honorary” office of First Lady as a lens to examine the roles that women and other marginalized individuals have played in the development of America. For more information and to purchase tickets starting at $15, visit neofuturists.org. Live-streamed performances with an audience participation component will run Oct. 8, 9 and 11, with a full digital recording available through Nov. 2, 2020.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Neo-Futurists successfully moved their flagship late-night show The Infinite Wrench to a digital platform, now called The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral, presenting 30 digital plays in 60 minutes every week. Throughout the 2020-21 Season the Neo-Futurist ensemble of writer-performers will continue to work from home and produce new plays weekly (until they can resume in-person performances in 2021). The plays are then filmed and shared with patrons who subscribe via the Neo-Futurists’ Patreon platform. For more information on The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral and to purchase tickets, visit neofuturists.org. Tickets start at $3, with special perks available starting at the $5 level.
New for the 2020-2021 Season, The Neo-Futurists will be offering annual memberships starting at $127.50 to their digital offerings for a limited time, with tiered benefits based on membership price. For more information, visit neofuturists.org.
The Neo-Futurists’ 2020-2021 Season also includes:
60 Songs in 60 Minutes
Monthly presentation from September 2020 to June 2021
Tickets available starting at the $9 tier via Patreon subscription
Neo-Futurist Ensemble Member Nick Hart brings back his popular 60 Songs in 60 Minutes for a third season through The Neo-Futurists’ Patreon platform. Higher-tiered subscribers will receive a monthly album of new experimental music created by 60 Songs veterans and newcomers, along with weekly presentations of The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral.
Special themed presentations of The Infinite Wrench
October 2020, May 2021 and Summer 2021
Individual tickets available starting at $15 per show
Digital format; in-person shows will resume in 2021 if possible
Continuing a longstanding tradition, The Neo-Futurists will present several themed iterations of The Infinite Wrench during the 2020-2021 Season. In October 2020, a Halloween-themed show will explore themes of fear and existential dread, with a post-show screening of a classic horror movie. Then in May 2021, coinciding with Mother’s Day, The Egg Wrench returns, bringing a critical lens on the hallmark holiday, with proceeds benefiting a local non-profit organization to be announced. Finally, in the summer of 2021, a necessary and celebratory performance of The Infinite Wrench will feature plays written, produced, designed and performed by the POC members of The Neo-Futurists.
Neo-Futurist Lecture Series (title TBD)
Just when people thought they never wanted to sit through another online video conference, The Neo-Futurists prove them wrong by producing a series of unique lecture-style solo performances that turn the idea of the traditional video conference on its head. Different Neo-Futurist Ensemble Members will present for this series of master classes on topics ranging from Latinx identity to the history of circles.
Elements of Style (workshop presentation)
Neo-Lab is The Neo-Futurists’ in-house residency to support the development of a full-length Neo-Futurist mainstage show. The 2020-2021 Season residency will support the development of Elements of Style created by Ensemble Member Trent Lunsford and directed by Neo-Futurist Alum Stephanie Shaw; a Neo-Futurist musical about the freedoms and confines of language in response to William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White’s classic textbook on writing.
For the most up-to-date information and ticketing for The Neo-Futurists’ 2020-2021 Season, visit neofuturists.org.
ABOUT THE NEO-FUTURIST THEATER
Since 1988, The Neo-Futurist Theater has been a collective of writer-director-performers who create theater that is a fusion of sport, poetry and living newspaper. The company has created more than 11,181 plays to date within its flagship late-night event called The Infinite Wrench, and more than 65 full-length mainstage productions incorporating its signature non-illusory, interactive style of performance. From humble beginnings launching the first late-night theater production in Chicago, The Neo-Futurist Theater created what became the city’s longest-running show and has grown to become one of the most highly regarded experimental theater companies in the United States, with sister companies in San Francisco and New York. For more information, visit www.neofuturists.org.
The Neo-Futurist Theater is partially supported by grants from Alphawood Foundation Chicago, Paul M. Angell Foundation, Arts Work Fund, Do312, The Chicago Community Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council Agency, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Arts.