Well that’s a mouthful.
But it’s also an amazing show that’s been around since 1988. It opened at Stage Left Theater in Chicago on December 2, 1988. Conceived and directed by Greg Allen, the show was written and performed with an eight-person ensemble and billed as “an ever-changing attempt to perform 30 Plays in 60 Minutes.” The show promised an emotional and intellectual roller-coaster of ideas and images ridden at break-neck speed by a participating audience. Greg Allen created the formula for Too Much Light… from an amalgam of different influences. In typical postmodern fashion, a theory was borrowed from here, a form was stolen from there. From our namesakes, the Italian Futurists, came the exultation of speed, brevity, compression, dynamism, and the explosion of preconceived notions. From Dada and Surrealism came the joy of randomness and the thrill of the unconscious. From the theatrical experiments of the 1960’s came audience interaction, breaking down all notions of distance, character, setting, and illusion. Finally, from the political turmoil of the 1980’s came a socially conscious voice and a low-tech, “poor theater” format. This aesthetic, embraced by an ensemble of highly dedicated, talented writer/performers, became Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind.
In the spring of 1995, three one-time Chicago Neo-Futurists and two brand new recruits ventured to Manhattan to perform T.M.L.M.T.B.G.B. They opened first at the emerging H.E.R.E Theater, and then moved to the raw energy of Ludlow Street’s Todo con Nada. A sixth member was added to the New York company, and Greg Kotis premiered his play Jobey and Katherine. This New York run of Too Much Light lasted just over two years until the supplies ran low and the ensemble was scattered to the winds (the ‘winds’ being various other remarkable projects too numerous to mention here).
In 2004, the Neo-Futurists broadened their horizons yet again from the Second City to the City That Never Sleeps (or at least, to its neighboring borough). On April 8, 2004, an almost entirely new cast of ten ripped into our first performance of Too Much Light at the Brooklyn Lyceum in Park Slope. On October 9, we, like the Muppets, took Manhattan, launching an acclaimed run of Too Much Light at the Belt Theater.
Since opening in Brooklyn in 2004, the New York Neo-Futurists have performed at Sarah Lawrence, Fordham, Six Figures’ Artists of Tomorrow Festival, the Providence Improv Festival, and Ladyfest. We have appeared on the Joey Reynolds Show and the Derek and Romaine Show, and have been featured in The New York Post, Pinque Magazine, and Comedy Magazine, to name a few. In January 2005, The New York Times published a feature article on Too Much Light.
In New York, Chicago, and beyond, The Neo-Futurists continue to expose and explore new artistic territory, all consistent with the original mission to create interactive, highly personal, emotionally and intellectually challenging art for the general public.