The cast of Chicago's Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind hope you can. The Chicago cult hit that also established itself as a downtown presence in New York, will be featuring a special "Love Show Edition" Feb. 14-16. at the group's Chicago home, the Neo-Futurarium on North Ashland. In a happy coincidence, Feb. 14 also marks the company's sixth year at the venue, after moving from the Live Bait space in 1992.
Founded by Greg Allen in December 1988, the Neo-Futurist troupe mixes and matches forms ranging from the avant-garde, sketch comedy, poetry, one-act plays, monologues and agit-prop. The Neo-Futurists' show, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, could almost be considered a play slam. At each performance, the troupe performs 30 plays in 60 minutes. Not surprisingly, plays can range from less than ten seconds to a maximum length of about five minutes. An on-stage timer keeps everyone apprised of the time left in the evening.
As with previous TMLMTBGB Valentines weekends, this particular line-up will feature plays about "love in all its guises, forms and folly." Condoms will be distributed, as will good (and bad) advice on romance.
Other fun, audience-friendly elements of the show include the entrance and admission: audience members pay $4 and roll a one-sided die to determine the ticket price. In other words, a ticket is no less than $5 but no more than $10.
Plays are not done in a particular order. Papers with the numbers 1-30 are strung along a clothesline above the actors' heads. As soon as one play ends, the menu-holding audience members shout out numbers of the play they want to see next. The first number grabbed off the line becomes the next play. For information on Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind call their Chicago hotline at (773) 275-5255.
Though the show hasn't yet come back to New York, founding member Greg Allen has been busy with his adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Trial, which played at the NY Fringe Festival. Also, founder Ayun Halliday is currently performing her own Neonatalsweetpotato Off-Off Broadway, about the birth of her first child with fellow Neo-Futurist, Greg Kotis.
A book of 100 Neo-Futurist plays from Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind is available from Chicago Plays, Inc. On Nov. 4, 1997, Chicago's Whitehouse Records released the troupe's first compact disk, featuring -- what else? -- 30 plays in 60 minutes. (Actually there are 33 cuts on the CD, including an intro, outro and a pizza break, based on the troupe's tradition of ordering pizza for the audience when the show sells out.)
-- By David Lefkowitz