Neo-Futurist Artistic Director, Greg Allen, and Imbroglio's Connor Kalista -- creators of last year's Crime and Punishment: A (mis)Guided Environmental Tour With Literary Pretensions -- reunite to create their latest, Boxing Joseph Cornell playing May 10 - June 19, at Chicago's Neo-Futurarium.
With Crime the two armed their audience with flashlights and audio-tour headphones in a production they described as "part art tour, part scavenger hunt, part Happening, part haunted house, and part crime scene installation."
In Cornell, the two have created a theater piece based on the life and work of one of America's true surrealist artists, Joseph Cornell. A notorious loner, Cornell created numerous boxes and collages by pairing seemingly unrelated objects like clay pipes, small glasses, and magazine cut-outs, to create a fantastical dreamscape. The Neo-Futurist piece will incorporate Cornell's notions of "boxing in" his little worlds by literally boxing themselves in on stage with concentric cubes.
Kalista is the co-founder of London's Imbroglio Performance Company and a founding member of Chicago's Billy Goat Experiment. Aside from his work with the Neos, he's worked extensively in Europe with groups like Forced Entertainment, Split Britches, Gay Sweatshop, Blast Theory and Liminal Theater.
Neo-Futurism was founded in 1988 by Allen, who told PBOL that he got "tired of doing theater for just my friends" and created the wildly successful Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, a collection of 30 plays in 60 minutes, in which the audience has the opportunity to choose the order in which the plays are done. Allen, a teacher of theatre history at Columbia College, bases his performance theories on the Futurist manifestos of F.T. Marinetti. "Futurism," an artistic movement based on speed, movement and violence, was founded in 1910 by Marinetti.
Allen continued, "I wanted to explore the performance theories of Futurism, Dada, and Environmental Theatre. What I saw in the Futurist theories was speed and incredible energy, even today his [Marinetti's] theories are considered outrageous."
Boxing Joseph Cornell will be playing at The Neo-Futurarium in Chicago, May 10-June 19, for reservations call (773) 275-5255.
-- By Sean McGrath