Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, the Chicago cult hit that has also established itself as a downtown presence in New York, will be featuring a special "Best Of" collection this week, Dec. 12-14, at Nada, the group's Manhattan venue on Ludlow Street.
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.
Other fun, audience-friendly elements of the show include the entrance and admission: audience members pay $4 and then 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.
If you've never seen this extraordinary show, Dec. 12-14 is an ideal time because the troupe have chosen their 30 "Best Of" plays for 1996 and will augment their usual Friday and Saturday midnight shows with special performances Thursday-Saturday at 8 PM. For information on Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind call their New York hotline at (212) 330-8087 or their Chicago hotline at (773) 275-5255.
Meanwhile, the show celebrates its eighth anniversary at Chicago's NeoFuturarium on North Ashland with its own "Best Of" collection, running Dec. 6-Dec. 15. (The show then goes on vacation until their New Year's Eve show.)
The Chicago troupers are a busy bunch, since they're also appearing in Greg Allen's adaptation of Franz Kafka's "The Trial," called "K." That production, running Thursday-Saturday at 8 PM, has been extended through Jan. 25, 1997. Too Much Light plays Fridays-Saturdays at 11:30 PM, Sundays at 7 PM. A book of 100 Neo-Futurist plays from Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind is available from Chicago Plays, Inc.
-- By David Lefkowitz