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Neo-futurism?

Back in the summer, I short-circuited the play-acting we were doing in The Art of Being Off-Task by claiming that I had found the answer to the problem.

I coyly held out on the group till I was back in town, but I still want to hold back, in a way. What I found was a Chicago performance troupe called the Neo-Futurists, the New York version of whose show Too Much Light (Makes the Baby Go Blind) Jobie had described to me. I ordered two books of their scripts and liked very much what I saw. In fact, my much-derided nude turn in Off-Task was a response to having read those scripts.

When the Honeas came to pick up Galen at GHP, I gave Marc the books of scripts for his perusal. If he’s willing, I’d like to diffuse (defuse) the Master thing and ask him to describe the Neo-Futurists’ work and whether he thinks it might be something we could explore.

12 Comments

  1. marc wrote:

    Before actually starting to read, I leafed through the books trying to get a sense of them, and I did so grumbling. I was seeing this as Dale (and this is an uncharitable and subjective characterization) the Bringer of Enlightenment introducing yet another example of what truly creative people are up to, lest we get too distracted by our own quirky, delusional pursuits.

    I even went so far as to imagine I might take a performance text I had written not too long ago as a part of a lacunagroup undertaking:

    http://www.lacunagroup.org/blog/?p=32

    and revise it to fit the Neo-Futurist paradigm by inserting GAY, HEROIN, and KATHY ACKER randomly throughout. No place for mere heterosexuals in the theatre of the future, I snidely whiplashed. I was being nasty (and inaccurate).

    I’ve enjoyed reading through the pieces. I don’t know if it is a characteristic Neo-Futurist style that appeals, however. I find them generally entertaining, creative, charming, some more, some less so, and an especially fruitful discipline for youthful theatre writers trying to find their feet.

    “No suspension of disbelief” is an interesting aesthetic stance to take. I don’t want to condescend when I say I appreciate embracing such a notion. I can remember having a youthful affection for such spirited and tingly astringents in thinking about theatre. But I don’t necessarily agree with it as a goal. What’s particularly honest and immediate about the act of presentation? Is it the autobiographical impulse? It is still a pretense, a contract made with an audience. The aspect of meta-commentary? I’ve always though there was a rich vein to be found in the notion of the theatrical essay, but to establish a space for the critical eye is still an act of constructing a convention. Meta, too, is a suspension of disbelief.

    The texts are fun. I find them charmingly conservative in the assumption of a deliverer, of one stepping forth. Such, too, is the Self. One stepping forth to present. Good for young folks wanting to practice showing who they are.

    So far the piece I’ve been touched by most profoundly is the one in which the story of a young person’s death in an auto accident is told backwards. It’s the powerful manipulation of structure and language that impresses me with this one. If you want to truly open up a hole, don’t tell me about yourself; alter the structure to produce a hole.

    Should we undertake this style? Looks like it’s worked well for the Neo-Futurists. Dale probably likes the deadline aspect involved in their composing. Texts for performance are never a bad thing, no matter how they get made. Let copulation thrive!

    Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  2. marc wrote:

    Vanity first. I just re-read my performance text and I must insist you read it in pdf or word format to get the full effect of the spacing and punctuation.

    Question second. I don’t know if I answered Dale’s question. Do you want to perform some of the Neo-Futurist texts or create our own?

    Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 9:42 am | Permalink
  3. marc wrote:

    Dale, you described your nude performance as “much-derided.” I went back to check (even though I’ve read through our chains many times already), and I encourage you to take another look. In the spirit of a more thorough self-examination, I invite you to think about why you chose “much-derided.”

    Monday, August 4, 2008 at 10:46 am | Permalink
  4. Dale wrote:

    I knew when I wrote it that it wasn’t “much-derided”, I too went back and checked before I posted, but it made for good copy. No feelings of exclusion or of being unappreciated here.

    Monday, August 4, 2008 at 11:05 am | Permalink
  5. Dale wrote:

    But to answer your question, yes, I think it’s an interesting format, one that we might find fruitful. I don’t know that I want to do weekly shows, although for a month or so that might be a nice discipline.

    We can pass the book around and let others see what they think.

    Monday, August 4, 2008 at 7:13 pm | Permalink
  6. marc wrote:

    Certainly may be about permission-giving with our merry band.

    Have thought about having a vanity t-shirt printed up; just: GO THERE.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008 at 8:17 am | Permalink
  7. Dale wrote:

    just go there

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008 at 9:00 am | Permalink
  8. marc wrote:

    Very nice. I fretted over the ambiguity in the way I typed it out–the “just” was just meant to be a way to describe the singularity of the text “Go there.” Not part of the message. Too much qualification. Response, of course, to some cautious person saying, “Let’s not go there.” So I think the punctuation is important also. Period. No more discussion.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 8:38 am | Permalink
  9. Dale wrote:

    So…

    just go there 2

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 12:42 pm | Permalink
  10. Dale wrote:

    or, sans just…

    just go there 3

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 12:43 pm | Permalink
  11. marc wrote:

    Saint-Juste. (Well executed.)

    The latter. The 2nd one. (Or I guess it’s the 3rd one.)

    The final one.

    Voila, ma raison d’etre

    Thursday, August 7, 2008 at 1:12 pm | Permalink
  12. Terry wrote:

    Apparently we all need some little saying to motivate us. Mine is Spideyup. It comes from a quadraplegic L know who is more active and involved in things that most people. He even made a nice graphic for it which I can’t find right now. He legally changed his name to Spidey Lee when he was only 24, and before he was a quadraplegic. Together the two of us terrorize neiborhood, he in his electric wheel chair and me in my electric cart, by riding around and talking to people and daring to challenge their ideas.

    So Spideyup and get those scripts passed around.

    Monday, August 11, 2008 at 7:01 pm | Permalink