ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 8 - December

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 77 of 147

STAGE MASTER Neo-Futurism Forever UNDER NEO-FUTURISTS FOUNDER GREG ALLEN, THE LONGEST-RUNNING STAGE SHOW IN CHICAGO HISTORY HITS 25 YEARS—AND SHOWS NO SIGN OF STOPPING. BY J.P. ANDERSON Greg Allen celebrates 25 years of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATRINA WITTKAMP O n December 2, 1988, in a storefront theater at Clark and Belmont, a Chicago institution was born: Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, a dynamic performance of 30 short plays in 60 minutes, the first production by a fledgling theater company called The Neo-Futurists. More than 3,600 performances and 8,500 plays later, it's the longest-running show in Chicago history, and its creator, Neo-Futurists founder Greg Allen, is one of the most respected (not to mention prolific) figures in the Windy City theater scene, having created 33 full-length Neo-Futurist shows in addition to TML, as well as directing Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude (all nine acts and seven hours of it) at the Goodman Theatre, and teaching at universities across the nation. Allen recently sat down with Michigan Avenue to discuss the company's origins, other Chicago inspirations, and why he wouldn't trade his Too Much Light audience for the world. What inspired you to create The Neo-Futurists? Greg Allen: My background is in experimental theater and performance art—Italian futurism, surrealism, Dada, Fluxus—and I came up with a conglomeration of those ideas and my own beliefs about what theater should be. Then in 1988 I had the opportunity to create a show in an off-night scenario; a friend of mine had talked about how some cities have late-night theater, and Chicago did not. I thought, I'm 26 years old and I'm looking for something to do in the middle of the night, so I had the feeling that if I build it they will come. I wanted to kick around the aesthetic of being very much ourselves on stage—a non-illusory approach to theater—and I got together a continued on page 78 76 MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 076-078_MA_SC_StageMaster_Winter2014.indd 76 11/19/13 5:10 PM

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