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20 Years of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 9, 2008 4:10PM

It started out as a late-night show at Stage Left in December 1988, and now this ever-changing attempt to stage 30 plays in 60 minutes is the longest-running show in Chicago theater. There are a few simple rules. The roll of a six-sided die determines how much you pay to get in. The plays are performed in random order. No reservations. When they sell out, they order out (pizza for everyone, which happens more often than not on Saturday nights). TMLMTBGB, as its known to hardcore fans, remains the most consistently exciting, stimulating show in the whole city. And as the Neo-Futurists like to say, since the show changes weekly, if you've seen it once, you've seen it once.

2008_12_9tmlmtbgb.jpg PerformInk talks with creator Greg Allen about the show's genesis:

“I was tired of creating shows for my friends where only my friends and family would show up and a few dozen other people,” said Allen, the Neo-Futurists founding artistic director. So he created a show with ever-changing elements, “something that would keep us interested and involved and keep the audience coming back. In my 26-year-old pride I would say, ‘I’m creating a show that will run forever,’ and it’s half tongue in cheek and it’s still wrong because it certainly won’t run forever, but here we are 20 years later, which is pretty shocking.”

They've kicked off the celebration by inviting alumni to join the current cast through the end of the month. Remaining anniversary shows are December 12, 13 and 14. Some TML tips offer advice on how to avoid getting stuck on the wrong end of a sold-out show (hint: going on Sunday is your best bet). Don't despair if you're all booked up next weekend, because April 16 – May 30 there'll be a primetime remount called TML 20, offering a combo of "best of" favorites from shows past and brand-new material. We hope that Lusia and David will be well-represented!