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Neo-Futurists Present 30 Plays In 60 Minutes, 1 Play In 5½ Hours

By Julienne Bilker in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 4, 2009 6:35PM

2009_03_strange_interlude.jpg The Goodman Theatre’s winter event A GLOBAL EXPLORATION: Eugene O'Neill in the 21st Century wraps up this weekend with three performances of the nine-act Strange Interlude. Produced in association with the Neo-Futurists -- best known for the always entertaining and constantly changing ,Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind -- it is arguably the most rarely-revived of the six scripts in the Goodman’s O’Neill series.

Strange Interlude, deemed extremely controversial when it premiered in 1928, spans 25 years in the life of Nina Leeds as she struggles to keep three lovers in her life and under her control. A soap opera ahead of its time, it garnered O'Neill his third Pulitzer Prize and ran for a then-unusual 426 performances. Although Interlude's Freudian and Jungian themes may not be earth-shattering in 2009, its epic length and extensive use of soliloquy keep it in the experimental category - to say the Neo-Futurists are comfortable playing in this realm would be an understatement.

Director (and Founding Director of the Neo-Futurists) Greg Allen describes the play as “outrageous and preposterous,” with “all these elaborate stage directions and descriptions, so sometimes we'll read those aloud and not bother with the dialogue." He also promises one act will employ only adverbs. We’re not sure if he’s kidding about that last bit, but either way, we’re intrigued.

If you’re worried about appeasing your appetite or relieving your bladder, take comfort: Friday night’s performance will have three 15 minute intermissions, and the matinees on Saturday and Sunday will have two 15 minute intermissions and a one hour 15 minute dinner break, with “light fare and boxed meals” available.

Strange Interlude, March 6 - 8 at The Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn, $12-$20 (half-price mezzanine tickets available online after 10 a.m. the day of the show with code MEZZTIX, or in-person after noon)