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Neo-Futurists Kick Off Refreshingly Familiar-Sounding 'These 30 Plays' This Weekend

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 6, 2017 7:41PM

The Neo-Futurists

The Chicago theatre world was rocked with one of its most unexpected upheavals late last year, when Neo-Futurists founding director Greg Allen pulled the rights to Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind—one of the longest-running stage productions in Chicago history, and former ensemble members spoke out against Allen's alleged abuse of power. But strictly in terms of format, there may be less upheaval than perhaps first imagined.

The Neos this week announced a roughly month-long run of a production called These 30 Plays (the Neo-Futurists In Previews). Billed as “a trial period of experimentation, discovery, gambling, testing-the-milk, satisfying successes and glorious failures,” the show incorporates 18 plays that were “left” from last year and plus 13 additional plays, according to the Neo’s show description. (Per its famous tagline, Too Much Light attempted to get through 30 plays in 30 minutes at each performance.)

It’s not totally clear if These 30 Plays will carry on the same rapid-fire format and breadth of styles and tones, but it is slated, like TML, for weekend evening slots, at least through January. And Artistic Director Kurt Chiang hinted in December toward toward recognizably improv-rooted approach. The Neos announced last month that late-night show replacement was being put together in conjunction with N-F’s satellite companies, in New York City and San Francisco. Both sister-company sites show similarly experimentally-geared month-long runs: Playtest—billed as an “unfolding of short-form plays”—in San Fran, and The Neo Show in NYC. (A request for further comment about the new show was not immediately returned.)

The refreshingly familiar-sounding These 30 Plays runs Jan. 6 through 29, Fridays, Saturdays (11:30 p.m.) and Sundays (7 p.m.). Tickets are available here.