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Repertory of the Future

New York Neo Futurists showcase a little bit of everything in rapid-fire sketches

By Cristina Merrill / Jester correspondent

On Friday, June 25, the New York Neo-Futurists performed “Too Much Pride Makes the Baby Go Gay,” a performance whose proceeds went to support LGBT advocacy in Uganda. The show, performed for a packed house, was based on the 12-member troupe’s usual act, “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” composed of 30 stand-alone sketches meant to be performed in 60 minutes. In a “race against time,” audience members pick the numbers and the Neo-Futurists perform the corresponding sketches, a challenge that is not always met. Friday night’s performance was a mix of the funny, sweet, dramatic, peculiar and far-out. There are times when the Neo-Futurists seem to be more interested in shocking than performing, but they are an undeniably talented and dynamic group of people with a unique approach to the stage.

Certain sketches were humorous with political undertones to them, such as the opening sketch, entitled “The Last Homo: A Fairy Tale from the Neo-Future.”  The “Last Homo” in question is personified by a Yoda doll wearing a sombrero and voiced by a Neo-Futurist. In this skit, the Yoda doll talks about the past, when homosexuals were accepted and Neil Patrick Harris was “the good president.”  The twenty-fifth skit, “White Liberal Guilt Made You Choose This Play,” involved three Neo-Futurists pretending to be children and discussing race with a voiceover. In an effort to promote racial unity, someone suggests “make one night a month ‘Bring Someone Brown to Dinner Night.’”  “Like Oprah black?” one Neo-Futurist child asks.

Other skits exhibited the experimental style for which the Neo-Futurists are known. “The whisper play” involved the theatre going completely dark and Neo-Futurists going amongst the audience and whispering things like “sometimes I like to tell secrets,” prompting nervous giggles. Another experimental skit that provoked laughter was “Meryl Streep Will Drink Your Blood Now,” which involved several Neo-Futurists wearing aprons and large paper masks of the famous actress.   

There are times when the show became a little too unusual, such as when Neo-Futurist Dan McCoy shoved part of a pickle up his anus in front of an astonished, amused and sympathetic audience as part of the “Neo Geographic” skit. Luckily though, the evening was interspersed with humane, anecdotal material that brought everything back down to earth. Christopher Borg and, interestingly enough, McCoy, are particularly instrumental in this regard. In a sweet and endearing skit entitled “Art Class,” Borg invited an audience member onstage to draw with him. 

While they both drew on large sketchpads, Borg spoke about his own love of art and his admiration of the woman who taught it to him: his grandmother. McCoy was on-target in “June 5, 2002 (apology to an umbrella skeleton),” in which he talks about his own experiences as an aspiring artist and how he “harbors no grudge” against his disapproving mother. 

The Neo-Futurists frequently incorporated the audience into their act. One skit, “Cupid’s Choice,” brought a female audience member to the stage to win a Neo-Futurist for the night. She won Joey Rizzolo (“a little hetero for the evening,” one Neo-Futurist observed) and they were pronounced married for the rest of the show. The Neo-Futurists even went so far as to the get audience up and dancing. Yes, the Neo-Futurists loved their audience so much that they even sprayed water mist over them (a welcome act in the crowded theatre), thereby making them arguably the most considerate performers to ever grace any stage anywhere.

Overall, the show was a hit with its audience. Some of the skits were a little too over the top, but they were counterbalanced by more earthy performances done in good humor and style, thanks to the emotional range of the performers. The Neo-Futurists’ frequent integration of the audience is admirably risky, but as they are such a talented group of people, there would be nothing wrong in them taking ownership over the entire show. 

 

   

     

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