July 26, 2018

A Theater For The Slightly Cynical

Going to the theater is always fun, especially when it’s an experience special to one particular place. It’s one thing to go see a performance of Wicked or Hamilton (which are a ton of fun, but definitely not unique to one city), but if you want something that you can really only get in Chicago, I’ve got just the show for you! The Neo-Futurists are an experimental theater company based in the Andersonville neighborhood, about a 20 minute ride northbound on the Red Line train from our lofts. The Neo-Futurists are successful enough to have opened troupes in New York and San Francisco, but you can’t beat the original, and Chicago is the heart and soul.

The Neo-Futurists aren’t your average theater company, and Infinite Wrench, their most popular production and main attraction, isn’t your average theater performance. Rather than a story with a plot, characters, special effects, and all that jazz, Infinite Wrench is a series of 30 two-minute performances that always manages to defy whatever it is you might be expecting. When you think of going to see a play, you usually think you’re going to see people pretending to be someone else, in a place that’s definitely not where you actually are. But in this theater, there’s no suspension of disbelief. The actors are just themselves, and the skits they write can take you all over the emotional spectrum: you can be happy and sad, laugh and cry, all within a few minutes of each other. The theater is quite small and compact, so be prepared to get up close and personal with the performers (literally—audience participation can be a big part of the show!), which is something that I personally think makes it that much cooler.

Its spiritual predecessor, a similar production called Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, was actually the longest continuously running theater production in Chicago until it was retired a couple years ago. It’s definitely one of those things that words can’t really do justice for, and the show changes just about every single week, so you never know what you’re going to see. But tickets are super cheap (almost always less than $15), so I can guarantee that any of the Neo-Futurists’ shows are always worth checking out, especially if you want to spend an evening of your visit away from the chaotic bustle of downtown on the weekends.