At: The Neo-Futurists Theater, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. Tickets: 312-932-9950; Neofuturists.org . Special performance: Dec. 31
Who would have thought that the host of a 30th birthday party had prepared the best gift for all in attendance?
That's what's happening with the Neo-Futurists' Best of the Infinite Wrench: 2018.
The number 30 is the key in multiple ways: The Neos debuted their signature 30-plays-in-60-minutes production 30 years ago (Friday, Dec. 2, 1988 to be exact). Three decades later, the Best of the Wrench included playlets with titles such as "This play has some kinks," and "the best part about spending the night in central indiana in a mansion built by and for the Ku Klux Klan (as a Black person on Black History Month)." (sic)
The evening featured Ida Cuttler's "Letter to My Grandfather," a touching and thoughtful piece Cuttler wrote to her grandfather about speaking different languages. The ensemble then took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster, delivering a series of highly energetic, intense and fast-paced short performances. Some plays were emotional, thoughtful and reflective, such as Lily Mooney's "My naked play." Others (including Malic White's "How to Remove a Diva Cup") were highly comical and metaphorical.
The audience was not a passive observer. While the plays were rooted in ensemble members' personal history and biography, performers also find ways to engage audience members by bringing them on stage and integrating their personal stories. In Kurt Chiang's "Native Planting in progress…. Please watch for changes" and Nick Hart's "Dialogue," an audience member is invited to answer some questions, so their narrative can be incorporated into the plays.
The lineup was inclusive and diverse in terms of demographics, identities and backgrounds. It's particularly fantastic to see the alum Lisa Buscani's vintage plays, which breathe life into history and add depth to the evening.
The Neo-Futurists ensemble deliver a fantastic performance with The Best of The Infinite Wrench. It's their birthday, but the audience got the gift.
The Neo-Futurists will host a New Year's Eve version of Infinite Wrench on Monday, Dec. 31 at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. VIP tickets for New Year's Eve performances are $75 and include a 7 p.m. performance of Burning Bluebeard; followed by food, drink and poetry; followed by an 11 p.m. performance of the Infinite Wrench. The evening closes with a champagne toast. For more information, go to Neofuruturists.org .