Interactive Theatrical Experience at Woolly Mammoth Theater
Penn Quarter’s Woolly Mammoth Theater welcomes back Chicago’s Neo-Futurists this week for their latest D.C. run of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. This 60-minute performance is unlike anything on stage, including itself due to an ever-changing routine that draws from the audience to create an entirely unique show.
Since premiering in 1988, Too Much Light has gone on to become one of the longest running shows in Chicago, and successful long-term runs in New York and San Francisco. It also travels the country, and this month marks the second time the show has been performed at Woolly Mammoth. But even with almost three decades under its belt, Too Much Light sells out shows and draws both new and return audiences.
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According to the Woolly Mammoth website, Too Much Light is inspired by “Dada, surrealism, and the spontaneity of late-night sketch comedy.” By turns hilarious and thought-provoking, the show is built on the same ideology that inspired the Neo-Futurists’ founding, Italian Futurism. Each play is “set” on the stage, and all the actors are playing themselves, so it’s not a show in the traditional sense. But if the tight focus on reality seems like it might limit the show itself, fear not. The short plays that make up the larger performance cover a lot of ground, with absurdity, interactive elements, and dynamic energy.
The show is made up of thirty mini-plays, but the order is determined by the audience. A menu tells the audience what plays are available, and to vote one yells the corresponding number at the end of each mini-play. Whatever number is heard first comes next. A timer ticks down the one-hour allowed for the performance.
In addition to the show, Woolly and the Neo-Futurists are also hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration. The Neo Year’s Eve event will include an open bar, snacks from Momofuku Milk Bar, and a performance of Too Much Light. Tickets start at $100.
For more information about Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, visit the Woolly Mammoth website here. Ticket prices vary, with a discount offered to students and patrons under 30. The show premieres on the 7th and runs through January 3rd.
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