Metro Weekly

Seeing the Light: “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” at The Alden

The New York Neo-Futurists perform a greatest hits version of "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" at The Alden

NYNF 2 - Photo: Hunter Canning
New York Neo-Futurists – Photo: Hunter Canning

“After you’re in for seven weeks, you’re usually ready for a break,” says Daniel McCoy. “But there have been epic runs. One time I did 14 weeks in a row. I don’t necessarily recommend more than like ten, because after that you just turn into a strange creature.”

McCoy is veteran of the New York Neo-Futurists, sibling of the original Chicago group that recently paid a visit to Woolly Mammoth with its tour de force, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. The show is a mad, electrifying dash to perform 30 two-minute plays, in a random order, in exactly 60 minutes. A unique theatrical experience, the plays are an often delightful-yet-strange brew of the absurd, profound, satirical, hilarious, disquieting, even uncomfortable. And their fates are altered weekly by chance.

“In New York, we perform every Friday and Saturday night,” explains McCoy. “At the end of each show we ask an audience member to roll a six-sided die onto the stage. We add those 2 numbers up — it can be 2 or 12 or anywhere in between — and at the end of the weekend that’s how many plays we cut from our menu. We then write the ones for next week.” It can be a grueling schedule, but that’s why the troupe remains large (New York has 20 rotating performers, six or seven of which take the stage at any given time) and rotational.

There will be no roll of the die when the Neo-Futurists performs for one-night-only this Saturday, April 16, at The Alden in McLean, Virginia. “You’re going to see plays that have had rotation in our show,” says McCoy, sort of like a “greatest hits.” He promises it will be “super fun.”

McCoy concedes the group has a liberal bent when it comes to politics, and that Donald Trump is a current favorite target. “We are theater artists within the New York arts community and that is technically liberal people,” he says, noting that “there’s a lot of queer people” in the company, McCoy among them.

“There’s a spectrum,” he says, “but it tends to be those who are more aligned with liberal progressive politics. That’s just a fact of who’s there and what we have to draw from. There honestly aren’t a large amount of conservative Republican people in the New York theater community.” 

The New York Neo-Futurists perform T.M.L.M.T.B.G.B. on Saturday, April 16, at 8 p.m., at The Alden, in the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean, Va. Tickets are $25. Call 703-790-0123 or visit mcleancenter.org.

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