Neo-Futurism aims to present actual life on stage by creating a world in the theater which has no pretense or illusion. By advocating the complete awareness and inclusion of the actual world around us, Neo- Futurism subverts theatrical conventions of character, setting, plot, and the separation of audience and performer. When you perform, this means that:
1) You are who you are. Your name is your name. Your age is your age. Your appearance, physical condition, and way of speaking, as well as your personal history and life experiences are none other than your own. You grew up in your hometown. You’re gay, you’re straight, you’re married. You’ve never been to Seattle. You’re in love. You know who you are and what you’ve done. Use it.
2) You are where you are. In most cases this means in an open space designated as “a stage” in front of people who think of themselves as “an audience”. You are not somewhere else. You are not alone. You can’t look off into the distance because the ceiling is in the way. This isn’t a castle in the Alps. The gun is fake. If you need a prop, get it. If the ambience is wrong, change it.
3) You are doing what you are doing. All tasks are actual challenges. If you can’t do something, you must be actually physically unable to do it. If you’re pulling, really pull. If you’re having sex, really have sex. If you forget your lines, you’ve forgotten your lines. If you’re not supposed to know what’s going to happen next, make sure as hell you can’t know. You’re not sleeping on stage, you’re lying there with your eyes closed. No need to “act” tired as you enter the stage with an empty suitcase. Fill it up with rocks, run around the block three times. You’ll be tired. No need to dredge up a lot of emotion to endow that sheet of paper you’re holding with all the seriousness and poignance of your father’s death certificate. Bring it in. If your father’s alive, what are you doing saying he’s not?
4) The time is now. Deal with real events in your current life in your current world. If you broke up with your boyfriend on Tuesday, don’t say you’re still together on Friday. If a politician pissed you off by what they said six months ago, don’t complain about it now. It’s history. Write about how it affects you today. Theater is the medium to reflect what is going on now, because theater is going on now. Theater takes place in real time and space. That audience is right in front of you right now. Deal with that.
The bottom line is that Neo-Futurism does not pretend. Neo- Futurism does not believe in “the suspension of disbelief.” Neo-Futurism does not attempt to take the audience anywhere else at any other time with any other people. Neo-Futurism embraces the actual world around us and drags it kicking and screaming onto the stage where everyone can observe its hideous beauty and wrestle with its unfathomable contradictions.
Greg Allen ©2010