Thursday, February 28, 2008

Words from a Current Neo-Futurist

I received an email from Bilal Dardai, a current Neo-Futurist ensemble member, after I posted about the company. I took advantage of the company to ask whether they continued to follow the model that Quinn describes, and whether they actually have any ancillary activities. Bilal responded:
Indeed we do. The company does sell merchandise, for example, which includes books and zines containing things we've written as well as a CD and a video-taped production of one of our prime-time shows (TML is our flagship show, but we also put up three to four new "prime-time" shows a season). Much of our work is available for non-professional licensing; plays from TML are performed often by college and high school groups and a few of our prime-time shows have had new life at other theaters.

We do offer workshops in Neo-Futurism and other disciplines such as short-story writing and mime/movement; this allows us both to spread the aesthetic we espouse and to bring in income for the theater and the individual artists who teach. These are not "After School" programs, but they are under the banner of our fledgling attempts to create a more comprehensive education program.

Quinn does describe the basics pretty well. We do have an office infrastructure, with Artistic, Managing, and Development directors. Our founder, Greg Allen, occupies the seat of "Founding Director" with the mandate to seek out teaching residencies as well as other miscellaneous activities designed to spread our theatrical mission to a worldwide audience. Our AD is empowered to handle much of the day-to-day decision-making, but our most major decisions occur with the collective weighing in as a whole. If one of us has a major objection to a policy change, then that policy change cannot go forward. (This model has, as you can imagine, both benefits and detriments.)

But we do still take care Publish Postof the day-to-day chores; we do still stick around the theater after each show and clean up. Performers in our plays often act as their own running crew. Everybody is responsible for their own props and costuming. Our AD spent the past few months rehearsing and performing in a show across town and it fell to some of us to handle the duties he wouldn't have time for. When we're functioning at our peak, the sense that the company as a whole belongs to each of us tends to inform our involvement with what we do besides the art itself.
Thanks for the info, Bilal! Oh, by the way, devilvet's eyes ARE deceiving him: their space used to seat 154, but now seats 150 when they brought in more comfortable seating and included a center aisle.


Anonymous said...

For interesting examples from someone who is coming up with a new producing model, check out this Theater Producer's blog at

Scott Walters said...

Anonymous -- I must confess to being puzzled about this recommendation. Could you point me to a post that seems to reflect the things I'm talking about?

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