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Neo-Futurists re-enact bad films; hire new managing director

Dan McArdle, managing director. Credit: Neo-futurists

Many people know Andersonville’s theater group The Neo-Futurists from their long-running and always inventive show, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. But I return to the cramped black box above the funeral parlor on Ashland every summer for their weekly series of bad films, which are painstakingly re-enacted by various theater troupes from around Chicago.

The Neo-Futurists are celebrating the tenth anniversary of the “festival” (lovingly referred to as It Came From the Neo-Futurarium) and welcoming a new managing director, Buena Park resident Dan McArdle, by resurrecting a few favorites from the past and introducing audiences to films that never should have been made in the first place. McArdle describes the summer series as, “the most inventive staged readings of the worst films ever made.”

So far this year, audiences have relived The Care Bears Movie, sci-fi not-quite-classics The Black Hole and Devil Girl from Mars, giant bunnies in Night of the Lepus, and a tasteless Gary-Oldman-as-a-dwarf vehicle called Tiptoes. Last week a live band in full make-up accompanied actors from Hope & Nonthings as they sweated their way through the made-for-TV-movie, KISS Meets Phantom of the Park. I’m no theater critic, so you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you they were all hilarious.

McArdle has long admired The Neo-futurists’ ability to break through the fourth wall, and feels their facilitation of the film festival aptly demonstrates how they draw audience members into the experience. “I’m delighted to working with, and in support of, an incredibly prolific ensemble of artists who create work that is exactly what I think theatre should be: immediate, accessible and honest,” said McArdle.

The Care Bears Movie. Credit Neo-futurists

Mr. McArdle recently received his Masters in Arts Leadership from DePaul University’s MFA/Arts Leadership Program, and felt that the opening at The Neo-Futurists was “The right thing at the right time.” Prior to landing in Andersonville, McArdle coordinated producing efforts for Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Silver Jubilee Gala and was the Finance Manager for the Lookingglass Theatre Company. He also is an artistic Company Member with Theatre Seven of Chicago and also serves as their General Manager.

The Neo-Futurists also create and perform original work, and they just announced an ambitious slate of three productions for the 2011/2012 season. Complete details can be found online: http://www.neofuturists.org/

There’s still time to see some of the worst films ever made if you visit the Neofuturarium (5153 N. Ashland) on Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m.

  • July 28: The Apple is a disco opera with Biblical overtones and hilarious dialogue
  • August 4: a 1950’s tale of desire and shame called The Flaming Urge (it’s not what you think)
  • August 11: Relive the paranoia of the Cold War and egos of the Brat Pack with Red Dawn.
  • August 18: Prince’s Purple Rain gets the treatment with a live band.

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