The Neo-Futurists have no trouble dominating late-night with their long-running hit The Infinite Wrench. The company is known for featuring a diverse and energetic young ensemble while tackling challenging material with humor and humility. Their primetime offerings, however, are much more of a mixed bag, and A Story Told in Seven Fights, which features virtually no story and little fighting, lands somewhere near the least successful of their productions I've seen.
Creator Trevor Dawkins has crafted a piece to explore his own white guilt and position in society as a white man while also dealing with the aftereffects of The Neos' falling out with Too Much Light creator Greg Allen. "Fuck founders!" is shouted again, and again, and again, in case the message is too subtle for some.
There is a moment in the show where two performers discuss whether or not their art has ever actually changed the world in any way. This is a sobering question for any artist, and seeing the discussion play out was eye-opening and felt reminiscent of the electricity underlining much of The Neos' work. They both agree that they probably haven't made a lasting impact, ultimately revealing the biggest flaw of the production. Dawkins seems so set on changing the entire world at once that he is willing to sacrifice plot and coherence.
Some may write this opinion off as having not "gotten it," but as a massive fan of the company, this simply felt like an overly-pretentious sketch comedy/monologue play hybrid of leftover Infinite Wrench material. As I exited the theatre, a patron behind me lamented, "I was expecting a show with lots of fighting," and that is indeed what the Neo-Futurists have advertised. The intentions are good, and the ensemble is solid. Unfortunately, A Story Told in Seven Fights is not.
Review by Jason Berger
A Story Told in Seven Fights continues at The Neo-Futarium through April 7. More info here.
The Hawk Chicago is included in TheatreInChicago's Review Round-Up.
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