What does material success look like to young people in 2023? Is it possible to attain the lifestyle they see in 80s TV shows? Is that something to aspire to? A talented Neo-Futurist troupe takes on capitalism, parents’ expectations, their own hopes and dreams, and whether it’s even possible to just get by in this buoyant, sometimes silly, often touching show. Directed by Lavina Jadhwani, with tech by Spencer Meeks, the cast is Connor Shioshita Pickett, Jasmine Henri Jordan, Neil Bhandari, and Deidre Huckabay, each credited as “Senior Vice President.” (Pickett is additionally credited as “Creator.”) Dressed in a half-assed thrift-store version of office garb, they’re not kidding around about the hopelessness of their generation’s plight.
The Neo-Futurists Sell Out
Through 4/22: Thu-Sat 7 PM, Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland, 773-878-4557, neofuturists.org, $19.99 (students $9.99)
In one memorable scene, a performer acts as a proxy for the other’s mother and rather than filling in mundane financial information in a form—projected onto a blackboard by a decades-old device—is asked to rate her daughter’s qualities and answer whether she even likes the art her child makes. In another, a grandfather gives his grandson a fake three-dollar bill in exchange for real singles to teach him how the world really works.
Unlike so many devised skit shows, this one rarely succumbs to either goofiness for its own sake or inside jokes aimed only at the theater scene itself. Each short episode tackles real-world anxiety and comes off with at least a bit of resonance but sometimes with a level of profundity. This is a group of young people justifiably angry at the dumpster fire left to them by previous generations. Even if they actually wanted to sell out, is there anyone left buying?