For the first time in 25 years, The Neo-Futurists will be welcoming “a group of six word-playing, art-slinging, talent-oozing” artistic associates into the ranks. The six artists, who have been regulars around The Neo-Futurarium for years, include: Anthony Courser, Clifton Frei, Evan Hanover, Halena Kays, Molly Plunk, and John Szymanski.
Th company’s artistic director, Bilal Dardai, observed: “The Neo-Futurists chose to honor these six artists due to their talent, generous spirit, and passion for our work and aesthetic. The company has been fortunate to work with many amazing collaborators, and this inaugural crop of artistic sssociates have proven on multiple occasions to be invaluable to our productions as performers, directors, writers, designers, musicians, and dramaturgs. We welcome every opportunity we have had to bring them aboard our projects, and we’re looking forward to working with them as much as possible in the future.”
Anthony Courser was last seen as Princess, the drunken elephant, in the Jeff Recommended “Ivywild” with The Hypocrites, and he has appeared in several Neo Futurist shows. A company member with Barrel of Monkeys since 2001, he regularly teaches creative writing to Chicago Public School students, and regularly performs in “That’s Weird Grandma.”
Clifton Frei has worked with the Firehouse Theatre Project, Yellow House, Richmond Shakespeare Company, Sycamore Rouge, The Hypocrites, the unnamed showparty ensemble, LiveWire, and The Neo-Futurists.
Evan Hanover is a researcher by day who has been collaborating with the Neos for over a decade, working as a dramaturg for “A 60-Minute History of Humankind,” “The Fool (returns to his chair),” “Crisis: A Musical Game Show,” “Chalk and Saltwater: The Ladder Project” and “The Sovereign Statement.” He also frequently acts as house photographer.
Halena Kays is the artistic director of The Hypocrites where she both performs (most recently in “The Fall of the House of Usher”) and directs (“Ivywild,” “Six Characters in Search of an Author”). She is the co-founder and former artistic director of Barrel of Monkeys where she created and directed their critically acclaimed long-running show “That’s Weird, Grandma.” She is a UT-Austin and Northwestern grad, current lecturer at University of Chicago and a former member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care unit. With The Neo-Futurists she directed “44 Plays for 44 Presidents,” “Burning Bluebeard,” and more.
Molly Plunk has appeared in Neo-Futurist Prime Time productions as an actor.
John Szymanski is a musician, composer, arranger, producer/engineer and teacher based in Chicago. His first project with The Neo-Futurists was “The Fool (returns to his chair),” and he has since collaborated musically and otherwise with the company on many shows. Outside of the Neos, he has contributed music and sound to productions by The Whiskey Rebellion Theatre, Theatre Oobleck, The Harlotry And Necromancy Appreciation Society and The Drinking and Writing Brewery Theatre. He has also scored the music of two films for LA-based filmmaker Peter Sebastian. John is the keyboardist for Chicago band My My My, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist for Bethany & The Two Johns, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist for The Gub Club, guitarist for cover band Sidecar, and musical collaborator with many.