Burning Bluebeard and The Infinite Wrench | Neo-Futurarium | New Year's Eve Parties & Events, Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Burning Bluebeard

Burning Bluebeard

Courtesy the Ruffians

Burning Bluebeard and The Infinite Wrench 

When: Sun., Dec. 31 2017
Price: $75; sold out, with a waiting list taken at the door
The Ruffians' Burning Bluebeard belongs in the Neo-Futurarium, longtime home of the Neo-Futurists. Audience members take a labyrinthine journey up to the second-floor theater, and that tightly packed space becomes increasingly claustrophobic as six performers tell the horrific true story of the 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire. Jay Torrence’s soulful tragicomedy debuted at the Neo-Futurarium in 2011, and recent remounts at Theater Wit and the Den have shown how essential the original location is to the play’s impact. It’s a harrowing piece of dark holiday entertainment no matter the stage, but the terror underlying the script is amplified in the show’s birthplace, making this year’s production a powerful homecoming. Five of the six actors have been with the show since its first production, and they’ve performed the material so often that the show runs with impeccable precision without losing its playful, spontaneous spirit. Burning Bluebeard is a tearjerker, but it has so much fun on the way to the fireworks factory that it’s ultimately an uplifting, effervescent tribute to art’s ability to shine a light in the darkest times. The performance is followed by the Neo-Futurists' successor to Too Much Light Make the Baby Go Blind, The Infinite Wrench (see separate review). —Oliver Sava

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