Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, July 13

Gapers Block

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Back in the early '90s, if it was a Saturday night you were bound to find me at above the Nelson funeral home, watching the latest performance of "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind." So being a longtime fan of the Neo-Futurists' long-running play, I was ecstatic to hear they were presenting a children's version of the show called "Too Much Light Kids."

The show is geared towards children ages 6 through 12, and since my son is way too young to attend, I quickly enlisted one of my nieces to accompany me. Last weekend, Francesca and I had the opportunity to see a performance of "Too Much Light Kids" and it was as entertaining and exciting as the adult version.

Begun back in 1988, "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" is founder Greg Allen's creation. When the show first opened, Allen initially had the idea to present two versions of the show: one in the evening for adults and a matinee for children with age-appropriate plays. However, that plan was put on the backburner for many, many years and has now come to fruition.

In case you aren't familiar with "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind," the Neo-Futurists present the Herculean task of performing 30 plays in 60 minutes -- or at least that is the goal of the evening. With a darkroom timer running in the background, counting down 60 minutes, the actors perform play after play as audience members yell out which one they would like to see next. It sounds rambunctious and it is, but in a completely enjoyable way. The plays themselves range from vignettes to physical comedy to esoteric sketches that are funny, touching or both and last anywhere from 30 seconds to 4 minutes.

So with my son at home with his father, my niece Francesca and I braced ourselves for some fine theater entertainment. "When we first walked in and the lady was giving us name tags, I could tell it was going to be funny" my niece exclaimed. When a gag works, stick with it. Just like the late night show, everyone is given a name tag with a special name upon entering the theater. When you end up with a name like "Sparkle Mouth" or "Master Planner," it makes you laugh regardless of your age.

We sat down and I noticed the children in the audience ranged from 8 to about 12, with a few childless adults on dates and one solitary, sketchy looking older man (which caused my niece and me to go "Ewww!"). With such an age mix in the audience, the giggles were spread out all over the place, everyone laughing at different times.

After a brief explanation of show protocol, the shouted requests began and soon the hour was quickly passing. I've noticed that in previous shows I've attended, the members of the company usually look as though they are having fun, however, with the children in the audience they now appear even more relaxed and can sit back and laugh at the plays, the children's reaction and even at each other.

The plays performed were a good combination of slapstick, joke telling and some goofy dancing. "I thought most of the plays were really funny," Francesca said, "but some I thought were kinda boring." There were a couple of plays which I thought a bit too sophisticated for the kids, but even then, most of the children in the audience were still entertained with the entire situation of being at a live performance.

The hour passed, and yes, they did complete all 30 plays. While the show is on a limited run, the Neo-Futurists assure us it will be back. I hope they will make this a yearly holiday event, and can't wait until my son is old enough to attend.

The final verdict of the play, according to Francesca: an enthusiastic vote of approval. "Because it was funny, your family will also think it was cool and it's cool that there are 30 plays in an hour, or something." So there you have it. Go see "Too Much Light Kids" because it's cool, or something.

The last performance (for now) of "Too Much Light Kids" is at 2pm next Saturday, Dec. 18, at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. Kids get in for $1 x the roll of a six-sided die ($1-$6), adults are $5 + the roll of a die ($6-$11).

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About the Author(s)

Alejandra Valera is a new mom and writer. If there's a baby- or kid-friendly place, product or event you think she should cover, email her at .

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