The Miss Neo Pageant

I had someone look me in the eye last night and scream “You are a horrible writer!” Luckily, it was Megan Mercier from the Neo-Futurists and it was part of a play. And my sister, who was sitting next to me, I’m pretty sure almost died from laughing at the abuses slung at me.

I’ve written about the Neo-Futurists and a couple of their main stage shows before. While they’re most famous for Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, they do put on ‘regular old plays’ too. I say ‘regular old plays,’ but that’s not quite right. I just mean not TMLMTBGB.

I’m still trying to digest The Miss Neo Pageant, the latest main stage. It was funny and brutal and cringe-inducing and eloquent and even, at moments, kind. I’ve seen plenty of men unabashedly naked on-stage before. Hell, I’ve seen women, too. But I’ve never seen a naked woman so unapologetic about her body and calling attention to its nakedness before. It was refreshing and genuine and exactly what was called for.

 The women of the Neos took on what it means to be feminine and female in the modern day. They literally gave us the tight rope of femininity we all walk on. They bared breasts and they danced and they put on the act of being Girl with a capital-G. In doing so, they stripped away the façade, peeled back the layers, and showed us the performance that it is.

I strongly believe in the power of theater to reveal Truths otherwise hard to find. I may be entirely biased as a former playwright, but I do believe that it has a special something that is much harder to capture in other forms of art. I can’t imagine a Miss Neo Pageant in any other form than the one in which it was delivered. Even reading the script, there would still be something lost; that rawness of one person shouting to be heard.

If you’re in Chicago and have the time, I highly recommend going and seeing it for yourself. Especially if you are woman. Especially if you love someone who is a woman. It isn’t perfect. But it’s real.

Tickets are $20 each and the show runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 until June 22. Buy yer tickets here.

Photo blatantly stolen from the internet.

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  1. megan says:

    wren! thank you so much for coming to the show and being abused through it and still having such wonderful, insightful things to say about it. you’re exactly the person we made it for.



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