The Neo-Futurists don’t really do “normal” plays. Their shows—original works that are more theme-based than plot-based—are brainy and whimsical and so uniquely constructed, you might often find yourself wondering why you ever gave a fart about so-called normal plays. And yet. At their most precious, the Neo-Futurists produce shows that can be aggravatingly theater-cute. “Patriots,” created and directed by Chloe Johnston, falls (and falls, and falls, and falls) into this category. It’s very school-projecty: colored masking tape, Sharpie markers and lots and lots of paper. All of these supplies are used to illustrate the history of America on a big map pasted to a wall on stage. It’s neither terribly witty nor illuminating. And it goes on forever. The show then veers off into two seemingly unrelated tangents, one examining the nineteenth-century poet Walt Whitman, the other focusing on the twentieth-century politician and notoriously hypocritical racist J. Strom Thurmond. Johnston’s compare-and-contrast portrayal of each man feels meaningless. More importantly, it doesn’t propel forward any kind of discussion about patriotism in the here and now. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.