The Great American Drama

By Andrew Andrews

In response to a request for "A play that makes everything that’s wrong in the world better," Neo-Futurists dressed as clowns and sweep problems under the rug.

The Great American Drama is not what it used to be.

It’s not what it used to be because The Great American Drama is constantly evolving to suit the preferences of its audience. Before every curtain call, it undergoes a revision, incorporating feedback from the audience that most recently saw it. Even the original story, before it was performed for the first time, attempted to address the results of a survey about what people want from a live theatre experience.

The result is... well, we don’t know yet, because the show is still going. We do know this: you should see the show, then provide your own feedback. The New York Neo-Futurists (the company developing and performing TGAD) need your thoughts as a critical part of their experiment. Yes, friends, that is a double entendre.

Your mileage will definitely vary, but what we saw during performance #2 was not entirely unlike the Neo-Futurists most famous show, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, which we reviewed back in December. Do not expect an actual, full-length drama with characters and plot and tension on every page. Instead, you’ll get 90 minutes of short vignettes, each based on a suggestion they’ve received and projected on a giant screen behind the stage. You want examples? Many people wanted to see Hamilton instead of—well, instead of anything, really—so we were treated to a thirty-second fair-use satirical excerpt of its opening in the middle of our show. Lots of people demanded nudity, so there was a little bit of that. And people like puppets, so we got a few minutes of puppets as well.

The way things are going, by the end of the run, there may very well be nude Hamilton puppets. Only time will tell!

We implore you to see The Great American Drama right away, then let us (and the Neo-Futurists) know what should be changed. Because your opinion has never been so important to the success of a show; your ratings and reviews have never been so consequential. This is your chance, America, to create the perfect theatre experience. And this review is your call-to-action.

We’re giving our performance three stars as a middle-of-the-road baseline. The show happens every Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30pm, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30pm. Near the end of the run (on February 5th), we’re going back to see how it’s changed, and we’ll rate the results again. Will our three-star rating go up or down? You decide.

Insider tip: bring something small to leave beneath your seat!


Andrew Andrews attended The Great American Drama at A.R.T./New York Theatres in Manhattan on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 @ 7:30pm to write this review.