Friday, September 30, 2005

Daredevils Extends

We have a hit on our hands. We've extended. Daredevils will run all the way through October. So bring your friends and watch the pain. We are documenting our welts, wounds, and bruises with a shotty poloroid.

Friday, September 23, 2005

More good reviews

We got two more awesome reviews from Centerstage and Timeout.
We were also on the WGN morning show. It was a fun shoot even though it was at 7 in the morning. We shot 4 segments. We did the intro to the show, the piece refered to as "nails" and three mini stunts including The Watery Bike of Doom, Pushy push push trash and Welcome to High school all Skate. The show conitues to go well. If you havent seen it yet you better.

Here's the review from Centerstage:
The show packs a powerful and fun punch.
Dennis Mahoney September 19, 2005

Stunts! Action! Danger! Jackassery! Ah, some of my favorite words in the English language, and the best words to describe "Daredevils," now playing at the Neo-Futurarium. This high-charged display of testosterone spirit and pure energy by the five daredevils for which the show is named will have you laughing, cheering and even holding your breath.

With a flame painted floor and a '70s-era logo on the back wall, "Daredevils" opens with hilariously cliched fog machine effects as the daredevils are introduced to the strains of Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll (Part 2)", revealing their strength while zipping down their flight suits. Gymnastics, tumbling and shouting ensue, setting the tone of what is to come.

"Daredevils" is the creation of veteran Neo-Futurist Ryan Walters, who had little trouble recruiting four other actors to be in the show. This is revealed during individual interrogations by the deep-voiced light and sound designer Dan Broberg. Most jumped at the chance to take part, and didn't seem to mind the pain or injury incurred during rehearsals.

Look out when the daredevils roll out a cart full of props and tools. Which feat they perform is determined by spinning an arrow on a game wheel. One such game, "Welcome to High School: All Skate" features bare-chested daredevils whipping each other with wet towels. The "Water Bike of Doom" has an unlucky daredevil riding a toddler's bike while being pelted with water balloons.

Jackassery aside, there are some truly heartfelt moments about personal decision making, including an investigation of why people take risks and engage in mindless dares and stunts. In particular, Andy Bayiates discusses the perils of being both an asthmatic and a daredevil while doing laps across the stage. Throwing caution out the door, he even swallows a bowlful of spicy curry while his fellow daredevils dance to lively Indian music.

Because the games and stunts are mixed with scenes and individual narratives, the show sizzles from beginning to end. Just when you think you might have seen it all in the confines of this small theater, a daredevil rolls down a ramp in a barrel, walks on glass, crosses a tightrope or cannonballs himself across the stage.

Still want more? An energetic full audience participation game draws everyone in, and any wandering mind is quickly snapped back to attention.

Neo-Futurarium; 5143 N. Ashland; (773) 275-5255; $15 (pay what you can on Thursdays). Through October 15; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday

Friday, September 16, 2005

We rock.

Some reviews:

Neo-Futurists snap to it in 90 minutes of thoughtful crassness
By Nina Metz
Special to the Chicago Tribune

The Neo-Futurists can be quite cerebral. They are by no means snobby
about it, however, and that's a good thing because the troupe's newest
show, "Daredevils," demands a heaping dose of stupidity from its

Packed tight with antics that would give any rational-minded actor
pause, "Daredevils" manages to be a thinking man's "Jackass" — minus
the fecal obsession and sublimated homoerotic subtext.

Friends, this is raucous, good-time theater, a small-scale killer
spectacle that is likely to be the most entertaining 90 minutes of
juvenilia and self-reflection you'll see all year.

The cast of five, led by show creator Ryan Walters, trots out to the
fist-pumping sounds of Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll (Part 2),"
wearing identical jumpsuits and looking like a deranged pit crew, or
Devo circa "Whip It."

They execute cheerleader dance moves in formation (choreographed by
Genevra Gallo), and then a booming voice intones,
are-you-ready-to-rumble-style, "DAREDEVILS!" Talk about working your
audience into a lather

True to Neo-Futurist form, the actors here portray themselves. Each is
subjected to a Q&A that probes a masculine nerve: "Did girls like you
in high school?" and "Have you ever been beaten up?" It's a canny
exploration of why anyone — and it is surely not just men — takes
foolhardy risks.

The stunts themselves, picked at random from a kind of
wheel-of-misfortune, range from the seemingly harmless — squatting on
a plastic Fisher-Price pseudo-bike as it careers down a ramp — to the
ingeniously deranged — a cast member, shod in spiky high heels, walks
on the stomachs of his cohorts.

There is, of course, a difference between an act of courage and an act
of danger, and these thrill seekers address this with a cold-eyed
scrutiny, as well.

"Welcome to High School All-State" has the group stripping down and
snapping wet towels at one another as angry red welts sprout on many a
torso. "A daredevil always cleans up after himself," a cast member
cheerfully notes while moping up the water mess afterward.

Working on a set designed by Dan Broberg that brings to mind the
flaming Big Wheels logo from my youth, this is an exceptionally
well-matched ensemble. Dean Evans, with his wiry intensity and blond
Pee-Wee Herman looks, is a standout, as is Andy Bayiates, the droll,
self-designated asthma boy.

The whole shebang is directed by Halena Kays, a member of the
Hypocrites and artistic director of the comedy ensemble "That's Weird,
Grandma." Like a handful of other first-rate women directors in town —
including Amy Morton and Kate Buckley — she is a skilled,
pedal-to-the-metal artisan when it comes to testosterone-fueled

The male ego is in good hands.

Chicago Free Press

By Web Behrens

Contributing writer

If ever a show deserved an exclamation point in its title, this is it. But these “Daredevils” are confident enough in their capabilities that they don’t bother with such an attention-getting device. They save their heightened enthusiasm, and their interjections, for the stage.

Still, it’s easy to imagine a satisfied audience laughing and shaking their heads on the way out of the theater, recalling the crazy shit they’ve just seen. Walking on broken glass! Catapulting through the air! Eating super-spicy food while riding a unicycle! The result is 90 peculiarly entertaining minutes repeatedly punctuated by gasps, laughs and shouts.

And not just from the audience—from the five-man cast too. When spectators help randomly determine the next bout of wacky jack-assery, the guys occasionally shout, groan or curse. Especially if they’re about to end up on the receiving end of a whiffle-ball assault. During one madcap melee opening night—a wet-towel-snapping free-for-all, which manages to be funny, sexy and painful all at once—creator Ryan Walters exclaimed, “Isn’t that 30 seconds yet? Jeezus!” Priceless.

This being a Neo-Futurist take on a stunt show (partly inspired by the MTV shenanigans of Johnny Knoxville), the five writer-performer-knuckleheads do more than perform feats themselves. Under Halena Kays’ brisk direction—and with some sweet dance breaks choreographed by Genevra Gallo—they tell (or sing) the true stories of past daredevils, from Niagara Falls jumpers to risk-taking icons Harry Houdini and Evel Knievel. They also, of course, involve the audience—not just one or two folks, but everyone, in a tricky match of Simon Says. Good times.

What “Daredevils” lacks is some deeper insight into the entire phenomenon of daredevilry. Why not hear more from the ensemble—Andy Bayiates, Anthony Courser, Dean Evans, John Pierson and Walters—when they talk about their own histories of risk-taking and their motivation for doing this show? “It’s fun” only just scratches the surface, while some provocative questions (inquiring about what makes them feel most like a man) point to a much deeper well.

Chicago Reader

No stunt coordinator is credited in the playbill, and the Neo-Futurists are hardly polished gymnasts, so it's not surprising that this show's feats tend more toward the contemplative than the spectacular. For a little over an hour, five charming rowdies demonstrate risky ventures great and small--eating highly spiced curry, for example--accompanied by biographical sketches of Knievel wannabes and philosophical discourses on the nature of reckless behavior. Ryan Walters's show needs some tightening; lengthy setups dilute the impact of genuinely difficult tricks like Dean Evans's barrel roll and John Pierson's underwater homage to the immortal Houdini. But Anthony Courser's thrilling long jump through a paper screen delivers all the heroic swagger expected of action-oriented entertainment. --Mary Shen Barnidge

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

We're Cool Guys

Opening was great. We sold out big time. The audience loved the show. We got a standing ovation. (This is Dean). Then after the show I got really sick and I couldn't use my arm for a day. But I'm feeling better now. I made it across my tightwire. I was extra mega nervous because Ariele was in the audience and she taught me how to do it. So luckily I didnt shame her honor.

That's right! New Color Pics from Andrew.

Andrew is Amaizing.

On monday the Daredevils are going to be on TV. On WGN's morning show. Hard work... paying off. ahh.

Time to sit back and let the pussy roll in.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

John's late update about his head

Wow! I haven't written in a long time, and now opening is just a day away. I hurt myself pretty badly, and I never did figure out exactly what caused it. My guess is a combination of a few different extraordinary circumstance. First, I had taken on too many projects and was at wits end before I even started Daredevils. I was running 7 miles a day, riding my bike to and from rehearsal each day which is about 15 miles, plus the 30 minute workout out with my fellow Daredevils. Then of course I nearly drowned in the Ocean, which I think caused a delayed trama that began to surface during Too Much Light one night later when I stretched my body between two ladders. I have been doing this for awhile in Too Much Light..., a play called Fuck You, It's a Jungle Gym. I would go home each night with my neck a little stiff, but that last night I did it. I put the ladders too far apart and I don't think my spine liked me anymore. I think my spine and my muscles conspired that night to force me to take abreak. But there wasn't time. The next day in rehearsal I began working on my bis stunt, called "The Spider Crawl" I crashed myself into a side of one of the ramps and I must have jarred my head, because here I sit today, three weeks later, with some remaing tingling in my head and left knee.
I went to two different doctors, sat in the ER, and refused to pay 3,000 dollars for an MRI. I was just in the process of signing up for Insurance when this happened. so I am not covered for this Daredevil activity. I opted for the 300 dollar X-ray, a cheaper ball to get the injury doctor game started. My doctor only found some spasmed muscles. Under Heather Riordan's instruction I made an appointment with her Chiropractor, Neill Sussman. My doctor told me my body could probably not take the strain of a chiropractor so he told me to cancel the appointment. I worried, and really didn't know what to do, so I cancelled the appointment. I wasn't getting any better, so I said "what the hell" and I rescheduled the appointment. Sussman told me to bring in the x-rays. I went to meet this Sussman, he studied my x-rays with an intense nonchalance. He turned to me and said, "Your vertebrae (then he named the vertebrae but I can't remember those technical terms) is pressing against a nerve that goes up through your head, over your forehead and into the back of your eyes." And I said, "Well that's interesting, that is where all my tingling is coming from. He said one appointment could probably fix this. He nearly broke my neck, my god, that cracking business is frightening, especially when it is going on in your neck. A stranger takes your neck into is hands and jerks it and you crack, it's only a few steps away from Manslaughter, but with more pleasing results. I immediately fealt better, but not completely. He said to take it easy. Alas, I could not take it easy, becuase I am a Daredevil and am in the midst of the last stunt show or play that I ever plan on doing. It was a good carreer for me and very enjoyable, but from now on I have to leave Buster Keaton behind and learn a bit more from the safe Charlie Chaplin. Each day my head feels better and by the end of the night after the run throughs at the theater, I am back to squear one. EAch night I go to bed with a heating pad. I think this will continue until we can get this show on its feet and then I can take a few days off to heal.
All and all this has been one of the best shows that I have worked on, I just wish I wasn't feeling so much pain and apprehension, and now I can't do my Spider Crawl, but The Houdini trick is mighty frightening nonetheless. Upside down in a fish bowl, hanging from my toes. That will just have to be enough daredevil.

thanks for reading.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005



1. To serve you must bounce the ball once in your
square and then serve the ball underhanded into an
opponent's square in one motion.

2. The ball must bounce once in your square before
hitting it into another square.

3. The goal of the game is to become the server.

3. If the ball hits the set, back wall,audience,
ceiling, etc, and then bounces back into a square the
ball is considered fair and is still playable.

4. If the ball hits you before it bounces in your
square you are out.

5. If the ball is served to you and you are able to
hit the first person in line with the ball you
immediately become the server.

6. If there is disagreement about a line call, the
player of lowest status is out.

7. If the ball bounces in your square close to the
line it is fair for another player to reach in and hit
the ball out of your reach.

8. Any other fancy rules and variations are not in
effect until you become the server and announce a new

Monday, September 05, 2005

Tech tech tech

Here is me working on my wig a while back. It's pretty much done now.And here are some pics of the set as the paint was drying.
We did tech today. Dan has a million light and sound cues.
We're adding finishing touches on the show. The show is looking better and better, I think it's going to rock. I hope the public is ready for it.
Here are some pics.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Flaming balls

We haven't been updating lately I think because we've been rehearsing everyday for many hours. It's exhausting. Dan is painting right now. We're all tired from moving the big heavy ramps around, and working the pieces, and being in constant danger. We can actually run the show now. It would be cool to get some pictures.
Oh yeah, this is Dean. Blow me.