The Neo-Futurists were among the first theater groups to introduce virtual theater content when lockdown arrived in March, transforming their show The Infinite Wrench—a series of 30 mini-plays performed in 60 minutes—into the aptly named The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral, which audiences can stream via a series of tiered weekly membership subscriptions. It only took a week and a half to get their first show online; now, thanks to hundreds of subscribers from across the globe, the company is making 100 percent of its pre-pandemic revenues and has mounted, among other endeavors, a full-length prime time show and a live Pride-themed performance.
Despite certain existential questions about the medium (how much editing defeats the non-illusory mission of neo-futurism?), a characteristic rawness and devotion to spontaneity has served the Neo-Futurists well in their transition online. Playing themselves, ensemble members lean into the low-res creakiness of Zoom calls, crafting plays that confront the ongoing turmoil of the world in real time—an approach that resonates with new subscribers and longtime fans.
"[The show] is not escapist, but it’s not a reminder of what’s happening," says Silva, the theater's managing director. "Audience members are craving community, and it’s been really cathartic and relieving."
What to stream this winter: Subscribe for weekly editions of The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral ($3–$100).