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Funny Guy, the backstory

Funny Guy is a new dark comedy that explores the fragile underpinnings of romance, friendship, and success in two New York City couples. The actors play out a contemporary drama concerning  jobs, love, and betrayal, while the dark side of their subconscious motivation is explored by the omniscient id, in the form of a 7-foot-tall neon marionette. This other-worldly, larger-than-life apparition bursts out of the characters’ imaginations and takes the stage with a commanding presence. It then proceeds to engage the audience directly, bringing a sense of immediacy to life’s larger questions. The play explores themes of identity, materialism, sexuality, greed, infidelity, and spirituality, inviting audiences to question the foundations of their own most intimate relationships and their understanding of who they really are.


This play was originally conceived and outlined around 2010, but it wasn’t until the pandemic shutdown in 2020 that the first draft of the script was completed and the prototype of the neon marionette was fabricated. That year, several versions of the neon were made and set up temporarily as outdoor street art around New York City, including at Astor Place and the Flatiron building, where they immediately drew enthusiastic crowds. The following summer, in 2021, we developed the interactive component of the show by staging three events in the courtyard of PS122 in the Lower East Side. These events, collectively called “Midsummer Night’s Neon,” were very successful and also drew large audiences. That fall we were invited to do a staged reading of the play in conjunction with an art installation by Cluster London. The event was so successful that we were invited to participate in London Design Festival in 2022. The London Design Festival installation generated a lot of good publicity, including in Time-Out London, which named it as one of “Three Fab Things to Check Out at London Design Festival.”


Our goal is to bring this provocative and culturally relevant work to a wider audience. 

This year, we are bringing this quirky and off-beat show to the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. We will be performing 21 shows in August in the Greenside George Street Lime Studio venue, located at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 


Fun fact: NEON was discovered in London in 1898 by British chemist William Ramsay, who was a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In today’s era of great technological change, traditional, hand-made glass neon is rapidly being replaced with LEDs. We even have an LED version of the marionette that we use as a back-up whenever the glass tubes break! 

But this play is the first play that includes a character made entirely of glass neon tubes. Since the technology is rapidly disappearing, it will, in all likelihood, also be the last. The fact that it will be performed at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a place where neon was likely first imagined, brings a poignant dimension to this strangely compelling show.

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