ANDERSONVILLE — Challenged to a schoolyard fight as a 13-year-old, playwright Trevor Dawkins didn't knuckle up — he ran home and started writing a story about action heroes, Nazis and kung fu that eventually inspired him to create the Neo-Futurists' latest play, "Haymaker."
"I harbored a lot of resentment toward my inaction, and that led me to begin to write this movie where I cast myself as the lead character who always took action," said Dawkins, now a 27-year-old Logan Square resident.
"Haymaker" tells the story of "grizzled maverick" Russell Dakota, played by Dawkins, who is hiding out in 1930s Shanghai with Nazis on his trail. The major villain of the story is a ronin named Ran, played by Dallas Tolentino of Virginia's Synetic Theater.
Tolentino, a college friend of Dawkins' from Virginia Commonwealth University, is a gymnast and martial artist of "tremendous physical abilities," Dawkins said. He added that the two put on a "Kung Fu soap opera" as college students where they both starred as enemies, which made Tolentino's casting as Ran "perfect."
"Haymaker" debuted Monday and is running until June 28 at the Neo Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave.
Dawkins said spectators could expect realistic fight choreography, influences from modern dance, and that "a lot of the play is about the inability to communicate ideas you have in your head as a creator, and that's very reflected in physical movement."
The show, directed by the Neo-Futurists' Kurt Chiang, also features dashes of "absurd humor and unabashed nerddom."
"Have you ever seen a man punched in the face while flying in the air upside-down strapped into an exploding car?" Dawkins said in a news release about the show. "And the man punching was pinned to the concrete by a samurai sword through his foot? If you haven't, you're going to see it in Haymaker."
For tickets and more information, visit the Neo Futurists' website, here.
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