RED Theater Omaha is Under the Radar


July 10th, 2014

Omaha, NE — Now finishing its 4th year, Omaha’s Neo-Futurist theatre collective have one more show up their sleeve.


RTO LogoRed Theater Omaha has spent the last 4 years performing their unique brand of theatre across many different Omaha venues. The style of the show is called ‘Neo-Futurist’ a form of theatre made popular by the Chicago outfit of the same name. The basic form of these shows is simple, to perform 30 original plays in 60 minutes. Each play is written and performed by members of the collective.

The key for Director Steven Hartman to each play is that they must be, of course, theatrical.

“People think theatrical and they think ‘Oh, it’s funny and exaggerated or comedic.’But theatrical to us means that it can only be utilized in live performance. So where there’s a great performance in a film, a film can’t react to your reaction. It can’t touch you or breathe on you. That’s what we like doing,” Hartman said.

For the last show of their season, Red Theater Omaha will performing their latest piece entitled Red is the New Black as a part of the Omaha Under the Radar Festival. Hartman said that the topics covered during the show, sprouted from the title.

“We do have a lot of shows that cover social and gender (issues), governmental politics. I think it’s suiting to the title we have,” he said.

That being said, Hartman pointed out that each play as a its own voice and its own perspective. That means that just like the various audience members in the crowd, those plays will having differing opinions on the same topic.

For Hartman it’s that type of eclectic volatility that reinvigorated why his earliest memories of why he does theatre in the first place.

“When I first got into theatre I was twelve years old,” he said. “I did because it was something fun to do. I auditioned for my first play and got the lead – I just spoke loud enough is all the criteria was. When I was on stage and the applause came at the end of the first and only performance, I felt like ‘Wow, this is where I really belong.’ The whole time I was on stage, I felt like I was myself. You don’t hear that a lot for actors. A lot of times actors will say ‘I love being on stage because I get to escape my own world and I get to be someone else.’ I say no, I get to really be myself.”

Red Theater Omaha’s productions have a knack for sparking discussion after the performance because of the amount of decisive issues touched on. The point Hartman said is not to tell people what to think, but just to get them thinking.

“That’s the point. We ask dangerous questions theatrically,” he said. “If you leave one of our shows with more questions than answers, that’s not a bad thing. It’ll get you interested in what’s going on in the world.”

Red Theater Omaha’s lone production of Red is the New Black will be Sunday, July 13th at 3pm at Bancroft Street Market on 10th and Bancroft St. The performance is the final event of the Omaha Under the Radar Festival. For more information on the show, visit

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