AT theatre performed “Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays In 60 Minutes” A wacky name paired with a far-out yet intensely interesting concept.
A lot of effort was put into the creation of this Spring Show. The Spring Show was unlike any typical play. There was not one, but thirty plays, all created by the students themselves. The show took on the concept of Neofuturist, with the help of Greg Allen, the creator of the Neofuturist concept. Allen created Neo Futurism in 1988 and is based in the city of Chicago. Since its creation, Neo-futurism has spread to places such as New York, San Francisco, and London.
“I found the scripted version almost seven years ago, and fell in love with it. When I was in high school, I would go up to the Neofuturist theatre on Foster and Clark and see TML, so I really wanted to do it,” said Anna McSweeney, head of the Theatre department. “After we did it the first time, I found out that we could bring Greg Allen in to help students write their own shows. We ended up receiving a grant from the Illinois Arts Council that helped fund bringing him to our school.”
Leading up to the show, it was a long process of learning and writing for the actors.
“The original writer of TML came in to work with us on writing the plays for the new shows. He gave us assignments for every rehearsal, and we would present them to him, and the rest of the cast and everyone would give their ideas and thoughts,” said Stephanie Ortiz.
In Neo-futurism, nothing can be of illusion, so all actors play the role of themself. At the start of AT’s rendition, every actor stated their name and explained the concept of the show.
The cast had thirty plays ready, but it was the audience’s choice to pick which number they wanted next. After each play ended, the cast would call “curtain,” and the audience would then shout the number of their desired play.
A timer was set to sixty minutes at the start of the play, and the goal was to get through all thirty plays by the end of the timer. The time of each play ranged from incredibly short and funny such as the play “Thirty Ping-Pong Balls,” which was just a bunch of Ping-Pong balls that fell out of the advent-like structure. Or the plays also went into thought-out and emotional pieces, discussing topics like grief and sexism. Other plays even moved into political territory, discussing issues that the actors truly care about, such as school gun violence. The fact that all of the plays were written by the actors, and acted as the actors themselves, made all of the emotional pieces even more hard-hitting.
Plenty of the plays performed utilized audience participation. Whether the audience was used for a game, to answer a question, or to read something over and over again, the audience was well involved in what happened.
“There is a lot of audience participation and each performance is different based on choices made by the audience,” said McSweeney.
Overall, the audience had a great time being both a part of the play, and watching what the students decided to develop.
“My favorite moment was the audience’s reaction to all our funny and surprising plays, especially ‘The Pie and The Slide Whistle’ and ‘Audience-Lib’” said Ortiz.
The talent and vulnerability shown in this spring show is something for AT to be proud of.
“I really enjoyed seeing what the students created. They allowed themselves to open up and become extremely vulnerable showcasing their perspectives on very serious issues,” said McSweeney.