One might be forgiven for thinking that Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind by Greg Allen, directed by Jay Gipson-King sounds like a title for a horror movie. This inspiring collection of thirty short plays in sixty minutes plays more on the metaphor of ‘light’ as knowledge, insight and awareness rather than being ‘caught in the spotlight’. Nine Chemeketa College students bring a delightful ‘fruit salad’ of ‘moments’ from life that are destined to bring an audience to laughter, tears and, possibly, some valuable insights. Playwright Greg Allen notes in his introduction that this collection of short plays is ‘based primarily on Italian Futurism with healthy slices of Dada, Surrealism, Brecht, Fluxus, Happenings, Grotowski and Augusto Boal’. Random numbers are strung across the top of the stage as the ‘set’, the audience (you) will be asked to call out random numbers and various cast members will leap to snatch that number – the next play you see will be the one written on the back of the number. When asked about the style of Neo Futurism, director Gipson-King commented, ‘The Futurists were a group of Italian artists in the 1910s whose philosophy was, why use 100 words when 10 will do? Their plays were very short, usually about two minutes. When the average play at the time lasted three hours, the form itself was a ground-breaking political statement. The Neo-Futurists are a group from Chicago, led by Greg Allen, that started in 1988. They adopted the same philosophy of brevity and honesty (all actors play themselves, rather than characters), and have published at least 400 short plays in this style’.
Gipson-King sees educational theatre as a way of immersing the students in experiential learning, providing them with an opportunity to learn the wonderful skills of theatre: empathy, confidence, problem-solving, collaboration, emotional intelligence, leadership, and more. This year marks the return of credit theatre classes at Chemeketa with two classes (Acting I and Intro to Theatre), as well as the revival of a new theatre club: the Chemeketa Players. Two members of the group Taylor Null and Naomi Suarez expressed their excitement in the reestablishment of the theatre program as it provides the training for their goal of careers in the arts.
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind promises a night of comedy and drama for everyone, be prepared to engage! Gipson-King and his highly energetic and talented cast bring a smart, relevant piece of theatre to Salem, don’t miss out!
Photo at top: Taylor Null, Andrew Vitt, Elizabeth Ming and Naomi Suarez
30 Neo-Futurist Plays from:
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
(30 Plays in 60 Minutes)
By: Greg Allen and the Neo-Futurists.
May 11, 12, 18, & 19 @ 7:30 pm.
Chemeketa Community College
(4000 Lancaster Dr NE), Building 6 Auditorium
Students/Salem for All: $1-$6, Working Adults: $2-$12. Cash only, please!
Strong adult language. Mildly offensive content.