How Jacobs students will present 'Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind'
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Performing 30 plays in 60 minutes may seem like a tall order, but Jacobs High School drama students are up to the task, says David McGill, the director of "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind."
Shows are at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at the high school, 2601 Bunker Hill Road, Algonquin. Tickets, which can be purchased at the door, cost $10 adults, $5 students, with $1 off for those who bring a canned food item for donation to the food pantry.
McGill, an English teacher at Jacobs, is sharing directing duties with school social worker Kirsten Zehrer, with help from assistant director and math teacher Adam Stromberg.
The Daily Herald caught up with McGill to learn more about the production.
Q. Why did you choose "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes)" as your fall production?
McGill. We chose "Too Much Light" because it contains so many different types of theater and is an ensemble play that can showcase many of our actors' talents.
Q. How is this show performed?
McGill. This show is 30 short plays performed in 60 minutes. The audience chooses the order that the plays will be performed. There is a clothesline running across the stage with 30 numbered pieces of paper. The audience has a "menu" with numbered play titles that they can "order" by shouting them out. The order the play is performed changes every time.
Q. What have been some of the challenges in putting together this production?
McGill. One major challenge has been responding quickly and listening to each other throughout the performance of the 30 plays. Since the order changes each day, actors and technicians have to listen closely and respond in the moment.
Q. What has been most rewarding?
McGill. This show has taught us how to rely on one another. It has been rewarding to have students be able to take the lead in coming up with staging ideas, blocking, and putting it all together.
Q. How did the casting process work for a show like this?
McGill. This show required actors to show a range of emotion and intention during the audition process. Instead of casting each individual part, we decided to cast an ensemble and then took a couple of weeks to read and choose the short plays that worked best with our actors. This is truly an ensemble show, so there are no lead roles.
Q. What do you think audiences will like best about this show?
McGill. The audience will love the interactive nature of the show and choosing the order in which the plays are performed. This play also contains 30 different micro plays which vary in style, genre, and aesthetic. There are experimental surreal and poetic plays in this lineup that many audiences would not be introduced to if they only see traditional theater.
Q. Anything else you'd like readers to know about this show?
McGill. This is a type of theater that many people have never experienced before, and may never again if they don't actively seek it out. Neo-futurism is about the here and now, and audiences are a part of what makes these plays work. There is no suspension of disbelief. There is no fourth wall, which keeps actors open and honest with the audience.
It is best suited for ages 10 and older.
This play has its roots in Chicago, as it was performed by the Neo-Futurists from 1988-2016 in an ever-changing set of plays each week. The tradition is carried on by the same company today, but with a different title, "The Infinite Wrench."