The Orange Coast College Repertory Theatre production of “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes” takes the audience for a ride.
As the play’s title indicated, the performance, directed by visual and performing arts professor Rick Golson, consists of 30 two-minute plays completed in exactly 60 minutes. The plays include comic, tragic, political and abstract pieces.
Anticipation begins upon arrival, where pre-show music fills the front of house and lobby with an eclectic and hilarious playlist. Cast members and guests dance and sing along in unison to songs such as “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones.
Before entering the house, guests were encouraged to write down “truths” on small pieces of paper then place them anonymously into a jar to possibly be chosen and read out loud by actors after the performance of the last two-minute play.
Unlike a traditionally staged play, “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” by playwright Greg Allen, involves audience participation, no fourth wall and extremely quick, if any, slight scene changes.
Hanging on a clothesline at the back of the stage are 30 sheets of paper labeled with a number on the front and the title of a play on the back.
The audience was instructed to shout out a number at the end of every scene. Whatever number is heard first, the actors ran about in what looks like a fun, unorganized frenzy, then pull down the numbered sheet from the clothesline. How the actors distinguished between which number they heard first is a mystery to me — and is all part of the fun.
This number determined which play the cast will perform next.
The play is non-stop from start to finish. The talented ensemble cast of OCC Repertory students portray a variety of emotions within each two-minute play, from the zaniness of a bizarre blind date scenario to an emotional gut-punch scene for the audience to reflect upon.
According to playwright Allen, also the founder of an experimental theater troupe called the Neo-futurists, the medium is designed to reflect what is going on now, because theater is going on now. Theater takes place in real time and space.
Within each performance throughout the show’s run, the audience had no idea what would happen next. “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” is the epitome of an experience of being in the moment for one, whole, entertaining hour.