Student Co-Director Shares Preview of Upcoming Theatre Production

Neo-futurist Experiment “Unlike Any Other Play”

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  • Senior Katie Downing is co-directing the upcoming theatre production along with Dr. Scott Cole, Associate Professor of Theatre.

  • “Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind” will be performed “in the thrust,” with the audience seated on stage during the performance.

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Samantha Hince, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va.- On Thursday, Feb. 20 the Bridgewater College Theatre Department will open their production of “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind.” The show is co-directed by Dr. Scott Cole, Associate Professor of Theatre, and Katie Downing, a senior theatre and English double major.

Downing shared that she acted in her first play when she was eleven years old. She continued her involvement in theatre through middle and high school, and upon arriving at Bridgewater College decided to major in theatre. Her experiences at Bridgewater have allowed her to branch out into other aspects of theatre, including set design, stage management, playwriting and directing. She said her favorite experience acting at Bridgewater was “The Children’s Hour,” during her sophomore year. 

Downing explained that this particular production is a result of the neo-futurist movement, which “sought to challenge typical theatre conventions.” The actors have rehearsed 30 separate plays, each of which range from 30 seconds to two minutes long. The goal is “30 Plays in 60 Minutes.”

The performance will require audience participation. Downing explained that each play will be assigned a number, and the audience will be asked to shout out a number between 1 and 30. The actors will then grab their props and get in position to perform that play. Some of the plays may even involve audience volunteers joining actors on stage. “It’s completely up to the audience, how much they participate,” Downing said. “Every night will look different. No two performances will be exactly the same.”

Downing said this has been her favorite directing experience so far. “It’s so different than any other play I’ve worked on. And I have such an amazing cast that has created this ensemble where they are genuinely having fun and bringing ideas to the play.”

“It’s literally so wild. From an actor’s perspective, you just never know what’s going to happen. It’s just a lot of fun. And it’s a challenge too, not having set times to do this and that. You’ve got to be on your feet and very open to whatever number is called and whatever plays you have to perform, ” said senior theatre and psychology double major MaryBeth Killian. 

“Be prepared for chaos and just the wildest energy you will ever feel. It’s going to be unlike any other play that you’ve seen here or anywhere else. And it’s going to be a lot of fun. Just be willing to accept that anything might happen,” said Downing. 

“Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” is free for students, faculty, and staff. The show will have performances in Cole Hall on Thursday, Feb. 20 through Saturday, Feb. 22 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. It is recommended for mature audiences only.