By Lily Belcher
At 7 o’clock on April 22 and 23, the curtain rose at the beginning of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, Durant Theatre Company’s first performance in front of a live audience in over a year. The adrenaline-filled performance by the cast of 20 Durant students lasted just an hour as the cast performed 30 audience interactive plays, ranging from thought-provoking monologues to comedic parodies of famous plays, such as Hamlet.
“It’s really exciting,” said actor Sydni Burge. “We all have a pretty equal part in the show and it’s like a big ensemble show that mostly relies on the audience being interactive, so it’s like a lot of fun, especially for cast members just to see people be excited about theater too because they get to be a part of it.”
At the beginning of the play, the cast asks the audience to call out a number between one and 30 to choose which play they would perform. They continue with the random audience selections throughout the show as the timer counts down on the side of the stage.
“It’s really fun,” said actor Jackson Hamilton. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of running back and forth; with the plays being random and in different orders every night, it’s a lot of ‘what are we doing now’ and it’s timed so you have to speed up.”
Troop 5444 completed the entire performance in the allotted hour both nights, an accomplishment for the entire cast, especially the students who made their stage debuts and the seniors who are leaving in May.
“[The seniors] definitely stepped up this year and this show is super senior-led because they’re the ones who pick all the numbers and it takes a lot of coordination,” said actress Isabelle Hoofnagle.
The show debuted on Durant’s stage in director Stephen Arment’s first year as a teacher and completed its second performance in 2021, five years later. In January, students auditioned and began rehearsals in February, working towards their exceptional performance at the end of April.
“The kids love being in it and the kids also love coming to see it,” said Arment. “It’s the kind of show that speaks to the high school audience more so than any other show. I’ve never done a show that’s so far reaching, as in, it reaches so many different types of high school students.”