Too Much Light Makes
The Baby Go Blind…

… a fun show by Westmount’s Dramatis Personae

By Byron Toben

Westmount’s community theatre, Dramatis Personae, is adept at finding scripts that best utilize its amateur but talented performers, who, like the Montreal Lyric Singers, actually pay dues to subsidize their chosen hobby.

Such a script (of sorts) was Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind in its recent spring production. This was a group of 25 “Neo-Futurist” plays to be done in 60 minutes by Chicago based Greg Allen. He is an experienced playwright, director and teacher who has also created and dubbed a style called Neo Futurist.

Theatre history has many examples of styles (as opposed to forms – Aristotle’s list of only 4 forms still governs – Tragedy, Comedy, Melodrama and Drama).

For a community group, this piece is perfect as it allows for roughly equal on-stage time for all the members of the troupe.

However, there are at least a dozen styles – Naturalism, Realism, Expressionism and many associated with specific creators or practitioners such as theatre of Absurd (Ionesco), Cruelty (Artaud), Epic (Brecht) and Poor (Growotski). In a way, this reminds me of what, in marketing, is called “product differentiation”.

In any event, Allen’s Neo-Futurism has had great success in Chicago, New York and San Francisco. To me, it seems to be a series of ultra-short sketch improvs with a gimmick.

But they are fun and that’s good.

For a community group, this piece is perfect as it allows for roughly equal on-stage time for all the members of the troupe.

The actors consist of Phillip Dumouchel, Jenny Chopra, Rashed Chowdhury, Ann Elbourne, Ann Gamsa, Greg James, Malcolm McRae, Ellen Rubin and Karen Sauder.

Dramatis Personae- WestmountMag.ca

Strung on a wire on high, are individual numbers from 1 to 25. Audience involvement has it calling out which number of the 25 titles listed will be enacted next.

Several of the titles seemed to be related to famous plays – but they weren’t or very very loosely. Examples: Macbeth (Shakespeare), The Lower Depths (Gorky), Cyrano (Rostand), Hair Director (rock musical).

Others were more prosaic or whimsical – Flights of Fancy, Give and Take, Lip Readers, Flammable Pants, Three-Year-Old Interview.

All was fast and furious so I couldn’t keep up my notes. I especially enjoyed number 17, Blind Date, wherein the literally sight-deprived date kept pouring tea onto everything but the cup.

All this, well orchestrated, as usual, by professional director Christopher Moore.

Shout out to often over-looked sound and lighting maestro Roger Jochym.

Ann Page, who founded Dramatis Personae back in 1985, would be proud of its sustained existence and varied programming.

Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind ended on June 15.

For more info and future shows visit www.theatrewestmount.com

Images: courtesy of Dramatis Personae

Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.ca

Read more articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

Last Minute Deals

There are no comments

Add yours