by Andrea Newell
The Trident Theatre Company of Buena Vista High School will take a unique experience for the community to The Loft Orpheum Theater, 413 E. Main St.
The drama students will exemplify the live theatrical experience in four shows Nov. 7-9 through “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: 30 Neo-Futurist Plays in 60 Minutes.”
“This is a really cool project, a really fun, unique process,” director Tanner Oharah said. “This is 30 plays in 60 minutes, but we started with a list of about 100 that we narrowed down to those 30.”
Not only that, the crew has actually been practicing 48 different plays that the students selected from a collection of comic, tragic, political, personal and other kinds of plays.
The plays will take place in a random order, and at the end of each night the audience will get to roll dice to determine the plays performed the next time. With the extra 18 plays at their disposal, this makes each performance a new, unique experience.
“It’s so unique in its process of having multiple plays,” Oharah said. “Each play has meaning and a reason behind it. Instead of finding the overall meaning of your show, you have to find meaning in each piece of your show and then let the audience decipher the meaning of the overall thing because it’s going to change every night … with the order they select the plays in.
“Even if we didn’t change the plays, the audience picks the order they come out in. That changes the meaning if you put one play next to another play. It’s really neat.”
Some time ago, Oharah looked through a list of award-winning plays from competitions around Colorado and came across this script of plays. He remembered seeing this one among the top award-winning student productions, and he saw this as a great opportunity for a play that would work out on something different from the usual constructed stage they use.
This would allow them to load their set into other locations, not just The Loft but also Cripple Creek High School. “We saw that opportunity and got really excited about it,” he said.
For the most part, the students are playing themselves, senior Gabriella Wagner said. “Everything we do is ‘true’ for us. It’s really interesting. At one point I’m playing somebody different, and the next minute I’m playing a different part of the character of myself, and it’s really cool.”
This production has been a very different kind of experience for Wagner and her peers, one that she is happy to be a part of.
“There are so many different ways you can do so many different things,” she said. “That’s what Mr. Oharah asks us to do, to look at something, do it one way, and then he wants us to change it and do it a different way and give it deeper meaning.
“We’ve been doing scene analysis of this, and it’s just a lot of fun because there are so many ways you could portray it and so many ways you could not portray it. It’s definitely an experience. It’s so interactive with the audience too, which is cool.”
Wagner said she regrets not being in drama for the entirety of high school, starting out in the spring term of her sophomore year in “The Addams Family Musical.”
“I absolutely fell in love with it,” she said. “It’s really fun to go on stage to portray another character other than yourself and let the audience feed off of your energy and then you feed off of theirs. It’s a really magical thing, and I fell in love with doing it.”
With the Trident Theatre Company since her freshman year, senior and stage manager Mya Baldwin will be doing some acting as well as handling props and helping out backstage.
“It’s so cool. It’s probably one of the coolest ones I’ve ever seen just because it’s so different. There are different parts to it. They’re fun to do,” she said.
Shows will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 and at 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 9.
Tickets are $9 each “plus the roll of a six-sided dice,” Oharah said. “You’re coming in with cash to pay for $10, $11, $12, $13, $14 or $15. You won’t know until you roll that dice what you’re paying.”