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OSU students pack 30 plays into one

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Event photo for "30 Plays in 60 Minutes." Credit: Courtesy of Ally Davis

Event photo for “30 Plays in 60 Minutes.” Credit: Courtesy of Ally Davis

Be it tragedy, drama or comedy, Ohio State theater students’ production of “30 Plays in 60 Minutes” aims to include a performance for everyone.

“Thirty Plays” will be performed in the Drake Performance and Event Center on Monday and Tuesday as a part of the Department of Theatre’s completely student-run performance Lab Series. The production is an example of neo-futurism, an innovative theater genre that seeks to separate illusion from the stage. Each play will last up to two minutes and will involve the actor(s) and the stage.

Ally Davis, a third-year in theater and the producer of “30 Plays,” as well as a writer and performer in the production, describes neo-futurism as a movement of theater working to disprove the idea that traditional theatrical conventions, such as costumes and characters, are necessary in a theater production.

“Theater can be art that is true to you,” Davis said. “You can be yourself, and you can wear what clothes you want and you can write and perform what you want, and that can be theater too.”

Davis was first introduced to neo-futurism after watching The Neo-Futurists, a Chicago-based theater company, perform.

“Their show is called ‘Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind’ and they aim to perform 30 plays in an hour,” Davis said. “All of those plays are written by members of their ensemble, and they don’t wear costumes, they don’t play any other characters; they’re just themselves.”

Davis said that watching “Too Much Light” inspired her to purchase the rights for the idea of “30 Plays” from The Neo-Futurists and set out to produce a show similar to the group’s trademark production.

As one of four undergraduate theater students writing and performing pieces for “30 Plays,” Davis has personally written 10 different plays to be performed during the 60-minute production.

“When you see the play in Chicago, they talk about how their plays are funny, sad, political, experimental,” Davis said. “I think that is the beauty of this show; you spend just an hour of your time but you get 30 different, but still poignant, pieces of theater. All four of us have made it a point that what we write needs to have that kind of dynamic so that we can give the audience a variety of feelings throughout the hour.”

Jennifer Schlueter, founding coordinator for the Lab Series and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Theatre, said that “30 Plays” is a good candidate for the Lab Series because neo-futurism is something that students are interested in right now.

“Neo-futurism, as described by Greg Allen who founded (The Neo-Futurists), emphasizes actors, creators and the stories they want to tell,” Schlueter said. “I think, especially for our program here, which has a focus on actor-driven new works creation, neo-futurism is a good fit.”

Davis said she hopes that audience members leave “30 Plays” with a newfound passion and appreciation for theater.

“Because there are 30 plays performed in these 60 minutes, every single audience member is bound to love and be impacted by at least one of them, if not 15 or all of them,” Davis said. “If they can pinpoint in these 30 shows which ones they truly love, then maybe they can grow more passionate about theater by knowing what it is about that art that inspired them.”

“30 Plays in 60 Minutes” will be performed on Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the New Works Lab in the Drake Performance and Event Center.

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