Dan Pickens and Hope Chamberlain in "Lip Readers," photo by Joe Saladino

The audience is in control, and anything can happen during 30 Plays in 60 Minutes, this fall’s production by the Saint Martin’s University theater arts department. The program hails from Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, created by Greg Allen. Its two-minute plays were written by The Neo-Futurists, a Chicago-based experimental-theater company founded by Allen. Directors for Saint Martin’s production include theater professor David Hlavsa, Brian Tyrrell and Shannon Winterfeld, a senior at Saint Martin’s.

“The audience gets to choose the order we do them in from a menu,” Hlavsa explained. “These are eight brave actors to do these plays in random order…Every rehearsal is a blast. I can’t wait to see how this works in front of an audience. It should be a lot of fun.”

The ensemble for Saint Martin’s production is Miranda Aguilar, Marcus Bufford, Hope Chamberlain, Alesha Garand, Dan Pickens, Rob Taylor, Jessica Varvil, and Shannon Winterfeld.

Hlavsa said The Neo-Futurists are dedicated to spontaneity, challenging cultural stereotypes, and a fresh, real-time connection with the audience. SMU is producing the show by special arrangement with the company. Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind was first produced in December 1988 and has been performed for 50 weekends each year ever since, making it the longest-running stage show in Chicago. In Chicago, on nights when the theater sells out fully, the company orders a pizza, and audience members select all the toppings but must share a single pie. It remains to be seen whether Hlavsa’s production will adhere to that tradition.

What: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes

Where: Kreielsheimer Arts Building, St. Martin’s University,
5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov, 11, 12 and 16-19;
2 p.m. Nov. 13

How much: $5-$15 (Nov. 16 and 17 are pay-what-you-will)

More information: 360-438-4345 | Brown Paper Tickets