Audience choice is the driving force behind LAB! Theatre’s production “Who Ate My Sandwich? 30 Plays in 60 Minutes.”
“This concept was created by Greg Allen, who started the neo-futurist theatre in Chicago in 1988,” said Kevin Spellman, artistic director and a sophomore dramatic art major.
SEE THE SHOWS
Time: Today, March 21 and March 27 at 8 p.m.
Location: Center for Dramatic Art, room 104
The idea came from the Italian futurists of the early 1900s, he said. The concept is to take a longer play and make it shorter, and the actors cannot play anyone but themselves.
For LAB!’s show, the cast wrote about 80 plays and picked 30 to perform tonight.
After an hour, even if they are in the middle of the play, they will stop performing, Spellman said.
Then at the end of tonight’s performance, two dice will be rolled.
The number they add up to will be the number of new plays that will be added to the second performance on March 21. The new plays will replace some of the plays performed tonight.
“We like to add an element of chance,” Spellman said.
One of the performers, Katie Perry, a senior sports medicine major, said she saw a version of “30 Plays in 60 Minutes” in Chicago.
“It changed my life,” she said.
“When Kevin decided to do (the show), I had to do it.”
The room is set up with a clothes line strung up, and 30 numbers hanging on it.
“The audience has a playbill called ‘the menu’ with the titles of the pieces on it,” Spellman said.
“When we shout ‘curtain’ the audience can shout out the number of the title they find interesting.”
The plays are full of puns and jokes and sometimes a bit of improvisation.
Some plays affect the outcome of other plays, so the order in which they are performed matters, and every night will be different.
While the overall feel of the play is humorous, some of the pieces are more serious and heartfelt, said Zach Meicher-Buzzi, a dramatic art and philosophy major.
“We have some dramatic pieces and some silly pieces, but that’s just life,” he said.
Meicher-Buzzi said his favorite piece is the title piece “Did You Eat My Sandwich?,” where a cast member has to figure out which other cast member ate their sandwich.
Spellman and Perry said their favorite piece is titled “A Play for Person 51 in an Audience of 50.”
In this production, the actors have to run out of the room and go outside.
Most of the production’s humor comes from watching the performers interact with each other as they jump up to grab the number of the play they will perform next and hurry to set up each play because the show is a race against the clock, Meicher-Buzzi said.
“Most of rehearsal has been learning to roll with the punches, and learning to be ready for anything,” Meicher-Buzzi said.
“You have to stop the show after 60 minutes.”
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