Xavier Gould and Alexis Robinson stage their Mt. A directorial debuts
Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter and the Neo-Futurists’ Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind will be featured in Motyer-Fancy Theatre’s upcoming “An Evening of One Acts.” The student-directed productions embody themes of humour, absurdism and mystery.
Fourth-year drama student Alexis Robinson chose to direct a selection of 20 plays from Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. The hour-long show, written by experimental theatre troupe the Neo-Futurists, consists of 30 plays of two minutes each.
Audience participation is key in Robinson’s production. Each night the audience will receive the list of plays by title, with a number attached to each. The audience will choose 12 of the 20 plays for the actors to perform that evening by calling out numbers of their choice. The chosen scenes and their order of presentation will therefore vary according to the whims of the audience, making each night a unique experience.
“There’s an aspect of improv to it, just in the randomness of what could happen, but it’s very rehearsed improv,” said Robinson.
While not her first time directing, this production is Robinson’s first at Mount Allison, though she has had previous experience with the material.
“This was the first piece of theatre I ever interacted with when I started getting into theatre,” said Robinson. “I did some workshopping with it before, so I have a little bit of experience.”
Absurdism is a key aspect of Ro-binson’s production, and the variety of plays gives the audience the ability to balance and curate the production’s absurd, humourous and profound moments.
“The whole basis of this play is based on aspects of absurdism and Dadaism, so all of the plays are kind of silly and odd, but they have some message or some heart to them,” said Robinson. “Some are funny, some are a little more thoughtful, but they’re all really weird but interesting.”
Similarly, Gould’s interest in ab-surdist theatre motivated his play of choice, The Dumb Waiter.
“Part of the reason I chose this play was because of the balance between humour and mysterious themes,” said Gould.
“You have these two real characters in a real space under a real situation, with absurdist events that are happening,” said Gould. “And further than that, the situation they are put in at the end reflects the absurdity of life.”
The play revolves around two hitmen named Ben and Gus, played respectively by second-year students Erik Garf and Gabriel Christie. Part of the show’s humour comes from the characters’ conflicting personalities; Ben is neat and in control, while Gus is messy and doesn’t have his life together.
“Pinky and the Brain,” said Garf. “That’s exactly what our characters are. Pinky and the Brain with guns.”
The relationship between Ben and Gus is central to the play, and Gould noted this focus on relationships in both his and Robinson’s productions.
“We see with [Alexis’s play] a bunch of relationships, but just snippets of those,” said Gould. “And with [The Dumb Waiter] you see a more in-depth analysis of one relationship.”
Though Gould is an experienced actor, The Dumb Waiter is his directorial debut.
“You just want everyone involved to succeed, and you just want the best for everyone,” said Gould. “And that’s been a challenge: to make sure everyone’s on the same page and everyone’s on the right track.”
“An Evening of One Acts” will run Nov. 26 to 28, starting each night at 8 p.m.