Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

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Chicago’s Longest-Running Play at InsideOut

Ross Boissoneau - July 21st, 2014  

Starving for a bit of culture? One hour in Traverse City’s Warehouse District is all it takes.

“Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” is 30 two-minute plays performed in 60 minutes.

That’s right. Thirty plays in 60 minutes. Presented by the Traverse City-based theater troupe Parallel 45 at InsideOut Gallery, “Too Much Light…” is many things, but is definitely not traditional theater, said Erin Anderson, the company’s executive director.

“We look for things that are innovative, high energy, and a little non-traditional,” Anderson said.

“Too Much Light…” was written and is performed by the Neo-Futurists experimental theater group in Chicago to engage audiences in two new ways.

First, the audience determines the order in which the plays are presented.

Secondly, rather than pretending that the action on the stage is real, the plays are all set on the stage in front of the audience, and the characters are the actors themselves.

“They break down the wall [between actors and audience] immediately,” said Anderson. “It’s a unique take on theater.”

Engaging the audience in this way is challenging for the actors. They have to know their parts for whichever of the plays they are in. And they have to be ready to go onstage at a moment’s notice, as they never know in which order the plays will be presented.

It’s a formula that has worked successfully for 25 years.

“Too Much Light…” has not only won awards, but is the longest-running play in Chicago theater.

“It’s really fun,” said Anderson. “People go many, many times.”

The show will run July 25 and 26 and is being directed by Kit McKay, who cofounded Parallel 45 five years ago with Anderson.

The two had been friends since their high school days at Interlochen Arts Academy.

“She was in theater, and I’m a theater enthusiast,” said Anderson.

They were having dinner in Chicago and discussing future plans, including the possibility of this area someday supporting a professional theater group.

Then the twosome decided their conversation didn’t need to remain theoretical.

“We said, ‘Why someday? Let’s do it,’” she said. So Anderson and McKay combined their skills in fundraising and theater, respectively, enlisting like-minded friends and fellow professionals. The eight founding members all have Interlochen in common, whether attending the summer arts camp, the academy, and/or working there.

Parallel 45 presents three plays each year. While most of its presentations may not be quite as unconventional as “Too Much Light…” there are just as many experimental projects as classics.

So for every “Our Town,” there’s “The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan.”

One thing Anderson emphasizes is, that she doesn’t see Parallel 45 as being in competition with Old Town Playhouse. She says she sees the support for Old Town Playhouse as indicative of the region’s support for the arts in general and theater in particular.

“One question I’m asked is ‘What does a professional theater company mean?’ The short answer is we hire professional actors from around the world to come here. We pay them, the stage manager, the costumer, etc.,” she said.

Anderson says their desire is to create theater that is innovative. “Too Much Light...”, along with upcoming shows “The Oz Project” (a re-imagining of L. Frank Baum’s classic tale) and “Cyrano” demonstrate the possibilities inherent in the genre.

Ticket prices for the show are dicey, to say the least. Patrons must literally roll dice to determine their ticket price.

Curtain is 9pm, which while late by local standards, is still two or three hours earlier than the play is presented in Chicago and New York.

 
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