Welcome Back! O’Kane Theatre’s ‘Too Much Light’ Takes Center Stage
By Sheryl E. Taylor
O’Kane Theatre’s production of “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes” runs Feb. 20 - 24.
It was February of 2018, when “Windy City Director” Greg Allen came to direct his original play, "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes.” Now a UHD tradition, this year marks the sixth year O’Kane Theatre has hosted this production. Even during the pandemic, the show went on via Zoom in 2021. (Allen had just left town in 2020 when COVID hit.)
Just a quick recap. So, what is this play about? Allen wanted to create an alternate experience in the theater world and founded ‘Neo-Futurism’ in 1988. “It’s the idea that theater, by its very nature, is about being in the here and now with the actual people who are present in the room,” said the international theater director who is based in Chicago. In “Too Much Light,” everything on stage is actual. The actors use the own names and speak their own personal truths. “We create actual interactive events with the audience through contemporary issues—social, political, dreams—a reflection of our actual lives.”
For this year’s Spring production, “We’re going to shake the structure up and turn it inside out,” said Allen. “It will continue to be very expressive of the lives of actual UHD students with audience interaction.” He added that every performance will have a different name and include random elements and that it may not be 30 plays in 60 minutes.
Allen noted that with a smaller cast, unlike previous performances, the goal remains the same.
“My approach to theater is always reflecting the actual lives of the performers, the community, and the world around us,” he said. “Whatever is going on in the world, from a Chinese balloon we’re shooting down to a pending election, we’re going to respond to it and put it into the show. We are always active participants in the world and our lives, and we are not a voyeur.”
Allen's play was the longest running show in Chicago’s history. His last two big shows were in France and Norway.
O'Kane Theatre will host five performances from Feb. 20 to 24. Admission is free for all lunchtime performances at 1:30 p.m. and on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.