“Brainstorm” cast plays themselves

Hastings College’s first theater production of the year, “Brainstorm,” is showing this weekend at the Scott Studio Theatre. The show is directed by Sarah Nottage-Tacey, adjunct professor of theater, and was done in collaboration with the Department of Visual Arts. The show tells the audience about the teenage brain and development, highlighting the importance of the 86 billion neurons forming connections within the forming brains. The script for “Brainstorm” draws on the cast’s own pasts, working off of their experiences growing up. This became a new role for cast members, as it is not common to play themselves in a production.

“That was incredibly unique because I am used to being given a character,” said Junior Amelia Amicarella. “It was a sometimes difficult process because you are used to doing things a certain way.”

After casting the roles for the show, the cast took the blueprint for the script, written by Ned Glasier, Emily Lim and Company Three, and used prompts to fill in their own stories to make the show. The first week was spent working on the script and finding ways to incorporate audience participation. “Brainstorm” breaks the fourth wall, something that Nottage-Tacey is excited to see happen for both the cast and the audience. 

“It will be interesting to see from the audience standpoint how they will feel being a part of it,” Nottage-Tacey said. “We try to make it a safe enough environment that people feel comfortable participating.”

The purpose of the audience participation in this show is to make sure that everyone feels like they are a part of the whole experience. That is done because by being in the show, they have the chance to feel the energy coming from the teenagers.

“We talk about how difficult it is to be a teenager and people that are older kind of push that aside and say, ‘oh you don’t have real problems,’” said Senior Basil Rabayda, who plays himself in the show. “But people whose brains are developing at that age, this show really puts a lot of spotlight on that. It is really hard to be a teenager at that time… The show really highlights that.”

The show is also meant to fit with this year’s Hastings College Lecture Series theme of Innovation, so students used their iPads to collaborate on the script and record videos that are seen in the show. Also seen in the show are projections used as visual aids. Some of these projections were created by the 2-D Animation class, taught by Sara Gevurtz, assistant professor of digital art.

In order to get the most out of the show, Amicarella said that the audience members have to come in with an open mind and a willingness to be vulnerable. She also says that while many in the audience may not be teenagers anymore, they have still gone through that process of change and need to remember what it was like to be a teenager. 

The production is running tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m.