The following is a reimagining of an actual group discussion that occurred at approximately 9:10AM on a Monday morning in a First Grade classroom on the West Side of Chicago:
“Who played the baby, Mr. Kim?”
“There isn’t actually a baby–“
“–Then why did you say it went blind?”
“Well, there once was a child with autism who would throw light bulbs against a wall, while repeating over and over, ‘Too much light makes the baby go blind.’ “
“I’ll take one more question.”
Cue spotlight on a seven-year-old with a raised hand and a curious look.
“What does it mean?”
“Could you be more specific?”
“Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. What does it mean?”
“Gosh, I can’t speak to what that child meant, really. Some children with autism have a condition called echolalia where they repeat words and phrases that they’ve heard before. So maybe their parent warned them not to stare at the sun for too long. Or it might have been a random string of words that the child came up with. Children with autism have little to no problem pronouncing words clearly, but they struggle to use language in a way that makes sense to others.”
“Ooooooh, I get it now.”
Slow fade on a seven-year-old with a knowing smile and a zeal of zebras galloping through his mind’s eye.
Come join Ida, John, Leah, Lily, Nick, Trevor, and me this weekend as we debut 8 new plays that promise to grapple with matters of no less import than the meaning of art.