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Nicholas Johnson, Mitchell Scholar '05 and Dublin Theatre Director, to Produce Short Play by Neil Ferron, Mitchell Scholar '11

100 Minutes 2009 is the upcoming annual production of "ten new plays about now" produced by Dublin's Painted Filly Theatre, in a format conceived by artistic director (and theatre founder) Nicholas Johnson (Mitchell '05). Through an international juried writing competition for ten-minute plays, the company selects ten pieces that respond to the current political or cultural moment. An ensemble of ten actors then perform all ten plays in a single evening. This year, one of the selections is a new play by Neil Ferron (Mitchell '10), "We Are Not Blinking." Ferron's play was selected by the jury from more than 80 submissions from around the world. This is the fourth annual 100 Minutes production in Dublin, and the first that has received funding from the Arts Council.

We Are Not Blinking follows ten year-old Suzie Jenkin's attempt to become a Hollywood sex idol by creating a short film with the help of her classmate, Charlie, and her mute neighbor, Mr. Ahmed, in hopes that some day Danny Kelly, the cutest boy in the fourth grade, will marry her. Her whimsical and dark film weaves together Inauguration Balls, CIA black sites, and the pangs of unrequited love.

The piece was inspired by a conversation Neil had with Nick Johnson this past December about Nick's next big project: the 100 Minutes festival. Ten new plays, no longer than ten minutes each, that somehow speak to "now." "Hearing that last bit, I knew I wanted to submit a piece that addressed US-sponsored torture, something exploring how news coverage filters down to children and how they interpret it," Neil said. Two weeks later, he submitted a draft of "We Are Not Blinking" to the Painted Filly's independent reading committee and in mid-January he received a call from Nick informing him that the panel had selected it as one of the ten shorts to be produced. "We Are Not Blinking" and nine other shorts will be produced by the Painted Filly at Samuel Beckett Theatre in Dublin from Wednesday, March 18th to Saturday, March 28th, 7:30 PM nightly, except Sunday, with matinees at 2:30 PM on March 21st and 28th.