Oberlin Blogs

All in Your Mind

April 9, 2024

Kate Magnacca ’26

Hello again! I am writing to you from backstage in Wilder Main. We’re midway through our first tech run of All in Your Mind, and I am enjoying a rare break from being onstage while listening to my insanely talented castmates’ gorgeous voices soar overhead. 

You might remember from my The World is Only Magic post that I love original shows, especially Obie ones. Nothing can compare to the magic of a first read-through of a brand new musical-- and it is magic. You can feel it thrumming in the air, in the chills you get from the script, in the connections you make with your fellow performers. My experiences with originals might be one of my favorite things about Oberlin.

This semester’s original is called All in Your Mind. The synopsis: Twenty years from now, as Americans struggle to stay afloat in an increasingly volatile economy, a new technology emerges, allowing everyday people to rent out a portion of their brain’s processing power to a company called MindShare. As more people become convinced of the technology’s adverse psychological effects, the eccentric group of friends behind the MindShare Oppositional Action Network plan direct actions against the company. But when the group becomes close with Lucy, an artificial intelligence trying to find her way in a world of humans, they must reevaluate their priorities and acknowledge the ways in which they, too, have been complacent with MindShare’s actions. All in Your Mind is a musical about the dangers of technological innovation in a society obsessed with capital, but it is also a celebration of society’s unavoidable interconnectedness.

rehearsal photo

This story is such a incredible work of art, and I am endlessly in awe of the creativity and raw emotionality behind it. The writing continues to give me chills, even after something like 100 hours of cumulative rehearsal time. I can physically feel Joey’s beautiful words and the Jakes’ music hitting my heart every time. 

I play Lucy, the first AI with human emotion. So much about this character is special to me. Perhaps the most obvious being that this is my first time representing a queer woman onstage. Where I come from, this is pretty unheard of. Queerness, especially among women, is not something I’ve ever gotten to be a part of bringing to a stage, or even seen onstage. As you can imagine, this is a big deal for me as a queer woman and feels extremely precious. Beyond that, Lucy is a fascinating character whom I love very much. I find her arc to be a beautiful celebration of the human experience in all its sorrows and joys.

While portraying a character this complex and this close to home, the supportive environment of this show has been utterly vital. It’s allowed me to go places I’ve never been with my acting before, to tap into a vulnerability I didn’t know I was capable of. Our team consists of some of the most caring, compassionate, considerate, and lovely people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. To illustrate: I’ve been taking notes throughout the process in preparation for this post, and after the very first rehearsal I had already written “I have never felt so accepted and empowered in my work,” and “wow I feel so full of love and adoration and gratitude for this team already.” I cannot express my gratitude and admiration for their composure, creative genius, and genuine care for the actors and crew. Each rehearsal has brought a sense of absolute presence, belonging, and unfiltered joy unlike anything else. I will miss this show so dearly.

If you’re on campus this weekend, please come see this show. Please come laugh and cry with us. Please come see this beautiful thing we’ve brought to life and share in the magic of it all. Come see how, as the show says, “all of this is not just in our minds.” Tix here.

show poster

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