Black Box Black Blocks / Black Box Black Blocks. Try saying that one after a couple of Cuervos.
More than a tongue-twister, BBBB is a contest that leads to a festival of theater and dance performances. The premise is this: Give local choreographers and playwrights the chance to create new works for a black box performance space (the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre), require that they use a minimalist set (three black cubes), hold them to a maximum performance time (20 minutes) and see what they produce.
According to producer Elisa Diehl, this year local creatives delivered a bountiful harvest of 32 plays and six dance pieces. Out of that cornucopia, a playbill of five plays and four dance works were selected.
Diehl created the BBBB showcase last year, taking her cue from mainland short play festivals. The creative challenge of these BBBB productions, however, is that the three cubes are required and are the only set pieces allowed on stage.
Diehl points out that although the festival has its roots in the Student Organization of Theatre and Dance at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, BBBB has widened its focus beyond the campus walls. “We have the added feature of being completely local,” Diehl said. “It’s a great community showcase.”