Neo-Futurists politely invade Late Night Theatre with 'Too Much Light'

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Kevin C.K. Berg, (808) 956-2598
Director of Publicity, Department of Theatre and Dance
Posted: Nov 12, 2014

Performers go into the light in this Neo-Futurist show.
Performers go into the light in this Neo-Futurist show.

UH Mānoa’s Department of Theatre and Dance illuminates its 2014-15 Late Night Theatre season with “30 Plays from ‘Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes),’” an amalgamation of Neo-Futurist pieces directed by MFA Directing candidate Kevin C.K. Berg. Recommended for ages 17 and older, performances will take place at the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre on November 14, 15, 21 and 22 at 11 p.m. following the second Mainstage show, “The BFG.”

In this 60-minute torrent of images and ideas, performers seek to create a world in the theater that has no pretense or illusion, the world of Neo-Futurism. In this world you are who you are, you are where you are, you’re doing what you’re doing, and the time is now. No facade, no “suspension of disbelief,” no pretend. As Greg Allen, the founding director of the Neo-Futurists, has written, “Theater is the medium to reflect what is going on now, because theater is going on now . . . Neo-Futurism embraces the actual world around us and drags it kicking and screaming onto the stage where everyone can observe its hideous beauty and wrestle with its unfathomable contradictions.”

When questioned about his motives in choosing this project for Late Night, Berg said, “As an actor and director, I've always loved audience participation and interaction. I want the audience to be more than an observer, I want them to fulfill and enjoy their role as the final character. ‘Too Much Light’ definitely serves this purpose, inviting the audience in the moment and into the moment, where real dialogue and change occurs. ”

The format of the show is simple. A clothesline hangs above the stage with pages numbered 1 through 30 marked on them. Each audience member will receive a “menu” that has each play’s number and title. Whenever the word “curtain” is heard, the audience will shout out the number of the play they want to see next. An ensemble member, hearing a number, will jump up, grab the number, read the play title, and the next play begins. This ensures that the show is constantly changing from night to night, creating new and sometimes strange obstacles for the ensemble.

Performed by an ensemble of individuals from all walks of life, the plays featured are a mix of comedy, tragedy, farce, political commentary, mythological lore, urban legends and everything in between. The majority of the plays, written by The Neo-Futurists themselves, were actually chosen by the performers. Said Berg, “I had them choose plays that resonated with them, that they could see themselves writing if given the time and energy. It’s a difficult balance, being true to the moment and seeing yourself in another person’s material. And even though we’re working with material that’s already been created, I think we've made a nice equilibrium that rings true to Neo-Futurism because come show time, even we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Late Night Theatre is a student-driven low-tech program that promotes original or new works to the UHM campus community and beyond. The next Late Night Theatre production will be performed February 21 through March 1, 2015.

Tickets for “Too Much Light” will go on sale at the box office one hour before show time each performance night. Prices are $10 for general admission; $8 for UH faculty and staff, seniors, military and non-UHM students; and $5 for students with a valid Fall 2014 UHM photo ID (subject to availability). Latecomers may be admitted once the performance has begun, at their own risk. For more information, please visit or call the theater at (808) 956-7655.  For disability access, please call the theater.