Sunday, August 2, 2009

14/48 Fest a whirlwind of fun

In the time it took me to drum up the energy to knock out this post, the company of 14/48, The World's Quickest Theater Festival wrote, cast, directed, rehearsed, scored, staged, and performed 14 world-premiere one-act plays. We watched all 14 at Seattle's On the Boards theater this weekend.

The process is amazing. The ensemble gathers Thursday evening and picks a theme for the first night's plays, drawn out of a hat. Seven playwrights take off and write their plays. At 8 a.m. the next day seven directors pick the plays at random. Cast names are drawn out of a hat. At 8 p.m. the curtain goes up on the first show. All seven are performed. Audience members throw themes into a giant ice cream cone. One is picked for the next day's theme. The process is repeated. By 10 p.m. Saturday we'd seen 14 new plays.

Check the 14/48 blog for a blow-by-blow of how the weekend happened.

Friday. Theme: My Turn. Favorite shows: It's Your Turn by Jim Jewell, directed by Scott Francis. Two couples (Annie Jantzer, Carolyn Monroe, Trick Danneker, Nik Perleros) play the game of life and have to reveal some uncomfortable truths. Single's Night by Becky Bruhn, directed by Aimee Bruneau. Jason Harber and Erik Van Beauzekom delight as two Star Trek geeks trying to pick up women in a bar. They wind up leaving together. Calvin's Not Here by Erin Stewart, directed by Tyrone Brown. Lyam White is especially creepy as a maniacal salesman giving an Amway-esque pitch to two new neighbors. Special mention to Anton Checkov's The Cherry Orchard by Darian Lindle, directed by Katjana Vadeboncoeur. You've gotta love a show where the nun and the chicken run off together in the end.

Saturday. Theme: No good deed goes unpunished. Favorite shows: Mr. Jibbers by Erin Stewart, directed by Tyrone Brown. Luck of the draw placed this writer/director combo together again for another creepy turn, this one set as a puppet show. Mark Fullerton is incredible as a little kid worried about tomorrow's baseball game, and can't sleep because he's tormented alternately by his coach/dad and stuffed friend Mr. Jibbers, who demands songs, cheese, Scotch, and hot Asian sluts. A scream! Great Expectations! by Darian Lindle, directed by Makaela Pollock. Harber, Pattie Miles Van Beauzekom, and Ryan Higgins are a competition choir team whose shot at the championship is undone when Harber reveals their "secret weapon" -- Guitarzan -- to a young lady on a competing choir. The fit Higgins throws on hearing the news is priceless! Mr. McGregor's Garden by Rachel Atkins, directed by Katjana Vadeboncoeur. A troop of leaf-raking, window-cleaning, toilet scrubbing do-gooder scouts narrowly escape being baked into a pie. Honorable mention to Erik Van Beauzekom for a delightful turn as God-as-Vito Corleone in Calling the Marker by Jim Jewett, and to MJ Sieber for the line "You dropped the champagne of beers into my magic hole" in Inanimacy. It's also damn funny when the living beer can runs off with Coochie, the living stuffed animal, and the end of the play.

They do it all again next weekend. So go!

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