Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hooray for Kamikazes!

At last we've arrived at one of the high festival seasons of the year. No, not the solstice; that's another blog! It's 14/48, the world's quickest theater festival! The four weekends of 14/48 each year are among our favorite theater events.

Nick Edwards is a hilarious pirate.
The usual concept is to choose a theme, send seven playwrights home Thursday evening to write a one-act play about that theme, have seven directors cast those new works the next morning, bring musicians and designers in and watch everyone work together until the plays are performed Friday evening. Then they choose a theme Friday, send the writers home again, and do it all over. Fourteen world premiere plays in 48 hours. This weekend they're raising the stakes a little. In the "Kamikaze" version of 14/48, everyone involved shows up not knowing what their function is going to be! Someone who is usually an actor or designer could draw "playwright" out of the hat, or someone who only plays kazoo might end up in the band. The band employed kazoos for several tunes last night.

It all sounds insane, and it probably is, but it typically produces some enjoyable theater. Last night's lineup was solid from first to last.

We bumped into Ashley Bagwell outside the theater as we arrived. He was very tired and more than a little nervous. He drew one of the playwright straws, though he'd never written a play before. His "Horton's Last Leg" was the first play of the evening, a touching tale directed by Lyam White and featuring K. Brian Neel, who was fantastic as Horton, the pooch who was about to be put down. The last play on the program was "The Final Curtain" by Beth Peterson, directed by Mark Fullerton. This play was laugh-out-loud funny, a script self-referential to 14/48, featuring Wayne Rawley as the pompous and sadistic king who sends his motley band of players home to work up something new for tomorrow. I also especially enjoyed "On Three," written by Chris Haddad and directed by Brandon Felker, about the remote mass suicide of a trio of World of Warcraft players; Beth Raas-Bergquist's character was going to off herself using an electric chair she'd purchased because of its five-star reviews on Amazon Prime. Think about that for a minute. Also loved "The Medallion's Clasp," by Mik Kuhlman directed by Susanna Burney, because Nick Edwards and Scotto Moore are two hilarious pirates.

Tonight's theme is Occam's Razor. Seven more world premieres coming up at 8pm at the Erickson Theatre Off Broadway. We'll be there.

1 comment:

Sweetie the Official Scorer said...

I LOVED Horton's Last Leg. I've been through that vet appointment a couple of times; Ashley's play gently and knowingly poked a little fun at the attachment we have to our pets and the perspective they might have of us. It was hilarious and bittersweet and touching. Allison Strickland was great as the wacky vet. Ashley you should write more plays!

I also loved Coincident and Moon Beam.

The Final Curtain may have been the best, well, final curtain of all the 14/48s I've seen. Alyssa Keene is a-w-e-s-o-m-e.