14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival has always been about making it up as you go along—theater people rehearsing, designing, and performing 14 short plays in 48 hours. It's a lot of theater with the lifespan of a mayfly. This year, they've added a new phase to the life cycle: criticism. I'll be at shows this weekend, live-reviewing the short plays in either 14 or 48 words and posting them on this post and the 14/48 blog.
And we're back! The action starts at 8. The first play is The Lighthouse Keeper by Juliet Waller Pruzan; directed by Amy Poisson; starring Paul Mullin, Brandon J. Simmons, Erin Bryn Fetridge, Allison Standley, and Samie Detzar.
I'm sitting in the light booth with a beer and ready to knock out 14 or 48 words in real time. (I changed the format from last night's 14 words or 48 characters—the latter is easier for me but unfair to the artists.) It's an experiment in knee-jerk reactions and pressure-cooker restrictions.
The theme tonight is "delicious indiscretions." I plan on enjoying some before the night is over. The curtain speech by Matthew Richter is coming in 5, 4, 3, 2...
Opening Remarks by Matthew Richter in 14 Words
14/48’s like cracking an egg or cutting wood—the magic of seeing the new.
The Lighthouse Keeper in 48 Words by Juliet Waller Pruzan directed by Amy Poisson performed by Paul Mullin, Brandon J. Simmons, Erin Bryn Fetridge, Allison Standley, and Samie Detzar
A queen visits a faithful lighthouse keeper. Classic Waller Pruzan twisted mythos. The angels are in the details: keeper sometimes directs enemy sailors onto rocks so their salty blood mixes with the salty sea, her parents practice “whale dentistry” in a small boat. A surprisingly rich few minutes.
Desperately Seeking Rita in 14 Words by Stephanie Timm directed by Meghan Arnette performed by Bobby Temple, Ryan Higgins, Keith Dahlgren, Carter Rodriquez
Good flight attendant line: “We’re going to have a slight crash landing tonight.” Silver lining.
Cravings in 48 Words by Doug Willott directed by Kate Jaeger performed by Daniel Chercover and Tonya Andrews
Old couple squabbles over his eating sweets despite diabetes. Sitcom comedy: woman is censorious, man is indulgent. Viagra jokes, lines like “I spent my whole life being handsome for you and this is what I get?,” and slow pacing. Shorter version: oldsters iz funny! Better luck next time.
Faithful Voice in 48 Words by Eric Lane Barnes directed by Rob Raas-Bergquist performed by Alexander Samuels, Kaleb Hagen Kerr, Renata Friedman, and Lyam White
Christian vocal trio (Kerr, Friedman, Samuels) reminiscing about their career like VH1 Behind the Music: pancakes and coffee instead of cocaine and whiskey. Then innocent licking-pancake-syrup-off-fingers leads to threeway (with 14/48 band playing porn music in A minor) and eventual ostracism from Church. Sweet, sad, and lovely. A+!
Gingerbread Girl in 48 Words by Daniel Tarker directed by Jaime Roberts performed Rhonda J. Soikowski, Michael Patten, Christine White, and Harry Todd Jamieson
Sex and sibling rivalry in an Italian family bakery. The best bit is a tech effect: fantasy gingerbread girl (an unusually high-voiced Soikowski) levitating out of dough bucket via ACT’s under-stage traps. Jealous sister destroys brother’s gingerbread girl by ravaging her into crumbs. Thin concept, but effervescent performances.
Quick Change in 48 Words by MJ Sieber directed by Andy Jensen performed by Sam Hagen, Lisa Branham, Libby Barnard
Grownup backstage shenanigans at a children’s theater: actors who took too much ecstasy, actors who fuck between scenes (“for a guy with such a tiny dick, he comes like a firehose!”). Solipsistic but entertaining. MJ is usually an actor, but is 2 for 2 this weekend in writing.
SHHHHHHH! in 14 Words by Celene Ramadan directed Tim Moore performed by Matthew Middleton, Aimee Bruneau, Helen Harvester, Katie Driscoll, Sara Mountjoy-Pepka
More theater solipsism, mocking iconic playwrights, Viewpoints, talky audience members. Inside baseball, but successful.
And we're done. I'm surprised I was able to hit every review this weekend in 14 or 48 words, in just a matter of minutes. Honestly, I didn't think it was possible.
But I suppose people express some variation of that sentiment at every 14/48.