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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 14, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 02
14/48 festival a sold-out success
Arts & Entertainment
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14/48 festival a sold-out success

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

14/48
January 14-15
ACT Theatre
It's insanely fast theater time again. Seven writers get a theme on Thursday, write overnight, and give their 10-minute play to seven directors and a bunch of actors, who rehearse on Friday and perform twice on Friday night. Then they pull a new theme and the writers write overnight and present seven more plays for Saturday rehearsal and performance!

Last weekend, 14/48 sold out! That's not unusual for this very popular stunt theater. Part of the reason is that some of the most revered actors, writers, directors, musicians, and theater technicians love doing these weekend marathons, so the work can be extraordinary.

There are two special elements that are always present: The energy and love of creativity that is displayed by every (usually exhausted) participant, and a fabulous band that sounds great, even though they only play together in that configuration for that weekend.

On January 8, the theme for the evening was 'bedtime stories.' Themes are one of the crapshoots. Sometimes, they can hamstring a writer by being too cliché and all the writers seem to go for similar types of plays. This theme tapped into a fairly wide-open creative streak.

The very first piece, The Story of Us, written by Patrick Scott, directed by Erin Kraft, and performed by Jason Harber, Andrew Litzky, Shawn Law, and Amy Love, showed the best of the form. This 10-minute heartstring-tugger was about a trio of armed services buddies who had to show up at a widow's house to deliver a message from her deceased husband/service member. They are awkward and ham-handed, yet try to 'act out' a story he had written for her so he could let her know she shouldn't be angry with him for dying, and he's out in the stars looking over her.

It was funny and sweet and reassuring. Love, as the widow, displayed deep emotional torment over losing her husband and being angry at his absence. The three buddies want to help, but are clearly outclassed by her needs. The script was tight and satisfying and the perfect length.

Not every piece can be like that, but that's part of the charm of the event. Everyone hopes that it's all great, but what are the odds that something done in 24 hours will reach that high a level of polish?

Cover Me, written by Scot Augustson, had one of the most interesting premises of the evening. It was a serious exploration of a young adult (40s) with an Alzheimer's-like memory disease and his young wife, who take solace in using another man to cope. Less like a fully complete 10-minute piece and more like a prologue to a longer work, this was an example of what can come from the creative process: the promise of something rich in the future, with a real possibility of a subject that is unique and interesting for the stage.

By far the most outrageous play of the night was from sci-fi/fantasy inventor Scotto Moore. His Coming to a Conclusion explored the pleasures and dangers of an infomercial-orderable 'orgasm machine.' It was hysterical, since all five actors - Charles Leggett, Patrick Lennon, Daniel Christensen, Heather Gautchi, and Llysa Holland - had to orgasm on stage, and a great cautionary tale at the same time. What if you had a machine that allowed you to orgasm as much as you wanted? (No, not a vibrator. This was one where you stuck your hand in and it affected your whole body.) One of the funnier moments was when the main character said she'd checked the online comments, which invariably said NOT to buy the product as it was too dangerous.

Your opportunity to see what's next can be obtained by going to www.1448fest.com or calling ACT Theatre's box office at 206-292-7676.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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