14/48…The World’s Quickest Theatre Festival

This last weekend was a three-day weekend because of Martin Luther King Junior Day, but my weekend was still full. My sister, who costumes on and off for several theatre companies in Seattle, invited me to be her assistant at the 14/48 theatre festival being held this time at the ACT theatre in downtown Seattle. This festival occurs four different weekends a year. Each weekend (two days, the “48” part) seven plays a day are written (7×2=the 14 part), directed, designed, and produced. At the evening of the training on Thursday, everyone involved in the festival writes a theme on a slip of paper and put it into what is called “The Cone of Destiny” (a giant plastic vanilla soft-serve cone). One theme is drawn, a theme on which every play must be written. The playwrights are randomly assigned their show orders, along with how many men and women are to be in their show. Then they go home. They do not sleep. They write. They have all night to write, because at 8am their scripts have to be back at the theatre in order to be photocopied a million times so everyone can read them.

Around 9:30-10:00 am the morning meeting on Friday occurs, and everyone gathers for craft services and the drawing of the actors. Two large tin cans (Costco sized) are brought out, distinguishable only by the magazine cut-out which is industrially taped onto each can. On one can is a picture of Farah Fawcett–this can has in it the names of all of the female actors. The can holding the name of all of the male actors is covered with a large photo of Tom Seleck. One by one the director’s receive their scripts and then make their way up to the front of the room where they draw from the cans their actors. Then…craziness ensues. Designer’s compile lists, divvy up shows, talk to directors, get measurements, make shopping lists, while directors cast their plays and get to it, and the band starts to write. In other words, for the rest of the day people are making magic. Also, they are drinking beer. That’s theatre for you.

Tech runs start at three, opening show goes up at 8:00, closing show at 10:30.

That night, the entire process starts all over again with a new theme, this time drawn from audience suggestions.

The first day’s theme was “Worse than Death” and the second day’s theme was “Cheaters Never Prosper”.

I missed the exciting hubbub of the first day because I had school, I arrived at the theatre in time for dinner and to see the shows. In other words I ate all the food and did none of the work.

The second day I got to enjoy the process from the beginning. I helped my sister make costumes.

Some things I learned from this weekend:

1–I found out what “Whammies” are (from the game show Press Your Luck); I (along with others) made four Whammie costumes.They were awesome.

2–Nobody sells red tights. I seem to remember having this problem when I made my Fawkes costume.

3–My sister gives horrible directions. I mean, they get you where you need to go, but only after going the complete opposite direction first which results in you spending an extra 20 minutes walking up one of those hills.

4–There are as many different types of Theatre people as their are other people…only they all like to get together in small spaces and make stuff happen.

I had a great time, and I even managed to get a picture of myself up on the blog!

Do you love my new skinny backside juxtaposed with the double chin I am giving myself from scrunching my neck up? How funny.

Parts of the show each night were really good…parts not so much. All in all I had a great time, and I think it is wonderful and amazing all that can be accomplished in two short days, and I thought that technically the shows were solid.

I would be interested in doing something similar in the future, but I would prefer to attend all days and orientation so I don’t feel like an awkward interloper.

Monday I was still tuckered out, so even though I did clean my room and bathroom a little bit, it was not to my normal glistening standard. I was happy for the experience, but I was glad to get back home and attempt to make some sort of jab at my responsibilities.

What did you do over the long weekend?


Coming up next:

On Thursday I am getting all four of my wisdom teeth removed, and I have even consented to having them knock me out for the procedure. I’m a little freaked out (and by a little I mean a lot) because I have not had oral surgery since all of those baby teeth were cracked open and pulled out during high school, and even then I was not knocked out. I really think that I have read too many Sci-fi novels, but I know what can happen when people are operating on you while unconscious. If I wake up with a third eye, a kryptonite heart, or a tracking beacon implanted I will be a little more than upset.

I’m also being ordered to skip school the rest of the day, and on Friday. This does not please me. I had better be all recovered by Monday or else I may cry. I need to be able to sing and play my flute!

That is all I have for you now.

Go in Peace.



2 thoughts on “14/48…The World’s Quickest Theatre Festival

  1. Uh, don’t count on the singing thing, and even more the flute thing. You can’t drink out of a straw for at least a week either…

  2. Whatever! I was under full anesthesia and was totally fine the next day other than the gauze in my teeth – as long as you’re not putting your flute inside your mouth and digging around with it, I bet it’d be okay 🙂 But it totally depends on the person – some people really do get laid up for a few days 😦

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