On this chilly november evening I’m joining a host of uber talented performance professionals as they set about the daunting feat of creating 14 brand new plays over 48 hours. As these brave individuals descend into this theatrical rabbit hole I’ll be documenting the happenings; from the drawing of a theme; through selecting writers/directors/cast at random; band rehearsal; into breakneck speed techical rehearsals and finally the performances themselves (which are of course open to general public for a nominal fee).
Theatre will be made, beer will be consumed, participants will most definitely be going big (as opposed to going home).
Stay tuned for regular updates…
14 Plays in 48 hours, DONE!
Matt’s questionable blogging, DONE!
Until next time…
…thank you, and goodnight.
Play Four: Tramps and Thieves
Play Three: Finish the Story
Play Two; Dress(ing) Gown Friday
Play One: Slee, Hamish & Foot
Tech crew war paint: Pove edition
Backstage crew prep – tonight’s got ALL the props..!
Overheard at 14/48:
Quickfire Artist Profile No. 5 John Kirby
What are you doing at 14/48? Artist Liaison (Admin & being nice to people – *crucial*)
Describe 14/48 in 3 words: Creative, Friendly, A Blast
Who would be your 3 dream actors to work with? Corbin Bernson, Will Ferrell, Harrison Ford
If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be? Ability to do f*ck all and get away with it
What is your spirit animal? Geoff (the dog)
Final tech rehearsal wrapped, much learning of lines going on (all the plays have words tonight)
Overheard at 14/48:
I’ve seen a fair few 14/48 bands over the last couple of years and they’re always awesome, but this one’s next level*
Sleep may be at a premium and everyone’s pretty much running on coffee and pizza, but the theatre’s definitely happening again!
Four tech rehearsals down, three to go, things have definitely gotten a bit darker than last night. Without any spoilers, the actors in one play terrified each other, in no small part down to sterling work by the design team.
Play one tech’d, I don’t think I’m giving too much away if I say that’s the three characters are inanimate objects dreaming about being other inanimate objects…
Overheard at 14/48:
The patriotic lion of consternation
I never thought I’d hear a John Carpenter-esque version of Tears of a Clown. I was wrong, and it may be what’s been missing from my life.
There’s an eerie calm hanging over the Y theatre ahead of this afternoon’s tech rehearsals, this either means that everything’s going exactly to plan or that everyone’s too tired to panic about stuff; only time will tell…
Props spotted so far today include a wheelchair (2 kinds), union jack painted lion, bedside lamps, 14/48 £20 note, garden rake, picnic basket and a gramophone.
Overheard at 14/48:
Band update: Artists being covered today include The Beatles, Supertramp, Metallica (I think), Athlete (that Wires song that I don’t like, but the 14/48 version sounds significantly better*)
What are you doing at 14/48? Entourage (and general good spirited helpfulness)
Describe 14/48 in 3 words: Exhilarating, Madcap, Tremendous
Who would be your 3 dream actors to work with? Sir Ian McKellan, Stephanie Leonidas, James McAvoy
If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be? Super Agility
What is your spirit animal? Wolf
Oh, and the design team managed to source a choice of wheelchairs, maximum points to them!
Second rehearsal at the Globe pub, an animated directorial showing; the male lead seems to have some concerns regarding his on stage comfort requirements…
As I’m walking through town looking like a flustered paparazzo I’m reminded that it’s Saturday morning and most people are doing normal life. Weird.
First rehearsal of the day in full swing at the Exchange, a darkly comical politically charged domestic study written by Leicester’s own Jess Green
All the parts are in place, the 14/48 beast has awoken (with the aid of coffee, biscuits and breakfast calzone), actors and directors have set out to the various satellite rehearsal spaces, the band are working on managing expectations; I’m trying to convince my face that it wants to wake up…
Actor’s draw is under way…much whooping and hollering (although possibly slightly sleepier than yesterday!)
Once upon a time, in the city of Leicester (land of kings under car parks and unlikely footballing triumphs), a host of talented theatre makers gathered in the Y theatre to create 7 brand new plays from scratch. They toiled long and hard throughout the day, overcoming many obstacles and learning myriad important life lessons (mainly: beer always and don’t upset the design team). In the face of great adversity they performed their works to rapturous audiences who raised the roof of Leicester’s oldest theatre and spilled out into the chill november night to regale their loved ones with tales of the wonders they had witnessed. Everyone lived happily ever after. The End.
Good morning, it’s 8am on the second performance day of 14/48 Leicester. Seven brand new scripts on the theme of Bedtime Stories will have been submitted by the sleep-deprived writers so that the process can begin all over again! The bleary eyed creatives will soon be massing back at the Y to continue their journey down the theatrical rabbit hole…if previous experience is anything to go by; things are likely to get pretty weird! Stay tuned for further insights as the day unravels.
Day One Show One Done!!
Play Six: Let me in, Let me in!
Play Five: Tally Ho!
Play One: Full Blown Diffusion
The audience are flooding in to Leicester’s oldest theatre for tonight’s opening performance, you can smell the anticipation in the air (at least I think that’s what it is…)
Lines are learnt, lighting’s set, band are rehearsed; night one show one, kicking off in 15 minutes…
Overheard at 14/48:
The stage is quite literally set. At 8pm tonight 7 brand new plays on the theme of “Access Denied” will premier; at 10:30pm those same 7 brand new plays will have their closing night. A team of dedicated, hardworking (and maybe a little unhinged) professionals have worked tirelessly to pull this work together, it’s going to be spectacular! If you’re in the Leicester area there are significantly worse ways of spending your Friday evening. If you’re busy tonight we’ll be doing it all over again tomorrow with a new theme.
Quickfire Artist Profile No. 3 Fran Richards
What are you doing at 14/48? Directing
Describe 14/48 in three words: Mad, Fast, Furious
Who would be your three dream actors to work with? Kenneth Brannah, Emma Stone, Hugh Grant (“cos he’s fit”)
If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be? To make tights never ladder
What is your spirit animal? Budgie
Out of the chaos theatre begins to appear…
Tech rehearsals are progressing well (nobody’s had to be shouted at anyway!) the scope of plays on offer from a single theme is as amazing as ever. Settings including: a bench outside a shop, a space station, inside a brain and Oxford students’ union. Four plays down, three to go; we definitely have ourselves a fully functioning theatre festival.
Overheard at 14/48:
Pre-tech rehearsal director’s meeting is in full swing, further negotiations with the tech team as to what is and isn’t possible and the logistics of segueing between plays that have wide-ranging themes. Although it all seems pretty simple, I mean how hard can it be to maintain a stylistic thread between performances soundtracked by Wired for Sound and Insane in the Membrane..?
Tech rehearsals in t-minus 40 minutes. Surely it can’t be that complicated, I mean they’ve only got to programme the lighting, sort out live projection mapping, block stage positioning and sort out live music cues for 7 brand new plays…one director even seems to have decided that performing on the stage would be too easy…
Quickfire Artist Profile No. 2 Stuart Reid
What are you doing at 14/48? Vlogging
Describe 14/48 in three words: Intense, Exhausting, Hilarious
Who would be your three dream actors to work with? James McAvoy, Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence
If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be? The ability to back in time by 5 seconds
What is your spirit animal? Amy Christer
14/48 band update:
Quickfire Artist Profile No. 1 – Jonathan Arnold
What are you doing at 14/48? Writing
Describe 14/48 in three words: Arduous, Epic, Inspirational
Who would be your three dream actors to work with? Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Tilda Swinton
If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be? Power bestowal
What is your spirit animal? Bear
Rehearsal number 4 at The Exchange; THERE ARE NO WORDS (in the script that is). 14/48 does physical theatre!
Third rehearsal checked in on, this one at the Globe pub (everyone was still sober as far as I could tell…)
From the two rehearsals I’ve been to so far, references include:
I would at this point like to thank the organisers of 14/48 Leicester for ensuring that I achieve my 10,000 steps by spreading the rehearsal venues across the city!
The intense process of directors planning with the design team, apparently a 10 foot animatronic chicken is not a reasonable request
Pretty serious looking band set up
The actors are chosen, they will now head off to various venues across the city learn their lines and rehearse ahead of this afternoon’s tech rehearsals
7 scripts have been submitted, the directors have been allocated said scripts at random; the actors draw will commence shortly…
Following a positively Truman Show-esque journey from the wilds of North West Leicestershire (that can only mean that I’ve really angered the gods of traffic lights) I have landed back at the Y theatre.
As I prepare for rejoining the festival today, here’s a shot of the all important ceremonial keg tapping from last night…
So the writers have headed off to scribble furiously through the night. The massed ranks will reconvene at the Y tomorrow to commence the construction of 7 brand new pieces of fully realised theatre that will be unleashed on paying audiences for the first and last time. I’ll be back tomorrow with insightful behind the scenes reports, profiles of the people making all this happen and maybe a few photos too.
…now, the writers draw (the moment when it really starts to sink in that they have to submit a 10 minute play by 8am tomorrow morning!)
…the theme is drawn, Saturday night will bring 7 plays on the theme of “access denied”
…drum roll for the drawing of day one’s theme…
The “virgins” are taking the stage to rapturous applause, looking decidedly trepidatious.
The keg is tapped, all is well, the creative process can now truly begin in earnest.
A positively feverish atmosphere is enveloping The Y theatre as actors, directors, writers and musicians flood into the venue. The “how can this possibly work” look is evident on the faces of festival “virgins”.
We have flashing lights, we have smoke, we have a palpable sense of tension. 14/48 overlord Mr Bob Christer is pacing like a caged animal, preparing to give the most important Keynote presentation of his entire day. This can only possibly mean that we’re mere moments away from the formal launching of the good ship 14/48
This is our first liveblog, so bear with us whilst we figure out the technical side of things!