Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wrapping up my 14/48 weekend

The early show is in the books and it's another solid outing. Keri Healey's play is my favorite tonight. It's such a wonderful little piece. Allison Strickland and Joe Zavadil (this week's Mazen award winner) are terrific together. And the show ends on such a great note, with Sara Porkalob joining the band for 'Rehab.'

I've been a huge fan of 14/48 since I first discovered it four years ago, and I'm only more infatuated after having seen everything from behind the scenes. This is an amazing group of people. I can't recommend volunteering highly enough. They've built such a fabulous community around the festival, and it is endlessly fascinating to see it all come together.

See you outdoors this summer!

Over Indulgence - Visual Art

Here are the works on display (and for sale) from our visual artists tonight.

Company Meeting Quotable Quotes

Quotable quote - "Thank you to all of you artists. You guys are awesome. We do this because of you. If you guys were awful, we would stop!" -Megan Ahiers


Also Quotable quote -
"And if you're feeling tired because it's been two really long days and we aren't paying you anything other than pasta... what do you do?" - Megan Ahiers


8:00PM show is sold out. Tickets still available for 10:30PM. See you at the theatre.

Where will the 14/48 artists be next?

The team at 14/48 is a talented and in demand bunch. If you would like to see more, here is a rundown of some of their upcoming projects.

Scott Ward Abernethy - King Lear at Seattle Shakespeare Company

Marianna de Fazio - Diana Of Dobson's at Taproot Theatre

Joe Ivy - Truth Like The Sun at Book-It Repertory

Lisa Viertel - The Coffee Table and Endangered Species Project

Ben Burris - The Boy At The Edge Of Everything at Seattle Children's Theatre

Trick Danneker - The Boy At The Edge Of Everything at Seattle Children's Theatre

Kate Witt - Third at ArtsWest

Marty Mukhalian - Third at ArtsWest

Chris Shea - The 39 Steps at Mt. Baker Theatre

Emma Bamford - 14/48 Leicester

Jennifer Jasper - Family Affair at The Jewelbox

Hana Lass - The Importance Of Being Earnest - Seattle Shakespeare Company

Sydney Tucker - A Little Burlesque at The Jewelbox

Darius Pierce - A Pidgeon And A Boy at Jewish Theatre Collaberative

Opal Peachey - Seattle Vice at ACT and Cavalier & Clay at Book-It Repertory

The more you know...

This is the kind of thing that always fascinates me. There is a reference in Zoe Fitzgerald's play, and I thought it sounded familiar. A quick trip to the Google turns up this wikipedia page. It's a nice easter egg to include Mother Antoina when a fictionalized account would have been fine.

Ticket Update!

The 8:00 show is a hot ticket tonight. As I type this, there are only 18 seats left. So, if you want one, buy now! If that sells out, or you are of the night owl persuasion, there are still plenty of tickets for the 10:30. It's going to be a great show. See you there!

Saturday Tech - Act 2

Stage crew takes advantage of the bonus time to pre-set show #5, and the band takes advantage by rehearsing their transition into intermission, an out of intermission into act 2. And show #5 cast shows up.

Show #5
Hana starts by pushing the furniture around to get it just right. Next we start aiming lights at the furniture and people in front of the furniture. As Hana examines the 'looks', she asks "is this the living room?" Light board responds "yes". And after a beat, the light board inquires, "Is it good? Are we living?"
Stage is set. Hana sends actors to places for top of show. Band starts intro music. Alyssa Byer helps out with additional step unit added to the ramp in front of the stage. First moment of the show established, we skip forward to the next cue. Again, hard to tell the story line... but the band outros with (possibly inappropriate) pop song!
Sergeant Woosters All Man Band
Photo: Omar Willey

Show #6
Show 6 cast shows up swords drawn. They work through some stage combat moves, and everyone sets up for top of show. The band brings us into the scene with jaunty pirate music as promised. We work through a bunch of sound and light cues within the first few minutes of the show and then skip along cue to cue. Light board runs a pirate to zombie transition once more for good measure, and we're ready to move on to the last piece for the evening.

Show #7
Zoe Fitzgerald set her play in the break between the 8pm and 10:30pm show last night. Consequently, this cast is wearing what they wore in their shows yesterday. I bet that made it easy for the costumers! But what this also brings with it, is a repeat special guest performance by Sara Porkalob with the band. If you were here for Yellow Hair's musical debut yesterday - you won't want to miss this reunion with the band!
Luxury of not having too many other cues - this show gets to run all the way from top to bottom, uninterrupted, as light board fine tunes the looks. And we rock out into the night with Yellow Hair bringing us to a glorious close.

End of Tech.  Time for dinner, followed by company meeting at 7pm.

Saturday Tech - Act 1

While the director meeting was still running a little behind, folks at tech have decided to forge ahead with show #1 anyway. Band is just returning from a break as well. We are now ready for top of show.

Show #1
Melissa Fenwick sporting a witch hat
Photo: Agastya Kohli
Halloween show. We start with scary noises and kids run up on stage. As the actors figure out spacing (a little "kid stage combat" action to figure out), lighting designers are cooking up a pretty cool full moon on the cyc. I see witch hats, and I hear wonder woman! Pretty high energy transition at the end of the show. Band is rocking as always!

Show #2
The transition into this show is a bit of a challenge, and the stage crew would like to run it in transition lights. However the light board was busy writing the next cue. After a little wait, we're underway. The stage crew is bringing on not just the furniture, but even the actors! Getting the stage set for this show, and then transitioning into #3 is quite involved. I'm hesitating to tell you more - so you may be awed by the crew when you see them in action tonight.

Show #3
The band transitions, we skip through cue to cue. This show will coin a new verb - very seasonably appropriate (hint NFL Championship weekend). And I can only imagine how the football manic crowd this weekend will react to this show. (hint hashtag Louder!) Also, I can't help but ponder on this playwright's outlook on the subject matter, given the negative connotations of our theme 'over indulgence'. But the band will bring the house DOWN with this outro. Hashtag Crowd-Pleaser.

Show 4 cast in tech rehearsal
Photo: Omar Willey
Show #4
Nina sorts out who takes what out between the cast and the crew. John Langs steps up to the band with his actors and starts working on what they can, while the crew and light board finish up on their transition tasks. The band plays a beautiful riff to underscore these scenes. John runs his tech like a military commander (no different that yesterday). He came with a list of problems he wanted to solve, and he pushes through, working with band, lights, and stage crew, and and when they become available. Looking forward to seeing this one when they run the whole show.

Intermission! And we're a few minutes ahead of schedule!

More Saturday Rehearsals

We just finished our rounds of rehearsal visits and the last two shows are quite different. From Kery Healey we have 'Atlas Movers', directed by John Langs. It looks like you will be heading off to intermission with your heart strings having just been tugged. It's a wonderful little play about the future that may be, framed by deliveries, boxes, and a well meaning mother.

That comes right after your funny-bone has been kicked by Peggy Platt and Lisa Koch's 'The Program'. There is much less subtlety here, as Andy Jensen guides us through the funny side of addiction. Yes, there is one. This is also a show that comes with a big reveal that will get a huge reaction. It also features a Carl Sagan joke that I dig.

Craft in Progress

"What are you building?"

"Oh, just some rigging for a pirate ship!"

Suzi Tucker cutting up some wood for the pirate ship rigging
Photo: Agastya Kohli

Art in progress

Saturday will bring seven new projects from the visual artists. Brian and Roy are both back at the theatre to finish their pieces. Here's a look at where Brian's canvas currently stands.

Take one for the team!

The 14/48 designers stop at nothing to make the show look just right!

PATP: The Virgin and the Veteran

This weekend's cast features two recent PATP, UW graduates - Scott Ward Abernethy (virgin actor) and Marianna de Fazio (veteran actor).

We saw Scott as Francis - a patient recovering from serious war time trauma, mumbling "Lights Out", in Zoe Fitzgerald's Good Night. Tonight, he's cast opposite Danielle Daggerty in the evening's only two hander - Courtney Meaker's Shorty Says Goodbye

Marianna played the half "feeble", half scheming sister in Erin Stewart's Mr. and Mrs. Hargrove on Friday, surprising and awing the audience with her subtle but crisp transformation from the 'feeble' to the 'scheming'. Tonight, she features in No Apologies by Jennifer Jasper, who had one of the most poignant plays of Friday night.

Over lunch, yours truly caught up with these two.

AK: Even as a virgin actor, you must have come in with an impression of what 14/48 will be like. How accurate was it? How prepared (or not) did you feel?

Marianna and Scott right after lunch
Photo: Agastya Kohli
Scott: Actually, I organized a speed theatre festival in undergrad, and so I was very familiar with the basic structure.

AK: And as a veteran, was there something that still surprised you Marianna?

Marianna: My last 14/48 was outdoors... so the venue makes a huge difference. Indoors is quite different - easier and more focused. Other than that, this 14/48 has move along similar lines as the last one.

Scott: The biggest surprise really, is the realization of how random things can be. Yesterday, I was a part of a serious piece - not funny or rambunctious at at all.  And I had just three lines. Today, I'm in a two-hander, with sword fights, and eight different dialects, and all kinds of physical acting. The other big surprise was how many people in the theatre community I don't really know. I've been working in Seattle right after I graduated from PATP, but I walked into the room and at best, maybe I knew a quarter of the people.

Marianna: And what a great gift it is to the community that 14/48 provides. Allowing people from different 'circles' within the theatre community to overlap and interact with one another, building connections and fostering relationships.

AK: Would you be interested in returning as a part of any of the other 14/48 disciplines?

Scott: Yes! I would be very interested in writing and directing. And I'm very interested in Musical 14/48 too!

AK: Has the process on Saturday been different from what it was like on Friday?

Scott: Well, the play I'm in today is very different. Yesterday, I had three lines to learn, so I had a lot of free time to work on making my character as fun and interesting as I could make it. Today is a very different day just in terms of the size of the role and what is required.

Marianna: Working with a different director changes the process a little. Yesterday we worked on the piece with relatively small breaks. Today we're pacing ourselves a lot better. Taking time off to learn lines, and regathering periodically to work on the piece together. Today feels a lot more relaxed than yesterday, with the comfort of experience under our belts.

AK: What's next for you two?

Scott: I'll be doing King Lear with Seattle Shakes.

Marianna: And I'm doing Diana of Dobson’s at Taproot Theatre.

AK: Break a leg!

Disclaimer - These conversations were not recorded. The interviews above are paraphrased. But I hope I've captured the essence of what these artists wanted to share with all of you.

Early Impressions from Show #5 and #6

Jennifer Jasper has a beautiful, sweet touching piece in Etymology last night. Today she has written a play called No Apologies, being directed by Hana Lass, featuring Marianna de Fazio, Marty Mukhalian and Cody Smith. In my three minutes of eavesdropping, it sounded like a play about a couple (played by Cody and Marty) struggling to raise their daughter (Marianna) with a value system they believe in. Given the theme of 'over indulgence', something tells me the value system might be a little... unorthodox.

Hana, Marianna and Cody during first (or second) read through.
Photo: Agastya Kohli
Down in the Lower Falls Lobby, Scott Abernethy and Danielle Daggerty are working on their two-hander, written by Courtney Meaker, directed by Stan Shields. There are pirates, and there are zombies. Stan requested the band to start the show with "jaunty pirate music". Lighting designers are looking for some ship rigging gobos. They were not optimistic on having any zombie gobos, unfortunately. More about this show during tech, I am sure!

Scott and Danielle, during 'table work'
Photo: Agastya Kohli

Rehearsals from Saturday

I've checked in on a few of the rehearsals this morning and the evening is shaping up to be very fun. David Schmader's 'Macrophages' finds worlds colliding in the realm of plastic surgery and body modification, and the recovery process that follows. This one presents a couple particular problems for the design team in creating the set, costuming the actors, and getting them to and from the stage. It will be interesting to see what this one ends up looking like.

It also again shows just how cool the 14/48 band is. When presented  with the possibility of 'a particular, very not Enya, artist' being covered by Enya, the response from the band was 'I love that!'

Erin Stewart's 'Atomic' takes us back to Halloween as kids. And, more specifically, just how mean and nasty kids can be. It lacks the blood of last weekend, but makes up for it with pee. The show also has rather involved blocking, which came to light when I heard 'We're only on page 1!?'

'Whatever Gets You Through The Night' from Zoe Fitzgerald goes backstage at the theatre and brought my favorite exchange of the day as Lisa Viertel asked about tracking where her bourbon is. Charles Smith replied that it should just be in her hand the whole time. That gets you a long way down the path where this one is headed. There was also discussion of the possibility of a number of cameos.

And on another band note... last night's performance of 'Last Dance' by Sara Porkalob went over so well that she's been invited back. She'll be closing out the night with another performace. Without spoiling the song I'll just say that constantly carrying around your bourbon is a solid clue.

Design Team Needs Your Help

Michael Mowery is looking for help in locating these items. If you can help, please let us know.

Football Dilemma

Go Hawks!
It is no big surprise that there is at least one play tonight with a strong football/Seahawks theme. What is very intriguing (especially as I have not read the play, nor do I have full context of the conversation I am overhearing) that there are some very funny football references being discussed by the stage management and lighting crew. I don't want to give it away - as it may be a very funny moment in the show... but they are talking about literally changing the light cues that you will see, based on certain "calls" that the actors will make from stage. Change the play at the line? Playwrights were told to leave the huddle!

Erin Stewart - Friday v. Saturday

I sat down with the lovely Erin Stewart to talk about her 14/48 experience, and our conversation drifted towards how Friday compared with Saturday.

She was able to go to bed by 5am Friday morning, and stayed up till 6am on Saturday. In the grand scheme of things, I'd say that's about the same.

"It was tough both nights", she said. "I thought both these themes were pretty broad, and I didn't have an idea right away for either night. On both nights I had two plays going. Switching back and forth between the two plays, not sure which one I was going to go with."
Erin Stewart, either before or after writing the play.
Photo: Agastya Kohli

"How different were they?"

"The ones on Friday were similar. They were both heightened, and stylized. But the other play on Saturday was actually quite different from what I went with. I was trying 'over indulgence' in a different way. I kept going back and forth. But every time I went to it, I was like... naah..."

"How did you know which play was going to win out, and when did you know?"

"Well, I had more pages for this one."

"So, the longer play won? Both nights?"

"Basically, yes! But I'm happy with it." Erin exclaimed.

I asked her if she had any thoughts about Keni Cohen picking her script both days, and what it was like to work with Keni.

"Yeah, isn't that weird? That happened to me three or so years  back at OTB as well! I'd never worked with Keni before. Yesterday, I wanted to make sure I was able to communicate my brand of comedy. I wanted that to come through. I was confident he'd get the play, but I wanted to give him as much information as I could, before I walked away from the process completely. Today, I feel much better about it. The cast just read the play, and they're laughing, and enjoying the script already. So I feel good!"

Well Ms. Stewart, you succeeded in delivering a creepy, but funny crowd-pleaser on Friday. Marianna de Fazio, Sydney Tucker and Joe Ivy gave great performances under Keni Cohen's direction. We can't wait to see what 'Over Indulgence' Saturday will bring.

Disclaimer - I didn't record the conversation with Erin... so the above is all paraphrased. But I hope I've captured the essence of what Erin wanted to share with all of you.

Breakfast and Coincidences

As expected, a lot calmer energy abounds in the room today as people go through the familiar patterns of playwrights talking to directors, actors catching up and grabbing a bite to eat, exchanging compliments and horror stories. Looks like people got sufficient sleep, but there is no denying, everyone could use a couple of extra hours.

Keni Cohen and Erin Stewart talk about the play
Photo: Agastya Kohli
Three of the playwright/director pairs are repeats of yesterday. Keni Cohen picked Erin Stewart's script again, Andy Jensen drew Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt again, and Charles Smith will be directing Zoe Fitzgerald's play - who by the way, wrote play #7 for yesterday, and for tonight!

Additionally, Keni picked Sydney Tucker as one of her actors, just as Andy Jensen picked Katie Driscoll again. So Katie and Sydney will be working with the same writer/director teams as they did yesterday.

Some other statistical fun facts - John Langs, who directed the smallest cast yesterday, has one of the two 5 handers. Sara Porkalob, who was in play #1 yesterday is in play #7 tonight.

Once again, the actors, writers and directors have left after the actor draw, and the designers continue to make lists and discuss options. We'll stop by a little later and see what fun things they're working on today.

The Saturday Lineup

Friday night at 14/48 was fantastic. How will Saturday stack up? Will things get really weird when the writers tackle 'Overindulgence'? That all remains to be seen, but here is the lineup that will answer those questions in less than ten hours.

Writer - Erin Stewart
Director - Keni Cohen
Actors - Darius Pierce, Ryan Spickard, Melissa Fenwick, Sydney Tucker

Writer - David Schmader
Director - Anthony Winkler
Actors - Emma Bamford, Alyson Bedford, John Farrage

The Program
Writers - Lisa Koch & Peggy Platt
Director - Andy Jensen
Actors - Katie Driscoll, Kate Witt, Jesica Avellone, Sam Read

Atlas Movers
Writer - Keri Healey
Director - John Langs
Actors - Opal Peachey, Allison Strickland, Rachel Sedwick, Joe Zavadil, Chris Shea

No Apologies
Writer - Jennifer Jasper
Director - Hana Lass
Actors - Marianna de Fazio, Marty Mukhalian, Cody Smith,

Shorty Says Goodbye
Writer - Courtney Meaker
Director - Stan Shields
Actors - Danielle Daggerty, Scott Ward Abernethy

Whatever Gets You Through The Night
Writer - Zoe Fitzgerald
Director - Charles Smith
Actors - Sara Porkalob, Lisa Viertel, Trick Danneker, Ben Burris, Joe Ivy