Friday, July 31, 2009

Theme for Night 2

And before I head out for the eve, here's the theme for night 2:

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

Now...I like the sound of that one.

That was great! Now do it again!

First show just finished. They did it! I'm so proud! And it looked great from the audience. (Trust me, I was looking for flaws.) There are still tickets available for show 2 at 10:30...which is about 15 minutes away...

There is no rest for the weary, I tell ya.

Hey guy with the iphone texting and surfing the web in front of me during the show...

You may think no one sees you cause you're sitting near the back, but you'd think wrong.

Is there a program to make you any less of a douchebag? A de-doucher-er, if you will? There's (not) an app for that.

10 Minutes till Go!

And there are still tickets available. What are you doing still reading this?? Come down to On the Boards for some Nun on Chicken action, or something like that.

It's the Final Countdown, do do-do do doooooo.

Peter and Jodi-Paul are on stage going over some last minute house cleaning and notes for the 14/48 company. Some excellent pearls of wisdom, including.

"There are two shows, so pace yourselves." .... "Yeah, but they're only ten minutes long, so don't pace yourselves that much"

8:00 PM show: Opening night energy!! 10:30 PM show: Closing night energy!!

Go big or go home!!!!

Woo band!!

And...disperse. Now, the nerves begin.

"I am a machine. An artistic machine. And you can fucking quote me on that"

M. Elizabeth Eller, talking a big game once more. She's got enough bravado to fill a __________ (Wit FAIL)

But she also attributes her artistic machinery to her awesome playwright, Rachel Atkins (who, I'll divulge, personally wanted a blog name drop.) You want it, you got it, Rachel.

Peggy Gannon just entered the building.

She is here to eat. And also, possibly help.

Jodi-Paul is both manning the door and folding programs. He is keeping it real, as they say.

Playwrights are showing up again and injecting some much needed rejuvenation into the proceedings. Afterall, these guys just rested up all day. Well, at least in Chris Haddad's case, I can't speak for the others.

RANDOM QUOTE TAKEN COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTEXT: Deb Fialkow:"Is that my butt? Yep, that's my butt." And then later on: "Not only was it my butt, it was my boy on my butt."

Tech is over, now, and went over without many complications (from what I hear). Actors - those still not doing the last minute rehearsals, anyway -band members, and tech crew are coming downstairs to partake in this delicious QFC chicken. It's funny how delicious chicken can pick up a room -- Energy is definitely picking up; everyone's at the point where they're realizing, "Holy Shit, we're actually gonna do this."

Because guess what. Curtain in 1 hour, 28 minutes.

Dinner Just Arrived

And let me tell you, it looks and smells absolutely FANTASTIC.

Tech Time!!

Currently in the Theatre watching the tech of show #3, Single's Night. I tell you true, this is shaping up to be a pretty damn good evening of shows. And I was wrong, the Star Trek theme comes up at the end of show number three, not number one. My bad.

It's pretty much your run of the mill tech, except you get a work with a band, and you pretty much get a few precious minutes to put it all together, instead of a few days.

Elsewhere, directors are finetuning blocking, actors are doing what the need to do (powernapping, whathaveyou) to get those precious lines down. My heart goes out to the actor in a two person show.

Director's meeting

All the directors are now downstairs meeting with Lou and Tim. Here is where everyone talks about the technical needs of their show, and the spine of what you'll all be seeing in less than five hours really starts to take shape.

The big theme of this meeting is discussing the set pieces needed, and orchestrating set changes. Set changes are my most favorite thing ever, because if you screw them up ever so slightly, it becomes a play about set changes. So, you can sense the importance of this meeting.

Darian Lindle is the playwright that wins the award for least set pieces, with zero. Rachel Atkins comes in second with one. Way to go, guys. In the paraphrased words of Shakespeare, "Brevity is friggin' awesome."

Tim and Megan will be your set crew tonight, so be sure to give them a little round of applause when you see them. Or, if that strikes you as too much, be sure to give them a knowing smile and a tip o' the hat.

FYI, It is really getting hot in herre.

Apropros of nothing, pt. 1

Listening to the band rehearsing their Star Trek bit (which I assume is for the first show - set in space, remember), when Eric hits the first two notes on the piano, I am reminded not of the Star Trek theme, but the first two notes of ABBA's "The Winner Takes it All." Can someone else confirm this for me later tonight? I'm not going crazy, am I? Cause if I'm the only one who thinks that I'm going to feel really , really irreversibly gay.

The Wall

Have you hit it yet?

I sure as shit haven't! Though I wouldn't complain if someone brought me an iced coffee. {EDIT: Deb Fialkow is getting me one, securing her position as the best. person. ever.} So never mind.

I'm up here in the theatre again, listening to some jams being concocted by the band. Hearing some original stuff, along with some Star Trek, some You Shook Me All Night's sounding pretty great I must say.

Ladies and gentleman, Lou Butler is in the building, and she is already stage managing up a storm. Shawn Belyea and Tim Hyland are on the stage, overseeing things and making sure the tech stuff, lights, etc. are, you know, working. There is a big ass scrim that can be backlit in beautiful, rich colors... I am hoping that its taken advantage of.

It's almost three and the time for the director's meeting is upon us. Wow, that went fast. It's pretty amazing how fast this whole process is. (Hint: Very) Tech starts pretty shortly after that.

You look like you could use some more photos.

You look too thin. Here you go. They're nutritious and good for you.

Reheasing begins-Blocking, memorizing, dancing?

Aimee Bruneau and Peter Dylan O'Connor

Mark Fullerton

Bruce Hall and Shane Regan

Ben Burris

Chuck Leggett

Troy Fishnaller

Gary Menendez

Shawn Belyea

Kate Kraay

Alyssa Keene

Photos by Annie Lareau

First Impressions, part the second.

Just jotted over to the Rep to catch the other two plays, Darian Lindle's Human Nature (There was a hot rumor the show title was changing earlier this morning, but I haven't heard if that came into fruition or no), directed by Katjana Vadebancoeur, and Jim Jewell's It's Your Turn, directed by Scott Francis.

Here's what I can tell you about Human Nature. It's the Nun, chicken, doctor, etc. play. It closes the bill tonight, so it better go big or go home. Not to hype it up, but it looks like it just might. The play contains the lines "It's my turn now, motherfucker" and "Anton Chekov's The Cherry Orchard, by Darian Lindle." There is lots of slapping. Jane May has a long monologue (Godspeed, brave youth.)

Then there's It's My Turn. Judging from the two minutes of script I saw, here is how I would best describe the play: Orange Flower Water (minus the graphic sex and the 20 or so C bombs) meets Jumanji (minus the CGI animals and Robin Williams mugging). If you don't find that interesting, I don't think there is anything I can do for you.

Gonna take a break for lunch now. I want some free FOOD (We get it, you like food.)

Pictures from the morning!

I'm not lazy, but I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Courtesy of the multi-talented Matt Larson.

So close, yet so far

I know that I am not officially supposed to be blogging until Saturday. I know that I am at work right now, being paid to answer phones and help tourists. I know that I am not getting paid to read the 14/48 blog or to sit here ruminating about what is happening at On the Boards. But I can't help it. I am so jealous of all the awesomeness that is happening just a few blocks from the cubicle in which I sit. That is the pull of 14/48. For anyone who has ever been involved with 14/48, you know what I mean. Luckily, I will be able to join the magic in four hours and counting...

-Megan Ahiers
Carolyn Monroe and MJ Sieber awaiting the draw

Mik Kuhlman choosing her actors

Chris Bell

Pattie Miles Van Beauzekom

E. Elizabeth Eiler 

Katjana Vadebancoeur 

Darian Lindle listening to her play "Human Nature"
Carolyn Monroe reading "It's your turn"

Photos by Annie Lareau

Show # 3: Single's Night

Alex handed me his computer.

This is Aimée Bruneau reporting live from the main theater at OTB.

It's noon and my actors are taking the next hour and a half to learn their lines. I've worked on enough 14/48s to know that if a director doesn't give the actors a solid chunk of open time to get their heads around the text, the actors won't feel confident at the 8pm show - and even worse - they'll totally butcher and paraphrase the playwright's work - or even worser-worse - they'll freeze and go up on lines completely.

So. We're marinating now.

Becky Bruhn's play is pretty straight-forward. Not a lot of fluff and not too much action. She's written a piece for two men and wisely avoids any long monologues - she's no rookie. I directed another piece by Becky a few years ago. She's an easy collaborator, okay with cuts and flexible about minor changes. It's a relationship piece and I feel darned lucky to get two smart actors: Jason Harber and Erik Van Beuzekom. I've enjoyed working with Erik before - on my very first 14/48 as a director back in 99 or 2000. I've seen Jason's work about town and I'm grateful for the chance to play with him. He's really fun to watch.

I'm contemplating some choreography... It might be too much. Deb Fialkow could maybe take a break from volunteering in the kitchen to help us out...

There's a lot of talent in this building.

I love actors. They're all so serious right now! I don't think the keg is getting much play at the moment.

First Impressions, part one.

After the draw, I started lurking around the various rehearsal spaces seeing what I could glean from the various plays.

Every director seems to have their own unique approach to tackling this monster. Some got the actors up on their feet right away. Others started hammering away at intentions, while others attacked the comic beats with surgeon-like precision. It all depends on the type of its center rooted in the dialogue? Does it have intricate verbal wordplay?

In the studio downstairs, Tyrone Brown was directing Erin Stewart's Calvin's Not Here. Being a 2 M, 2 F piece, they read the play twice, switching actors around each time. Smart idea! I got a sort of Soylent Greenish vibe listening to the first read, but I might be an idiot, so who knows.

(Random sight: Stan Shields just dragged a keg by me...a delightful sight at 11:41 in the morning, I don't mind telling ya.)

(And yet another parenthetical...WiFi is kinda spotty in the home base had to move upstairs into the theatre, where Donation is rehearsing side by side with the band)

Speaking of the band, Wow! They've been setting up since the early morning and are working on original themes and motives. No cover songs here, by Christ.

Over in the Skinner rehearsal room, Mik Kuhlman is directing MJ Sieber's The Galactic Journeys of the Virgo 12. It's a 4 man play filled with manly men actors. So naturally, the first thing they were tackling was the costume design. They are in space, after all. You gotta atch in space. My money is this one being the most expensive show on the night. RANDOMLY OVERHEARD QUOTE TAKEN COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTEXT: "You never actually came inside me." -- Mik Kuhlman. Nice.

Upstairs Makela Polluck is directing Chis Haddad's Donation. It's a dialogue heavy show, with an interesting moral concept. Here's a quote from the show. "It might be worth it, to fuck a lesbian." I won't spoil anything more. Chris says he's very confident now after hearing the actors read through for the first time. "It's pretty fucking cool. Now I'm gonna go home and sleep." PS, Shane Regan is off book before noon. No one likes a show-off, Shane.

Also upstairs is Aimee Bruneau directing Becky Bruhn's 2 man show Single's Night. The door was closed, and I didnt feel it right to interrupt. I will guess that the show contains a pony, a vat of mayonaisse, a washing machine and the Olsen twins. I may or may not be wrong.

And downstairs in the lobby, Elizabeth Eller is directing Rachel Atkins' Ascension. The actors were already up on their feet and fiddling around with blocking and intentions...letting the actors sort of feel their way around first, then layering on the direction as the day progresses...very smart way to go bout it, I should think.

Gonna head over to the Rep to get some impressions on the other two shows before break. More pics from Matt will be up soon, too, we just gotta resize them!!

Actor Draw -- No Casting Couch here, folks.

All the actors get their names thrown into handsome Tom Selleck and Farrah Fawcett (too soon??) tins, and the directors get to draw the names. Simple as that. And here is the show for tonight:

THEME: My Turn


The Galactic Journeys of the Virgo 12 by MJ Sieber, directed by Mik Kuhlman
Starring Sean Mitchell, Roy Stanton, Charles Leggett and Troy Fischnaller

Donation by Chris Haddad, directed by Makela Pollock
Starring Mark Fullerton, Bruce Hall and Shane Regan

Single's Night by Becky Bruhn, directed by Aimee Bruneau
Starring Eric Van Beauzekom and Jason Harber

Calvin's Not Here by Erin Stewart, directed by Tyrone Brown
Starring Ryan Higgins, Lyam White, Kate Kraay and Shana Allman



It's Your Turn by Jim Jewell, directed by Scott Francis
Starring Annie Jantzer, Carolyn Monroe, Trick Danneker and Nik Perleros

Ascension by Rachel Atkins, directed by Elizabeth Eller
Starring Patti Miles Van Beauzekom, Ben Burris and Chris Bell

Human Nature by Darian Lindle, directed by Katjana Vadebancoeur
Starring Sam Hagen, Ellie McKay, Jane May, Shawnmarie Stanton, and Cynthia Whalen

And the craziness begins.

Actors are sauntering in now, all nice and well-rested. This will change soon.

Gary and Michael, the designers, are retreated into a corner, deeeep in thought. Designers get an average of $25 dollars per show, and so far, challenges right now are moderate: MJ Seiber wrote a play that is set on the bridge of a science fiction ship. Another play also needs giant sized Monopoly cards. But my favorite so far is the play with the Nun, the Chicken, the Cop and the Doctor. I think it is called "Long Days Journey Into Night Two!!" Just kidding. But it'll be fun to see how these ideas evolve throughout the day.

There are seven pairs of directors and playwrights about. From what I can hear the directors are really plumbing the minds of the they manage to function at this moment is beyond me. Bravo. Chris Haddad and Makela Pollock were deep in discussion over Chris's play Donation, batting number 2 tonight. Heard it described conceptually "that stupid people have more kids..." So apparently we have a play set in Kent tonight. Ba dum bum.

If you thought I would stop blathering about the FREE FOOD that is DELICIOUS and FREE, you were wrong. Alex is making sausages. "We don't fuck around here at 14/48," quoth he. No sir, you do not.

Scratch that comment above about the actors resting well. Chris Bell didn't get much sleep last night, due to nerves. "Just excited about today." He also brought several suits, just in case they'd be needed for tonight. Thinking on his toes, I like that. Someone will end up needing a suit, no doubt.

sympathy pangs

Dudes, it drives me effing crazy not to be at 14/48 from moment one until moment final. I was on the Steering Committee until those fuckers bounced me off when they discovered that I was embezzling millions of dollars. (Forget I said that, omg my lawyer's going to kill me.) My point is that I used to be around it all the time and now I am not and I have a dull ache about it. It's vague anxiety and jealousy and possessiveness and joy and pride and excitement all mixed up and baked into a nice pot pie. I cannot wait for tonight to see all my lovers absolutely kill it. (I will of course be in disguise because of the restraining order thing; whatever.)

Playwright update: Darian Lindle

Email received from playwright Darian Lindle at 12:22 AM

Wow. So... it's 12:22AM. My play is almost done. I think. Unless it will be like last time when I wrote about 4 plays that all sucked and then woke up again at 4AM to write a new one.

I can't tell if my play will be shitty or not. I guess it will really depend on my teammates tomorrow.

Having the last play is hard. How do I end the show? I keep thinking that it needs to end with a song. Or a dance! I want to keep the energy up so that I can end the show in a way that makes the audience feel good. Like, yay, that was a nice way to spend an evening and $20. As opposed to, well, at least it was air conditioned.

A note to future writers - do not attempt to write at Beth's Diner. It may be open 24 hours, but it is not a cohsive place to get your head together. The music is too loud and the people are kinda stinky. Maybe it's that I've never been there before 2AM before.


The Draw

Directors and Playwrights have been slowly filtering in to On The's 9:15 and not everyone's here yet...Tsk tsk...

We're downstairs in the black box when Jodi and Paul come in with the scripts, and the directors get to blindly draw them. After the draw, they get to reading while the playwrights leave the room. It'd be funny if one of them stayed and read over the director's shoulder, but I guess we don't want too much tension this early in the morning. After the directors get their first impression of the script, they will pair off with their playwright to discuss 'concepts' or something fancy and director-like.

Speaking of segues, has anyone noticed the copious amounts of FOOD these guys have? And it's FREE! No wonder this festival is popular.

Playwright Update: Rachel Atkins

Email received from 14/48 playwright Rachel Atkins:

8:45 pm get idea driving home

9-10 try writing different idea

10-11:30 go back to original idea, remind self of personal 1448 rule to stick with the driving home idea, hand write first draft, original idea morphs into something different

11:30-1:30 finish first draft, hate it and consider writing something new, remind self of rule again, eat bowl of ice cream, type and revise script, decide that significant changes would require giving up more sleep than willing to lose, go to bed

6 am awakened by fire alarm in house inexplicably going off once, try to get back to sleep, fail

7:15 get up for final read and revisions

7:50 email script with still vague feelings of dissatisfaction—now it’s the director’s and actors’ turn to figure it out…

The fire alarm was probably a sign from God, or perhaps Jesus.

Playwright Update: Becky Bruhn

Email from Playwright Becky Bruhn received 1:57 AM.

I got a slow start. I had some family-related interruptions, had to set up fans in my house, and needed to do some research for one of the characters. I was hoping to finish by midnight and wasn't even close! And after all that, it's really just a small sweet piece, nothing profound. (It is the two men play.) Now, to bed.



Morning Pics!

Good morning! Look at those beautiful grey skies we have for today...This might be the happiest I've ever been to see grey skies...Maybe Seattle won't feel like the inside of a sweatshop today.

Here are some photos from last night's Artist Meeting.

Our home for the weekend!

The Mazen! Gave upon it with reverence!

Oooh, Sexy.


What Jon Lutyens thinks the plays will be about.

Okay one more that I couldn't resist.

From a chat box two hours ago, reprinted, of course, without permission.

Jon: what's the theme?

me: My Turn

Jon: cool

me: Very!!

Jon: there'll be a dating plot
a playground plot
maybe a dance piece
maybe a stripping piece
maybe a divorce plot

me: any other guesses?

Jon: hopefully an avant garde language piece.
maybe a piece about college drinking.
probably a sex piece.

So. How many do you think he got right? I will guess conservatively and say three.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Some random bits before bed time.

So after introductions were made, the rules and regulations were discussed, the Mazen Award was presented and the theme was drawn, all the actors, directors, band members, designers and playwrights split off into groups and got together for a brief pow-wow before heading out into the night.

I eavesdropped a bit on the playwrights, where I learned that dreamscapes and meta-theatrical plays are generally frowned upon ("Your play is about you writing a play? Congratulations, you're the billionth person to think of that." ... "But it's my take on it!") It was at this point I realized I was glad I was not a playwrite, because the metaplay is where my brain immediately went.

Then, I met up with Deb Fialkow, the wonderful volunteer coordinator, and was taken on a tour of the facilities. 5 plays will rehearse @ ON the Boards (In surprisingly small rehearsals spaces), while the other two get spots at the Seattle Rep.

Afterwards, I scoured the premises, putting it on myself to find some witty quoticisms (Yes, I create words) to throw up here for your entertainment before bed time. Here goes:

MEGAN AHIERS: "What, are you trying to get quotes or I put this cock in my mouth...yeah, you can put that up" Very well, Megan. Very well.

LOUISE BUTLER, fearless stage manager, on what scares her the most about this weekend: "That I have no idea what the fuck is going on...I know I gotta be there at three. That's all." Awesome.

GARY MENENDEZ, designer: "I am eminently unquotable." Ironically, this is my favorite quote of the night.

ELIZABETH ELLER, virgin director, on her greatest fear: "I'm a director, I don't have fear...that's what seperates us from the other artists." You talk a big game, Eller. I like it.

Apropros of nothing, this fanciful bon mot from TROY FISCHNALLER: "Two dogs in a tub." Google it.

But the winner of the "That's What She Said" OVERHEARD AT 14/48 quote goes to ERIN KRAFT: "It landed in my eye, Trick."

Time for bed...the goal is to be back at On the Boards around 8 or 830 AM...that is when playwrights have to have the final draft of their scripts in, in order to get them printed out for the directors meeting at 9.

Speaking of the playwrights...I wonder how they are doing.......

Mazen Award winner for weekend one.... Christopher Nellis.



Perhaps I should blog a bit about that! The theme for night one:

"My Turn."

Oooh, nice!

In my one-second opinion, I can pretty confidently state that this theme does not suck. It'll be exciting to see what the playwrights come up with.

Here's some footage of the theme drawing from the not as cold as it looks large plastic ice cream cone.

{EDIT: Just kidding. It didn't load right. Blogging FAIL. Why don't you imagine in your head what the drawing of the theme looked like, I mean that's what theatre's all about, right?}

A few more blogs coming before beddy bye time.

DAY 1 THEME: "My Turn"

Oh intrepid, young virgins of 14/48....
Thank you, Gary Menendez, lookin' forward to 7 brand spankin' new plays incorporating the theme "My Turn". 

Writers Bruhn, Stewart, Fischnaller for Sieber, Jewell, Lindle, Haddad picking their numbers.

And thank you, Jim Jewell, for accepting the Mazen Award on behalf of Nellis, who made so many festivals memorable acting and writing. He will be toasted all weekend long. Rest in peace, sweet friend.

14/48 Summer '09 Festival Stage Manager Louis 'Lou' Butler!

And Mark Fullerton is not the oldest man on Earth technically, just in 14/48 festival seasons....

The games have begun! The first keg tapped and tapped out -a festival first - it's hot outside but cool inside On the Boards, with cool bevies at the bar, why on earth would you choose to stay in your 110 degree brick oven of an apartment naked with appropriately placed bowls of ice? Come on down! All are welcome - 8pm and 10:30 shows Friday and Saturday, box office opens one hour prior to curtain, plenty of time to chill in the lobby and sip something icy.

Day begins early, Madison Market run is even earlier for remaining breakfast nosh (many thanks for their donation!).

We start them young, isn't that so, Harvey?

(Saving money in these downturned times? We could still use a few ushers tomorrow [Friday night] and ushers/box office volunteers next weekend. 2 comps and 2 half pricers go to volunteers, good for the entire the Volunteer Coordinator [Deb Fialkow, me, this weekend, Megan Ahiers next weekend] at

Acting vet May and virgin writer  Sieber               Band vet  Keene, 14/48 SC Fialkow, acting vet Fischnaller