The 14/48 Band is a raggle taggle bunch of musos who are thrust together and required to perform miracles. In some ways they’re the hardest working of anyone (he made me put that) because they’re working all day and then all through each evening.
The band are required to name themselves, to be in the building to work out music for the evening and to score each of the 7 shows each day and then perform at both shows on both nights. They set the tone, they help gee up the audience, they glue everything together. They’re quite the unsung heroes of 14/48 so share the band love!
Here is the view of musician Steve Escott who took part in the second 14/48 Leicester and will be leading the band in the November festival:
The band gets together at the Thursday meeting and figures out who is going to play what. On each day the directors come to us with their ideas and, after we’ve stopped laughing, we see what is possible and what we’ll be able to remember. We also have to learn a couple of songs for the opening and closing of the show and hope they don’t have too many chords in. It’s great if you have musicians who are willing to take risks and have a good time and work outside their comfort zone with an ‘I can play that!’ attitude. It’s a lot of fun, if hard work, it’s an adrenaline fuelled 48 hours but since I’m a bass player I’m a massive masochist… so 14/48 works for me.
William Breden is a large and hairy presence who can usually be found lurking around the creative people of Leicester, despite their protests. He writes a bit and dabbles in most other things, as long as they can be done sitting down. He doesn’t have a process. He is a director of KLiC and is very good at leaving early. Here is Will sitting under a tree with Shawn Belyea who came all the way from Seattle to take part in the second Leicester 14/48. They were in ‘Do We Not Bleed’ by Michael O’Hara on the Saturday night. Here’s what Will has to say about his involvement with 14/48: I was a virgin when I took to the stage earlier this year, roughly blurting the clever, funny lines created just hours before by slightly dazed looking writers. The audience responded warmly to all those on stage, there was a feeling both in the seats and in the wings that we were all in this together – like a party – except this wasn’t a family party where your Aunt tipsily remembers half of the macarena, NO this was like a party where everyone is pretty and charming and no one loses the corkscrew or gets off with their ex.This time round I’m a virgin again, which came as a shock to my wife. Writing is my lot and so I will be staying up all night (twice) trying to ensure a group of eager professionals aren’t left twiddling their thumbs. I can’t think of anything better.14/48 is a party without a hangover. Come along in November, BYOB.
14/48 is a festival that brings together a huge number of creatives in a pressure cooker of play making, just as important as the plays are the folks who toil on the edge of panic for 48 behind the scenes and of course the audience … here are three short views from different corners of 14/48…
Rob Gee was one of the writers on the first 14/48 Leicester and memorably had one of his characters craving roadkill during pregnancy. Rob Gee is one of Leicester’s finest and funniest spoken word artists and is very popular in Canada. He can be found hanging around virtually here.
My experience of 1448 was pretty joyous, including the stress of staying up writing for two nights. It’s funny how nothing stirs the the creative process like blind panic and a deadline.
Tonia Sorrell was an audience member at 14/48. She is a singer and can be found gracing the stage in her band Rondo at Leicester’s most salubrious venues.
From my perspective as a member of Saturday’s audience the level of excitement in the room was incredible. There was a tangible buzz between the actors, writers and musicians which transmitted itself to everyone in the room. Even if you had walked into the Y that night unaware of the scale of the undertaking, you couldn’t fail to be caught up in the creative energy, and amazing quality of the performance. Can’t wait to experience it again.
The indefatigable Lucy Phillips is Head Honcho at Leicester Print Workshop. She can be found being relentlessly cheerful at 14/48 doing ‘Artist Liaison’ – a flexible position she refers to as ‘Hanger Onner’
As a non actor, non designer, non director, non writer etc etc I sit on the edges and sometimes immerse myself fully in 1448. I see it as a huge mass of making, doing, negotiation, collaboration, friendship, laughter, tears and tantrums that collectively forms an enormous ball of power that feeds Leicester’s creative soul!
Lily Portman is a Veteran actress of 14/48 Leicester. She is former president of Leicester University Theatre, is a dab hand with gelato and has pet rats. She is ‘a small package of joy, talent and beauty’.
She would very much like you to have a look at her Vlog
Lily about to finish off her husband Lewis Fernadez in David Parkin’s play ‘Hell Have No Fury’ a 14/48 play which was one of two chosen for the Inside Out Festival at Curve Leicester.
14/48 was and is one of the most fun things I have ever done and in the friendliest of atmospheres. Even as a virgin, my first time round I felt wholly welcomed and already felt amongst friends. Although the process is tough (especially as I was in two two-handers last time!…especially when your script reads NYEEEWEEEEEEWEW AAHHHHFMMMM, got to love tired writers!) I didn’t want it to end. Just being around such talented and creative people was a privilege and I’m fortunate that I get to spend the festival with like minded people. I’m already buzzing with excitement to find out November’s first theme! It is a thoroughly rewarding experience…I just can’t wait to get going in November! And to get the virgins to top my beer* up, that’s always a plus.
*One of the rules of 14/48 is that Virgins must replenish the glasses of Veterans from The Keg whenever required. As quickly as possible.
Stuart Reid is an actor and part of the wonderful, wanderful, Impulse Collective. He’s taken part in both Leicester 14/48 festivals and was once cast as A Pig in the play ‘Bacon’.
Here is Stuart playing a dead army chef in ‘Unjustly’ photo by Nathan Human
And here’s what Stuart has to say about his involvement so far with 14/48 Leicester:
’14/48 for me has been amazing. I’ve done it twice now and both times have brought different challenges and experiences. I think as an actor you really have to throw yourself into it. You have only a few hours with the script so you need to find your character. Once you’ve found that and their journey through the piece, the lines will come (hopefully). From 14/48 I’ve also made some great connections with a whole host of diffrent people in Leicester, so many in fact, I’ve moved here!!’
Jayne Williams is a Veteran Writer of the first two 14/48 Leicester festivals. Jayne is currently having a blast as Artist in Residence: Writer, for The Spark Arts for Children and Leicester City Libraries and her new play for ages 9+ about WWI – ‘The First’ is being produced by the Spark Arts for Children and touring Leicester Libraries Nov/Dec 2014.
Jayne is looking forward to her role in the next 14/48 in November which she describes as a ‘reclining, non stressed, wine in hand audience member’
The writers huddle on stage.
You can read Jayne’s blog here and catch up with her on Twitter @MrsJayneW
Jayne describes her 14/48 experiences so far, thusly:
‘Petrifying, exhilarating and frequently, pant wettingly hilarious. It’s fascinating how long you might pick apart ideas, agonise over narrative arc, carefully curate your characters yet, at 8pm on a Thursday eve, when you are given a theme and a 9am next day deadline, it’s surprising how speedily you slash all those musings and just get on with writing something. Handing it over to (what was for me at the time) a total stranger (now a dear friend and colleague) putting your trust in him to take care of your words and shape them into something acceptable on a stage with actors who’ve also probably never before met, in front of a paying audience; all of us taking a massive risk that could quite easily go so tits up. But, both of my short plays on both nights were tremendous. Not in my own trumpet blowing way. By handing my scripts over to expert directors, working with fantastically talented actors, hoisted from a hat at random, I was jammily lucky that they all liked the scripts and kinda ‘got it’ straight off and enjoyed the process of breathing life into the stories, giving an amazing performance, making the audience cry with laughter – making me look clever – bonus!. We must have all been so brave or incredibly naive, to enter into this brand new to Britain, boisterous ballsy American, quick-fire, ‘do it big or go home’ style theatre festival. However, I had the most exhilarating, fly by the seat of yer pants, self-esteem building, pride pluming, connection establishing, chaotic, crazy and comedic three days. I would do it all again…I did, and would advise anyone who works in theatre to put your skills and wit to the test and have the best working weekend of your year.’
The Theme. A moment of pure terror as the theme is drawn.
‘The Silence’ The moment you are in the scene and it goes silent and you’re all looking at each other to see who’s line it is…
Being 6 weeks pregnant and trying to hide it (as only close family knew) and opening my script on the second day to read the sentence at the top “Three women stand on the stage dressed in swimming costumes” or words to that effect…
Sitting in the wee small hours, on your own, imagining all those actors and directors and everyone cosy in their beds while YOU sit there staring at the blank page.
Being in the band and being asked to play ‘young music’
Clicking send on the email to Joanna that has your play attached and knowing it’s no good wishing you had more time …
The keg running out.
Being told I had minus 7 minutes for tech…
Watching your director read through your play is murderously terrifying
The feeling that everything is going alright is mega scary. Like, what am I forgetting?
Going into the theatre before the lights got put on and it was empty …
First sentence of the first script you see on the Friday includes the word “threesome”… First name out of the hat for said script… Yours…
Thinking you’re about to see Clive naked …
Sitting at my desk at 3am thinking ‘there isn’t going to be a script’
Creepy noises coming from underneath Steve’s foot …. Oh wait, they were just sound effects
When you have given all responsibility for costume to someone else and then getting an armful of clothes at 5pm and hoping they fit the actor.. I’m thinking of Allan Scotty Smith and those shorts or my size 9 trainers for size 4 feet!
The best thing, is that everything that scares you are the highlights. Wearing said shorts backwards, because they otherwise don’t fit, having them held together with a safety pin, thinking “glad these are backwards, because this pin won’t stay closed…”
Getting on stage to get your play position and number of characters is pretty scary. Particularly when you find out you’ve five characters and they’re ALL men …
Walking around town, running late to get back to rehearsal, thinking “I can’t find shoes” with a bag of shallots and grapefruit.
Looking into the big pot at lunchtime wondering what Paul Edkins has made?
The scary, experienced people from Seattle with their sexy foreignness… and those accents that mean every single thing they say sounds GREAT …
Stepping on a stage, knowing you really don’t know your lines well enough but having no option but to do it!
Finding a beautifully created set on stage but not knowing what will fall if you touch it by mistake
Getting to the keg and it being empty… my greatest fear.
Thanks to all who contributed to The Scary Bits … it’s 2 weeks now until we can forge some new scary bits … see you there!
Charlotte Bond took part in both previous 14/48 Leicester festivals. She is an actor, singer, ukulele player and cat lover and is a stalwart supporter of theatre in Leicester. Last year Charlotte was one of New Perspectives Emerging Perspectives Company. She describes herself as ‘The Patron Saint of the Y’
This is Charlotte during the tech for Unjustly
Charlotte has this to say about her experiences with 14/48.
‘The thing that stays with me the most is the way it feels like a family gathering.. and that hasn’t come from the fact that this year will be my third 14/48. It was there from the very start, when I first sat in the theatre for the meeting on Thursday night, worried that I didn’t know anyone.. but I felt like I belonged. The Y has become our home, our castle. When you arrive through those stall doors, you are already home and already adopted into the fold.
There is such a wide variety of personalities but it just seems to work – we all just get along and create something absolutely wonderful from just one idea. And the differing personalities mean that every mini-company formed for each play is absolutely unique and even one person changed would result in a completely different outcome. But the magic of 14/48 and the fact that everyone wants to be a part of it, means it just works.
It is the most flexible, challenging, nourishing creative process I’ve ever had the pleasure of being involved with and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.’
Neil Reading was a Virgin director at the second 1448 Leicester in March 2014. He is a theatre director and venue manager for University of Wolverhampton venues, Arena Theatre and The Hub, Walsall.
On the Friday Neil directed ‘Sins – There Are 7 And They’re Quite Deadly‘ by Veteran writer, Jayne Williams which starred Lily Portman and Kirsty Munro.
On the Saturday, Not All Superheroes Are Made This Way by Virgin writer, Roy McFarlane, starring Bob Christer, Jason Lock, Angel Puljung, Sareena Rai and Georgie Elsom.
Here’s what Neil has to say about popping his 1448 cherry:
“As a director who was a little out of practice 14/48 was an incredible way to sharpen up my skills ahead of a big project. The format means you have to make decisions very quickly and it reminds you of how important it is to trust your performers, your writer and, most importantly, your instincts. The festival is also a glorious celebration of the creative process and a must for anyone involved in the industry. There is also, the keg.”
Watch this space for more 1448 Virgin & Veteran Views.
Yes! Three weeks today we’ll be gathering in the main house at The Y, picking up our Veteran or Virgin badges and feeling a wee bit nervous about all the things that are going to happen. Who will we end up working with? What will be the first theme?
There’s a great buzz about 1448 and this, the third time it will have happened in Leicester, means some of the connections will be solid and some brand new. There’s nothing like the crucible of 1448 to forge those new connections. Peril makes people bond and the sheer rollercoaster terror/exhilaration of the festival will do that to you.
When I reflect on what’s happened since my first 1448, when I handed over my first oven fresh script to my first director, Nathan Human and it was cast with Amy Christer and Stuart Reid I’m amazed to think that these people have become friends and colleagues. Nathan and I are now directors of KLiC and Stuart’s been in another of my plays twice and brought the company he’s part of, Impulse Collective, to perform at our first KLiC Sunday.
Other people have become friends too and gone on to become part of what is feeling like an exciting and supportive creative theatre community in Leicester and beyond with our comradely tentacles stretching out to Blaggards in London, Gazebo Theatre in Bilston, Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton and Slung Low in Leeds. Not forgetting Leicester’s own pub theatre Upstairs at The Western, establishing itself more fully as the place to see new work.
I’ve been sensing that buzz starting already, bumping into people and hearing ‘Are you doing 1448?’ in coffee shops, bars and on the streets of Leicester.
And my own family are being steadily sucked into 1448. This time my other half (now husband!) Steve will be leading the house band (and we can only wonder what THAT will be called…) and my daughter Kit will be bringing her considerable Stage Management powers to bear on the proceedings.