1448 May 2015 is Underway

So the writers have writ, directors chosen, actors pulled out of the Judy & Sean receptacles.
The theme is Double Bluff.
Tonight we see 7 brand new world premiere plays on the theme all written, cast, produced, scored, teched & performed in 24 hours.
The beautiful band are rehearsing right now. And I can tell you it sounds GOOD!

Come along for the 8 o’clock or 10.30 shows!

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Overnight Writing

So we got a theme ‘Time To Harvest’ out of the hat. Had a meeting. Scared ourselves.
I got play #5. 4 women.
Not done no. 5 before but love writing women.
I’m not a fan of the ‘go with your first idea’ advice but as I swooped over the flyover on the drive home my idea landed in my head.
So I got home. Cup of tea. Cheese twist. Research. Notes. Writing.
It came out more easily than I expected.
I resisted that moment of thinking ‘This is crap. Start again.’ Stuck it out.
There seemed relatively little panicking on Twitter by co-writers.
Now I’m about to get out of bed & look at it again. Massively hoping I don’t find it IS crap.
Really excited to see the other bleary eyed writers bonded by peril.
Who is my director?
Who are my actors?
What will be for brekkie?
Key 14/48 questions.

Today There Are Just Jobs To Do

Ok, so you know what happens at 14/48, you’re ready, you know not to tempt The 14/48 Gods, if you’re on the artistic team you’ll have received an update saying what actors should bring, what writers should think about… all those items of underwear are slightly disturbing …

NOW WE NEED TO DRAG PEOPLE IN!

1448 Leicester Festival- Play- 'Sins . . .'- Maria Bragoli photo Like this is we have to …

but seriously, there are other ways ….

We’d like you to spread the word, share the love ….

If you’re on Facebook, let all your friends know about 14/48 … link them to this blog, or to the Facebook group. Let them know how damn GOOD it all is!

Get them to book tickets.

If you’re on Twitter make sure you’re following @1448Leicester and respond to challenges and retweet!

And best of all remember is Word of Mouth, tell your mates, tell your mum, persuade them to come because we want as many people as possible to see how brilliant this festival is.

The buzz is already great around 14/48 this time. Let’s make it bigger and buzzier ….

What is 14/48? A Beginner’s Guide

How do you tell people what 14/48 IS?

14/48 is like nothing else. …. That doesn’t help …

Here’s a handy guide for explaining it to people –

’14/48 is where 7 writers, 7 directors, a bunch of actors, designers, technicians, musicians & numerous others converge upon the Y Theatre to write, produce, score and put on 14 brand new plays in just 48 hours.’

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And here’s what to say to people who might like to come and watch it:

‘It’s a brilliant, amazing energetic night of new theatre, twice. You’d be mad to miss it!’

More detail…

So much of it is random:

The themes are drawn out of a hat.

7 new plays on the first theme are written overnight on Thursday, the directors choose a play at random on Friday morning. The plays are cast by picking actors from the hat, the plays are then rehearsed, teched, scored during the day on Friday and put on in the evening, twice. Once at 8pm and again at 10.30pm.

Then in the interval the theme for Saturday is picked from the hat. Then the whole thing happens all over again with 7 MORE plays being put on, on Saturday night, at 8 and 10.30

It’s fast, exhilarating, hang onto your hat stuff.

Handy terminology:

The Keg:

It is 14/48 tradition that The Keg is tapped at the Thursday night meeting and is freely available to all participants for the next 48 hours.

Virgins & Veterans:

If you’ve never done 14/48 before you’re a Virgin. If you’ve done the festival in a certain role, you’re a Veteran. If you try a different role (changing from Director to Writer or Actor for example) you are born again as a Virgin.

Seans and Judys:

The actors names are all put into two receptacles. The women into the Judy Dench pot and the men into the Sean Connery pot and from here they are drawn each morning.

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Bark With The Big Dogs: (see also Go Big or Go Home)

These are subtle motivational exhortations for everyone to put their all into the festival. ‘Bark With The Big Dogs Or Get Of The Fucken Porch’ being the best example.

But there are others… prepare yourself for these questions and answers at the daily 7pm meeting:

Question: “What does the 8pm show have?!” Answer: “opening night energy!”

Question: “What does the 10.30pm show have?!” Answer: “closing night energy!”

“Whose is the best play?” – everyone shouts theirs.

“If you’re feeling tired, raise the mother f***ing stakes”

Food:

Lunch is provided each day.

And FINALLY …. Don’t Tempt The 14/48 Gods!

They work in mysterious ways. Don’t tempt them, just don’t. Never say out loud that you do/don’t want to work with someone as generally you’ll get the opposite of what you wish for.

‘Miss That Chord Out, We’ll Just Play C’ – The Musician’s View, Steve Escott

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!

 

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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.

‘Nobody Loses The Corkscrew’ A Virgin Actor & Writer’s View – William Breden

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. dsc_0602 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.

Blind Panic and A Deadline – 3 Views from the Festival: Rob Gee, Tonia Sorrell, Lucy Phillips,

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.

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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!

 

Virgins! Get Me A Beer! – A Veteran Actor’s View, Lily Portman.

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  

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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.

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The Keg

A Pig? In Pants? – A Veteran Actor’s View – Stuart Reid

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’.

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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!!’

Pant Wettingly What? – A Veteran Writer’s View – Jayne Williams

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’

14/ 48 Leicester Theatre Festival - Writers Circle on StageThe 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.’