14 plays in 48 hours? Hell ya.

​Review of 14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival by Alden Nagel

14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival is a 48-hour festival in which 14 plays are written, cast, directed, rehearsed, scored, designed, and premiered all within those two days. The 14/48 Festival at ACT is renowned for its ability to produce a plethora of plays at a breakneck speed, being able to produce them quite well, and put on a great show all the while.

And last weekend — the first of two making up the entire festival — 14/48 did exactly that! The plays, each unique to the nights they were performed, were all very energetic, if not in movement, then in emotion and thematic progress. And they were all very well played-out, more or less. The 14 shows, as a whole, were a solid mix of both comedy and drama. Some were written better than others, I have to admit, but both nights began and ended well, that’s for sure.

Providing incidental entertainment was a live band made up of about 10 members, situated right behind the acting floor. And it was genius. Besides providing something else for the audience to look at, the band members provided such energy themselves that it almost seemed like the musicians were interacting with the audience as much as the actors were.

Oh, and I personally thought the fact that they chose David Bowie’s “Changes” as an interlude between two plays in the second night was just so, so, so, so, so beautiful (ladies and gentleman, I have a really big thing *coughcoughfetishcoughcough* for Bowie, deal with it). Regarding the scoring as a whole, it was interestingly (or dare I say ingeniously) diverse, ranging from David Bowie (hehe) to classic country/folk rock, to even ambient drone metal reminiscent of Earth and Sun O)))).

And the acting itself, overall, was good! Well it was certainly not what I would call a beautiful example of professional acting, considering the unabashed lack of time to rehearse it (or to provide eloquent, professional-grade stage production for that matter), but overall, it was...good. Almost! I would really, really like to say this was better than any other 14/48 production, even setting the bar for future years, but I can’t. Even with the David Bowie in it, I just can’t.

But ultimately it was a violently entertaining show and an even better time at the theater. With a well-balanced mix of both comedy and drama, an amazing band, and a variety of well-written plays, the first weekend of this year’s 14/48 Festival was fun. So is it worth it to go see and feel the amazingness this upcoming weekend? Hell ya.

14/48 Festival
January 10-18

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