14/48 - Insights of a lurking photographer

August 02, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Regular blog post the third (in a series that is maintaining far more regularity than I anticipated).

Having not really done any photography this week, and in keen anticipation of 14/48 London (www.1448.london), I thought I'd waffle on a bit about my experiences to date with the frankly preposterous high speed theatre festival. I shan't go into great detail on the intricacies of the whole cos other people have done that better than I can - like here for example www.1448uk.com. The long and short of it being that a load of awesome, impassioned, creative people get together and go completely insane (fuelled by caffeine, beer and a desire to entertain) as an offshoot to this collective hallucinatory event, 14 brand new ten minute plays are written, rehearsed and performed over two days to a paying audience.

I've been lucky enough to lurk around in the shadows with my camera at three 14/48 events so far this year, with a view to documenting the creative process and thus providing evidence for those involved that it wasn't just some weird dream... Being a 14/48 Virgin (with a badge to prove it) at Leicester back in May I wasn't sure what to expect. Can this really work? Will this really yield 14 plays worthy of a discerning Leicester crowd? Could I feel more introverted?! The answer to questions one and two turned out to be a huge yes, the jury's out on question three...

The 14 plays performed over the two days were hilarious, moving, intense, engaging, crazy, bold and adventurous (with no allowances made for the process), everyone involved (design team, musicians, writers, directors, actors) gave everything and then a whole load more, and the audiences went off into the night wondering what exactly they'd experienced but knowing that it was flaming awesome...

This level of awesomeness was sustained (and then some) for the 14/48 Takeover, seven plays written by 9-14 year olds with professional mentors, and then handed over to regular actors, directors, designers and musicians to perform to an audience that included the young writers. Suffice to say the levels of imagination and boundless enthusiasm from the young writers really challenged the production teams (an enchanted maze, a functioning rope swing, a crash landed spaceship) and in turn led to seven remarkable pieces of theatre.

Next up was 14/48 Wolverhampton, and my first fully immersive experience (not going home for the duration of the festival!) sleep was mostly avoided, food happened occasionally and much incredible theatre was conceived. Again the writers threw down the gauntlet with highlights including: The Garden of Eden, a fully functioning womb (complete with jelly amniotic fluid), a post apocalyptic wasteland, stoner squirrels...the list could go on. Again the 14/48 magic happened in spite of common sense, logic and sleep deprivation; and audiences were left wowed by What can be achieved when a group of hugely talented individuals come together and do what they love doing.

Oh, and I took a few photos of all this, they're over on the events page... Neither my clumsy words, nor the heap of photos can even come close to doing justice to 14/48, you definitely need to experience it in the flesh. On that front there's excellent news for residents of London Town, as this carnival of theatrical wonders rolls into your quaint little hamlet to set its stall out at the Lost Theatre on the 7th and 8th August. Nobody knows what'll happen, but you have my word that you won't be disappointed (maybe confused, a little bit scared, but not disappointed).

See you there :)


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