At 9:50 p.m. on October 9, 2016 I entered the North Seattle College Theater. Outside the doors, the night was winding down, but, inside, a world of vibrancy was just about to begin. I admit I was a little tired as I sat in my seat, but my fatigue was incomparable to that of the participants who had been awake for the last 13-24 hours.
With one performance finished only an hour ago, and the other about to start, associate producer Else Ratzliff ’17 filed people into the theater. Unlike most plays, this one did not have a single director or writer. In the high school addition of 14/48 there were seven different writers and 7 different directors. In just 24 hours, these teenagers were able to write, direct, stage, block, light, memorize, and perform seven different small plays under a larger theme. This year, the theme was lace.
However, “lace” could be incorporated into the play in a variety of different ways. Some of the writers took “lace” literally by including actual lace into their plays. Others used lace in terms of “laced front wigs” or “lacing something with drugs.”
The Stage Manager Noah Sarkowsky ’17, Lighting Designer Michaela Smith ’17, and Design Coordinator Alex Mihalski ’17 made sure to differentiate the plays by creating distinct set designs, lighting, music cues, and props for each performance. This allowed the audience separate the messages of plays even though they were thematically connected.
While there were seven plays, I will focus on the play of SAAS senior Genevieve Goodman. Goodman’s play, “The Lord Will Provide,” explored the effect of lacing children’s minds with the idea that God lets everything happens for a reason. While the theme of “lace” was very loosely related to the play as a whole, the play itself was very successful.
Max Boone ’17 played Mason: a boy who has been shunned by his parents for his sexuality. After being told multiple times that God has a plan, Mason stands up to question the belief that God allows bad things to happen. He poses the idea that God simply might not be that invested in people’s lives, and people shouldn’t live thinking they must deserve to have bad things happen to them.
Boone gave a stellar performance in his ending monologue. His composure and strength stayed true to a realistic confrontation. By physically standing up, but not standing aggressively, Boone’s character showed that he was serious and demanded to be heard, but his volume never rose to a point where he seemed out of control.
Mason’s defiance engaged the audience because he drew them into a discussion by questioning something many people do not think to question. The confrontation forced the audience to think about the pros and cons of thinking that God is involved in the finite events of their lives. While watching the play, I genuinely forgot that I was sitting in an auditorium because I felt like I had been drawn into a real world in which Mason defied his religious teacher in class.
The set design for “The Lord Will Provide” reminded me that extravagance is not always necessary. While there were no doors or walls to indicate different rooms, the stage crew was able to successfully indicate a scene change through lighting.
The ability of the stage crew to create such successful lighting was especially impressive because of the limited lighting options the stage provided.
However, the uniform costumes and auditorium lighting gave the impression of being at a boarding school, which was all that was needed for this play because the most important parts of the play came from the monologues.
As a whole project, I was very impressed with 14/48. Even with the short timeline, many of the writers, like Goodman, did an excellent job of incorporating enough light heartedness and lowbrow humor to engage an audience at 10 p.m. At the same time, they also gave enough depth to characters like Mason, so that actors like Max could truly connect with and captivate the people looking for something more provocative.
Although the theme of “lace” was obscure in “The Lord Will Provide” and some of the other plays, the most successful ones were the plays that abstracted the theme because those shows tended to have more interesting messages. All in all, the festival was a fabulous testament to the abilities of the participants. Congratulations to all members of the festival for a stellar performance.