In a letter to 14/48 participants, the steering committee wrote: "Recent events at Consolidated Works, including Matt [Richter]'s firing, have led us to consider other alternatives for the festival." The steering committee also sent a statement of cause to the ConWorks board, accusing it of being slow and opaque, leaving everyone in a limbo that the board "seems content to draw out without resolution," and showing "a profound lack of respect for the common decencies which form the true bonds of any partnership."
Board president Robb Krieg said he was "disappointed" that 14/48 had decided to move and that the board "had been working and talking with them, trying to keep 14/48 at ConWorks."
While it's admirable that 14/48 has stuck to its ethical guns, leaving the friendly ConWorks clubhouse might be trouble--with double the seating and 10 times the formality, the Broadway Performance Hall will make 14/48 a very different experience. That could be a nice jolt: Success and stasis breed complacency and recent 14/48s have trended downward, as the economists might say. Let's hope the festival embraces its new home instead of flopping around awkwardly in a puddle of nostalgia and regret.
(In related gossip: Somebody allegedly snuck into ConWorks to scribble "Save Matt!" on a few walls and drink from the bar stash. Imagine Richter as an art-scene Trotsky, and the metaphor congeals: the exiled leader, partisan vandals, committees, manifestoes, the Big, Bad Institution and its communiqués of commitment to "the original mission." Sadly, the metaphor ends there: Richter probably won't get to have a steamy affair with a famous Mexican painter. (On the bright side, he probably won't be murdered by an assassin with an ice pick, either.)
Meanwhile, a new kid on the micro-theater block will premier this weekend--24 Hour Plays, produced by Green Theatre Productions and Theatre Puget Sound. Based on a nearly identical conceit, 24 Hour Plays will create six new works in a single revolution of the Earth and perform them this Saturday, April 23, at Theatre 4 in Seattle Center.
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In unrelated news: Tony Kushner charmed last week's gray-haired Benaroya Hall audience with his sparkling gem of a mind, talking about prudishness ("I don't set out to shock or offend, but some people are too easily shocked"), the Bible ("Depressingly, lots of people don't read it or read it in the worst possible way"), and honkies ("Humor is a tool of oppressed people, which isn't to say WASPs aren't funny--sometimes in ways other than the inadvertent"). There was lots of clapping and laughing and, for one glorious hour, Kushner made us all feel much smarter than we are.