Consolidated Works

Ended last week.

The 14/48x2 folks didn't really seem too keen on me coming out to "review." I was implored to arrive early instead, meander about, get a feel for the 14/48x2 "process," and write about that. It was argued that barring unlikely Fringe Fest revivals, no living person would ever point their peepers at any of these productions again. 14/48x2 is a different concept: An impressive mélange of local theater artists commiserate, seize upon a common, randomly picked topic (this time the underinspired yet eternally broad topic of "dating"), and hammer out 14 complete theater pieces within 24 hours. Most of the shows are one-shot deals, so what's the point of "reviewing"?

At the end of the 14/48x2 "process," are the doors not thrown open to the public? If that doesn't qualify an event--any event--for critical review, I can't imagine what does. And this is 14/48x2's second year now, and I predict we'll be seeing a third year, too. So below is my brief critique of 14/48x2's final eight offerings:

The first little gem was called The Rain in Spain. We have an interracial, multigenerational, heterosexual couple who hook up with a Japanese exchange student played by a white girl (whose accent sounded like a slutty Scandinavian once or twice). The structure was loose and loopy, the acting quite good, and the Japanese girl was white. Extra points for nontraditional casting.

Uh-Oh was an exercise in sexual surrealism starring Imogen Love as a teenager who's jerking off her boyfriend. His dick falls off. Turns out that all penises in this weird world are robotic, hydraulic, and artificially scented. Fabulous.

The third offering was Que Sera, My Darling, with Charles Legget and J. D. Lloyd as two gay dudes who break up, attempt dating other people, fail, reconcile. Elegantly constructed and cleverly penned.

In The Dig, Brian Culver takes a headlong spill down memory lane as he reminisces about old girlfriends. It waxed clunky now and again, but featured the ever-cracking-my-ass-up Julie Rawley, who danced like a slut on a platform. And there was an entrance on a three-story scaffold too! Written by Jim Jewell.

Wayne Rawley of Money & Run fame authored my favorite offering, The Politics of Dancing. Two young couples attend their first junior high school dance. Superlative performances, '80s pop, and prepubescent anxiety--what's not to love?

I got a real kick out of Important Dates in History by John Longenbaugh. When Josh Sliwa's girlfriend dumps him he builds a time machine (a fat-tired bike spray-painted silver) and goes scooting through time in search of love. "Time travel" is affected by pedaling around the stage under disco lights as the band plays "Low Rider." Inspirational! Sliwa discovers that Cleopatra was a workaholic, Helen of Troy was a borderline retard, and Joan of Arc kicked ass.

Number seven was Dating Practices. Three young punks take turns making each other act like girls so they can "practice." I have too many issues with the subject matter to comment further.

The final offering was weird: Find This One Small Memory and Keep it Close. The bloodied remains of a slaughtered married couple are scrutinized by forensics experts. The bloody bodies rise briefly to explain how they met and fell in love--a concept that could have only sprung from the twisted mind of Tamara Paris. Stark, gruesome, and oddly touching.