There was speculation this would be a dry festival. The speculation was wrong. A group of Wolverhampton layabouts descended on Leicester for 14/48. They all arrived by 2pm. This left the group with a few hours to kill which were killed in a pub. At 19:26 as we wait for the company meeting to start a group of us are already succumbing to alcohol poisoning. But it’s all good. Nothing to worry about.
Inside the Y the groups gather. Veterans, those who have done the festival before hug and share tales of what they’ve been doing. Virgins, taking part in their first festival, follow a veteran they know like a puppy or sit nervous. Wondering what they’ve let themselves in for. But another veteran will quickly be upon them. Reassuring words will be passed on. This is 14/48. Mutual love and support in abundance.
Bob Christer leads the faithful and the new followers into the fold. We have a light show, a powerpoint presentation and a beer keg. A theme is picked.
As a writer on 14/48 I’ve experienced the nervousness which is the drawing of the theme. On this night I sit back. I only have to walk the General’s dog miles away from the front line. Next to me is Jess Green… writer… front line soldier. She looks pensive. As if she’s about to go on a white knuckle ride for the first time. A look I recognise. The look of a writer waiting for the theme. Hoping and praying for something with scope, life and inspiration.
Bob shouts the theme…
A righteous quest.
In what seems like seconds the groups are split. Writers stand in front of the stage. They talk about journeys.
Does anyone have any ideas?
There are nods around the group. “Yes,” one says, “But we’re not telling you.”
That is understandable. Ideas at this stage are not for sharing. They are for mulling over. Things have to be worked out. Considered.
On stage are the actors. They stand in a circle and a veteran advises them on what they should bring next day. No one is sure what the writers will deliver and in the air seems to hang implications and ideas.
The design team sit around a table. They talk about some of the things they have access to. No one says what they think the writers or directors will deliver but they second guess while being vague.
The directors sit around another table. A veteran speaks. “Pick one or two things which you make big. Make the rest subtle.” It’s good advice. Tomorrow they pick a script and have to start putting together a show.
Slowly the writers disperse to their houses and hotel rooms. No doubt cups of coffee will be drunk while stress lines grow on the forehead.
Everyone else mingles. We’re 23 hours away from show time. At 9am tomorrow morning we see what the writers have produced.
The energy in the room sparkles. The tapped keg is hit. 7 writers write. A whole lot of people prepare and bask in the love of their fellow creatives.
14/48. There is nothing like it.