Fourteen plays, conceived, written, rehearsed, and mounted in the brutally short space of 48 hours—it's like Scheherazade shot out of a cannon. The participants gather Thursday evening; a theme is plucked from a hat, and the writers go at it all night; in the morning, each director is handed a 10-minute script, selected randomly; the actors arrive an hour later, and the rest of the day is dedicated to creating the play from rehearsal and revision to design and scoring. At 8 p.m. that very evening, the plays receive their world premiere, and during intermission the audience is asked to submit ideas for the following night's madness. And so it starts all over again. According to 14/48 steering committee member Jim Jewel, the festival is a sort of Darwinian bonding ritual, as well as a litmus test for creativity under stress. "It really distills the immediacy of theater," Jewel said. "One of the strengths of this festival is that when you really push artists' limits, ingenuity takes over. Some of the best acting and best directing I have ever seen has taken place on the 14/48 stage. It is an environment where the very best excel." Capitol Hill Arts Center (CHAC), 1621 12th Ave., 800-838-3006, www.1448fest.com, www.brownpapertickets.com. $14.48. Opens Fri. Jan. 6. 8 & 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat. Jan. 14.