14/48 Theater Festival

The whole point to the annual 14/48 Theater Festival, in which 14 new 10-minutes plays are created over two weekends, is to accept the format's hasty limitations. Facing his fourth outing at 14/48, actor-playwright MJ Sieber says, "You're definitely setting up a chance to fail--usually on the first night [Friday], which then informs the second night's performance." The themes are assigned at random, and the writers' response is to usually aim for laughs. "That's what I've always shot for," says Sieber. "Having sat through thousands of 14/48 performances, it seems like SNL-style sketch comedy works best." Also, it's best to maintain a character-first approach to writing. "I don't think about the plot beforehand," he adds. More advice: Hew to realism or go completely beyond it (into the zany), and keep the stagecraft simple. "If you're gonna have any props, it's best to be minimal--a stapler and a cell phone." BRIAN MILLER

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 & 10:30 p.m. Starts: Jan. 6. Continues through Jan. 14, 2012

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