Of 48s and Serial Killers
WHAT: 48 Hour Theater Festival
WHEN: 7:30pm and 10pm Fri.-Sat., Jan. 25-26
WHAT: Serial Killers 2.0
WHEN: 7:30pm and 9:30pm Fri.-Sat., Feb. 1-March 1
WHERE: Sylvia Center, 205 Prospect St.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Utilizing phrases such as “wheel of doom” and “sudden death” iDiOM Theater’s upcoming roster of performances at the Sylvia Center might be construed of as theater that is more cutthroat than comedic. But that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to the 12 new plays that will be created in two days during the 48 Hour Theater Festival and the episodic madness that is Serial Killers 2.0. We caught up with artistic director Glenn Hergenhahn-Zhao for creative clarification.
Cascadia Weekly: When it comes to the 48 Hour Theater Festival, what is the Wheel of Doom?
Glenn Hergenhahn-Zhao: In addition to being randomly assigned to a team, all performers come into the festival not knowing if they will write, direct, act or be in the band. Their fates are decided by the spin of a wheel.
CW: This will be iDiOM’s 51st iteration of the 48. Did you ever think there would be this many, and what have you learned by being a part of so much insanity?
GHZ: We used to talk about the idea of there one day being our 48th 48 Hour Festival, so we had some notion it might span the decades. I still learn new things each festival, and I still make mistakes.
The 48s have always been my favorite part of the season. It’s when we get to work with new people along with our veterans, and see a storm of focused creativity come to life on the stage. Most of what I’ve learned as a playwright, I’ve learned from doing the 48s, not the least because they have inspired/forced me to write more than 100 plays. I’ve also learned I need more sleep than I did 17 years ago.
CW: Why should people pack these shows?
GHZ: They are great shows—entertaining, inspiring and nerve-wracking from both sides of the stage. These are usually the coming together of all the actors, writers, directors and musicians that are currently part of our season, and they are a talented crew.
CW: The following weekend, another time-sensitive series, Serial Killers 2.0, will return. For those who’ve never heard of such a thing, how would you describe it?
GHZ: Serial Killers is a tournament of serial theater where playwrights and directors create episodic plays with a new installment each week, and each week the audience votes one team out of the tournament. The audience is the “serial killer” in the equation.
CW: Are there any changes from past Serial Killers?
GHZ: This year we are expanding the festival to two full lineups of teams, so there will be separate groups competing on Friday and Saturday nights. We are also including three teams in the finale, and prize money has been tripled: $1,500 for first place, $750 for second, $500 for third, and $250 for fourth.
CW: Is there anything else to report?
GHZ: The first three weeks are in the studio space, so get tickets early. Also, buckle up.
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