Theatre is the best medicine

Yeah, that’s right, laughter can go suck a dick because making theatre is by far and away the greatest form of medicine known to man. And I realised this past weekend just how much I had missed it, and more importantly missed the insane, wonderful, brilliant people that make it with you.

Now, as a forewarning, I have no doubt that the following blog post will be a rambling tale of nice words and feature inconsistent usage of the spelling of theatre. I blame the drugs that I don’t take and so really can’t blame for anything without making myself look suspicious.

First, the background (I recently learnt that the best writers make sure that people know far too much about themselves by adding in copious and unnecessary background information. I much prefer to add in superfluous sentences that just keep going without meaning or point. I like to think I’m an awful Douglas Adams. And it would make sense, saying as I am half of his middle name). I used to be rather large in Leicester University Theatre Society [LUT], and now, due to graduating, getting a real Adult job, and food, I am merely rather large. This has meant that my last foray into the world of performing was the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015, nearly a whole year and some months ago. As a swansong  performance, there are far worse ways to go, such as being set on fire, or going over a cliff in a white Jaguar. Fringe was a glorious moment, but one tinged with the sadness that this might well be it for doing acting and making people laugh. And then, at the end of our run, we packed up and I immediately tried to be an adult, thinking that was really what I wanted to be.

Whilst in Edinburgh, I worked with the very talented Jade, who after the festival introduced my to all her very talented and slightly mad friends, who occasionally get organise and do the very talented, slightly mad, and brilliant 14/48 Leicester, the fastest theatre festival in the world. Now for those of you who haven’t yet had the experience of a 14/48 festival, this is how it goes:

Day 0

8pm: A theme is plucked from a hat, and 7 writers must dream up a 10-15 play on that theme, and have it submitted by 8am. Around 3-5am the real mad stuff gets written and you get talking duvets conversing with sassy pillows. This actually got performed.

Day 1

8am: Writers hand in scripts and try to sleep if they haven’t gone completely doolally.

9am: 7 directors pick the 7 scripts at random.

9:45am: The Actors (read talent, just to keep our egos at the correct level of inflation) arrive, and the casts are picked at random for the 7 plays.

8:00pm: World premier performance of these 7 plays.

10:00pm: First shows end, new theme picked from a hat. The Writers start drinking coffee.

10:30pm: Closing night performances of these 7 plays. Clever, see, because you get opening night energy and closing night energy on the same night to hide how tired and dead inside you have become.

00:30am: Shows end. Drinking occurs.

“But Adam!” no one cries because this is really obvious, “that’s only 7/24, not 14/48?!” Good question man I made up to make this section even longer and more forced, they do it all again on the second day, only occasionally leading to hallucinations and jet lag.

I was thrilled to be invited to take part this year, and it was everything I hadn’t realised I was missing from Life. Performance, silliness, fun, and that terror of learning your lines, being in the correct spot, being dreadfully funny and also trying to bloody act when you had really forgotten how.

It was a large pile of stress and terror. And I loved it, completely and utterly. I will not forgot what I experienced doing 14/48, and I couldn’t be happier to have rekindled my love for this hobby. I was lucky enough to act in two very well written pieces, directed by two very competent and experimental directors, amongst a cast of far more talented people than I. We made them laugh, we made them cry, and I worked with friends and made some more with some brilliant people.

And it’s really pissed me off. Because now I want more.

So I’m going to do my damnedest to find it. Even if that means that I try writing stand up again, the adrenaline rush of getting back on stage, the terror when a line falls flat, the pure elation when you get the audience laugh, are all things I’m truly addicted to.

Theatre is the best medicine. It is my cure all. It’s love, hate, fear, and friendship, all in a split second.

Thank you 14/48, and thank you to the people that gave me the opportunity to take part.  See you next time.

Published by Adam Unwin

Yeah, I write stuff occasionally, make things up on stage, and like saying words other people have written in a dramatic way.

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