This weekend was busier than most. Beer drinking on Friday, with live music and friends. Beer drinking on Saturday, with live theater and friends. Fixing vehicles on Sunday with live friends. All in 90+ degree heat. Icky.

The live music was down at the UW-Madison Memorial Union Terrace. If you’re ever in Madison on a Friday and you are wondering where everybody is, they’re all there. Hip hop isn’t usually my bag, but Dumate and Know Boundaries are damn good. Know Boundaries has a Rage Against the Machine/Linkin Park/rap thing going on, and it’s cool. Dumate is the collision of the venerable Natty Nation with the remains of Smoking With Superman. Mr. Parker definitely has some grammatical skillz.

Saturday was relegated to the theatre. Madison’s Mercury Players had their seventh “Blitz,” which is what they call writing and performing plays inside of 24 hours. It was pretty good. Some of the mini-plays had end problems, like there was no end because they ran short of time. Some of them had some generic lighting problems, mostly because the techs didn’t denote the pools of light very well on the floor, and actors and set ended up in the dark. The general mantra of “less is more” works for a few of these, too, as most of the segments would have been better had they been more concise. It was fun, though, and worth seeing if only to learn how to act when you forget your lines on stage. Actors only get a little time to learn them so improv is a useful skill if the writer didn’t make it easy to remember what you needed to say (concepts, not actual dialogue).

I mention the technical issues but I am completely sympathetic, as it is hard to hang lights for eight mini-plays. You need to be generic but you also want some specials, too, for the actors that can find them. Many of the actors are fairly new so getting them to stand in their light is tricky. It’s all challenging as you try to give yourself enough options to make it look great without working super hard hanging and focusing or running the board. I think the tech crew did wonderfully this weekend with great sound and light, and

A few of us were thinking that maybe next year we’ll see if we can get in on Blitz and together write a short play. I can imagine how having a few like-minded people writing the same play could have benefits in idea generation, winnowing of unnecessary parts, and writing stamina through the night. It might be interesting…