4 Plays, 2 Days, Infinite Possibilities

Inspired by Paula Vogel’s playwriting Bake-Off process,  4:48  is a creative sprint to the finish. Four playwrights lock themselves away for two days of furious writing, at the end of which they’ll have four brand new plays all based around the same source material, all incorporating 5 shared story elements.

This project was developed and is produced by the Playwriting Center of Theater Emory, with initial funding from the Breaking Ground Project. 4:48 x 2018 is being produced in partnership with Emory’s Center for the Study of Human Health.

Learn more about 4:48 on the project's Tumblr here.

4:48x2020 during Brave New Works

4:48x2020, Emory's annual speed-writing challenge that brings together four of the best and brightest playwrights to pen brand new plays inspired by shared source material in a mere 48 hours is back during Brave New Works 2020!

Click here for the full Brave New Works Schedule.

Playwrights: David Garrett, Scott Turner Schofield, Edith Freni, Jim Grimsley 

Creative Collaborators: Dr. David Lynn, Dr. Amanda Freeman and team 

Director: Leslie Swackhamer

Acting Ensemble: Allen Read, Blake Covington, Maggie Beker, Claire Rigsby

The 2020 Source Material: The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells



4:48 Archive


The 2018 Source Material:

I CONTAIN MULTITUDES: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong

From the Back Cover:

For most of human existence, microbes were hidden, visible only through the illnesses they caused. When they finally surfaced in biological studies, they were cast as rogues. Only recently have they immigrated from the neglected fringes of biology to its center. Even today, many people think of microbes as germs to be eradicated, but those that live with us—the microbiome—are invaluable parts of our lives.

I Contain Multitudes lets us peer into that world for the first time, allowing us to see how ubiquitous and vital microbes are: they sculpt our organs, defend us from disease, break down our food, educate our immune systems, guide our behavior, bombard our genomes with their genes, and grant us incredible abilities. 

With humor and erudition, Ed Yong prompts us to look at ourselves and our fellow animals in a new light: less as individuals and more as the interconnected, interdependent multitudes we assuredly are.

Playwrights: Margaret Baldwin, Rachel DuBose, Natasha Patel, and Steve Yockey 

Executive Producer: Lisa Paulsen

Producer: Edith Freni

Creative Collaborators: David Lynn, Amanda Freeman, Lary Walker, and Andrew Neish

Directors: Lydia Fort and Rebekah Suellau

Acting Ensemble: Keena Redding Hunt, Jake Krakovsky, Seun Soyemi, and Charis Wiltshire


Revisiting The 2017 4:48 in Spring 2018

 Frankenstein Goes Back to the Lab 2018Directed by Lydia Fort, Frankenstein Goes Back to the Lab reimagined three of the plays written for 4:48 in 2017 and placed them in the Science Commons within the Emory University Atwood Chemisty Center, among the scientific ideas that inspired them. Listen to an interview with playwrights Neely Gossett and Edith Freni here.

The Rites of Men by Edith Freni

Indian Maeve by Neeley Gosset 

A Light Beneath the Skin by Addae Moon 

Logos for Frankenstein Goes Back to the Lab Partners
Frankenstein Goes Back to the Lab was produced by The Playwriting Center of Theater Emory for the Atlanta Science Festival, hosted by the Department of Chemistry, and is supported by the Emory Center for Ethics through its Ethics & the Arts and Emory Integrity Project programs. To learn more about the partnership with the Atlanta Science Festival visit the The Lab Report Blog, News from the Emory University Department of Chemistry here.  

The 2017 4:48

Source Material: 

That classic work of Romantic “horror” FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley, in conversation with the research work of Emory STEM faculty members Arri Eisen (Biology), David Lynn (Biological Chemistry) and Carol Worthman (Anthropology) and Sara Imari Walker of Arizona State University (Theoretical Physics and Astrobiology).

Plays and Playwrights:

The White Dwarf by Theroun D’Arcy Patterson

Indian Maeve by Neeley Gossett

The Rights of Men by Edith Freni

A Light Beneth the Skin by Addae Moon


Christopher Hampton, Nysa Loudon


Jireh Breon Holder and Brent Glenn

Creative Collaborators:

Arri Eisen, David Lynn, Sara Imari Walker, and Carol Worthman

The 2016 4:48

Source Material: 

The Briarcliff Campus at Emory University.

"The Briarcliff Estate was built by Asa Candler Jr., Coca-Cola heir, real-estate tycoon and noted eccentric, in 1922 on 42 acres in what is now the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta. The estate included a mansion, servants quarters, tennis courts, stables, greenhouses, a zoo, a golf course and a community pool.

In the late 1940s, the Candlers sold the estate to the General Services Administration with plans to build a veterans hospital that never came to be. Instead, it became the site of Georgia’s first alcohol rehabilitation center in 1953 (the year of Asa Candler’s death). From 1975-1997,  Briarcliff housed the Georgia Mental Health Institute—operated by the state with assistance from Emory University. Many of the buildings are connected via a series of underground tunnels and though its fallen into disrepair, much of the mansion’s original architectural features are intact. Also, there are rumors of several hauntings. All of this makes Briarcliff a popular production location for creepy film and TV projects.

While the location is protected by landmark status and the buildings can’t be torn down, they can be left to fall apart on their own. At that point, they could be destroyed through “demolition by neglect.” There is a small but active group of local preservationists trying to ensure that that does not happen. While Emory claims to be in support of the preservation efforts, they estimate the cost of restoring Briarcliff to be around $30 million."

Plays and Playwrights:

Kudzu by Bennett Fisher

The Play that Used to be Titled 1247 Likes goes Swimming in a Cemetery by Dana Lynn Formby

The Animals Have Escaped and the Chandelier Has Vanished by Jireh Breon Holder

The Briars by Briandaniel Oglesby


Christopher Hampton, Matt Mercurio, Kristyl Tift, and Natalia Via


Edith Freni

Lisa Paulsen

Creative Collaborator:

Charlie Paine

The 2015 4:48

Source Material:

Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha

From the back cover:

"Since Darwin’s day, we’ve been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science—as well as religious and cultural institutions—has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man’s possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman’s fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing. Ryan and Jethå’s central contention is that human beings evolved in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and, often, sexual partners. Weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality, the authors show how far from human nature monogamy really is.

Human beings everywhere and in every era have confronted the same familiar, intimate situations in surprisingly different ways. The authors expose the ancient roots of human sexuality while pointing toward a more optimistic future illuminated by our innate capacities for love, cooperation, and generosity."

Plays and Playwrights:

The Flower Room by Daryl Fazio

Home Sapiens is Latin for Man Who Knows by Michael Develle Winn

Book of the Rewards of Life (aka Tierra Del Fuego) by Edith Freni

Cul-De-Sac by Johnny Drago


Travis Daniel Draper, Eliana Marianes, Tiffany Denise Mitchenor, and Christopher Watson


Lisa Paulsen