Next Day Theater: ‘Hitting Like a Truck’ on May 16th by Matt Spangler

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Next Day Theater: Hitting Like a Truck on May 16th

For years, I’ve been thinking, man, I’ve got to get into this theater scene in DC. Then it hit me: 24 hour theater. That’s right, 1,440 minutes to memorize lines, block, rehearse, run tech, and then finally stage a series of short plays for a live audience. Brilliant.

Matt Spangler. Photo courtesy of
Matt Spangler. Photo courtesy of ‘Small Friendly Planet.’

And then I realized it’s been done. In fact, I had done it myself over a decade ago in Philadelphia. Doh. Stupid memory.

So when Next Day Theater, the latest DC iteration in day-old theater, arrives at Tropicalia on May 16th, it won’t exactly be an earth-shattering development in the history of the medium. Yes, the five plays – which run 10-15 minutes each – have never been produced. Yes, the directors and actors won’t see the plays until 24 hours before showtime. Yes, I will be shelling out a boatload for pizza during tech rehearsal.

But Next Day Theater will have one twist on the day-old play status quo: all of the plays are required to be laugh-your-ass-off, pee-in-your-pants, insert scatological cliché here, funny. [NOTE: in case they are not, we have excavated an underground tunnel beneath Tropicalia by which we will escape minutes after the show.]

I spent years – months, even – recruiting rising comedic talent from the DC theater scene, and brought on board four playwrights – plus yours truly – that I know have the chops to deliver the funny stuff. Then we coerced five directors with reams of experience to bring those comic visions to fruition. [I have to pause for a moment to insert a spoiler alert here and boast of how I landed the supremely gifted Chris Griffin – of the alas-no-longer Cherry Red Productions, one of my theatrical inspirations – to the directing team.]

Finally, I sent out calls to various theater and acting orgs and online communities around the area, and built a team of some 25 actors with resumes that blew me away. One of them is a certified paranormal investigator. Really. Another lists among their talents archery. So I would advise ghosts and other echtoplasmic organisms to avoid this show, and also recommend that audiences refrain from wearing shirts with bullseyes on them.

I would also be remiss – and perhaps end up with a well-deserved black eye — if I didn’t mention that my girlfriend, the lovely Amori Langstaff, has been providing invaluable support on marketing and promotion of the venture.

Sam Kean. Photo courtesy of his facebook page.
Monologuist Sam Kean. Photo courtesy of his facebook page.

Okay, this is starting to sound a bit like an award acceptance speech. Back to that whole vision thing.

In addition to the usual plays/directors/actors stuff, we are also going to be monkeying with the theater festival format a bit. To say much more would like giving away that Han Solo and Chewbacca have cameos in the new Star Wars movie. Oops. But suffice to say there will be a bit of improv, as well as a monologue by New York Times bestselling author – and Speakeasy DC star – Sam Kean. Also, DC mixmaster DJ Kelz will be spinning all your favorite – and maybe most hated – tracks during a pre-show reception and post-show party.

And, assuming that we don’t totally bomb, we will be looking to experiment further with the format in future shows. I’m thinking Monty Python with a dash of 30 Rock and Dave Chappelle thrown in. More improv, more spoken word, maybe opera, kabuki, mimes, clowns, snake charmers, trapeze artists – you name it, and we’re not afraid to do it.

Okay, have I hit my word count limit yet? Yay! Anyways, hope you can make it out on the 16th, as it’s going to be a blast.

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Next Day Theater debuts on May 16, 2015 at Tropicalia – 2001 14th Street, NW, in Washington, DC. The performance starts at 8:00 pm, and there will be a pre-show reception at 7:00 pm. For tickets, purchase them online.