The writer of “Cleverly and Comically” provides insight into Cardboard Theatre’s latest production
Cardboard Theatre Presents: Cleverly and Comically September 22-24 and 29-30. Tickets and showtimes available via ComedyCity Theatre’s ticket portal. The show’s writer, Matt Worzala, recently sat down and provided a description of all ten acts, often providing insight into the origin of the stories he is telling. For more information about the overall cast and crew, check out this page.
As noted, Cleverly and Comically” contains 10 one-act plays, all from the mind of Matt Worzala. These one-act shorts were written at various times over the past 20 years. Some have been produced before. Others will make their debut on the ComedyCity Theatre stage later this month. Worzala’s work takes various looks at themes such as love, destiny, and self identity. Let’s take a look at what he was to say about it.
I wrote this for Venture Theatre’s 2015 24 Hour Theatre. I went to Denny’s and spent two hours working on a script involving a blind date and “twin magic” until my laptop started to die. On the drive home I scrapped the idea completely, wrote one page of a crime scene investigation in my head, got home, went back to the original idea for another two pages, and then came up with this story. A morality play about infidelity and “the simplest solution”. And everyone can relate to “I’m not going to yell at you from another room!”
HERBIE HOLIDAY HITS A HOMER- BY CHET RICHARDS
From Venture Theatre’s 2008 One Act Scrap Heap. I wanted to do something where everyone in the play knew they were in a play, but no one wants to go through the motions other than the Main Character. I love the pitcher and I’m excited for the theatrical flourishes that are being added to this staging. Oh, and Chet and Richard are the names of my grandfathers.
THE SUNDAY EDITION OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (2014)
This was my 2014 24 Hour Theatre creation. Back when everyone used to work from the office, my location had a glorified utility room that we used as a break space. There were 4 Good Housekeepings that I read cover to cover half a dozen times, and yes, one did include an interview with Pink. Fun Fact 1: The “Ukraine situation” was not added for this production, it was current news in 2014 as well. Fun Fact 2: I wrote this script in Notepad because I had just gotten a new laptop and didn’t have a “legal” copy of Word. That meant I had no real idea of how many pages my script was, which is absolutely nerve wracking at 3 a.m. I learned about Google Docs the next morning and it has been life changing.
END OF THE WORLD (2005)
From the 2005 One Act Scrap Heap. Guess what year I saw Donnie Darko for the first time. Also in 2005 I met a man at a wedding who was clearly having a conversation 5 seconds faster on his side than on mine. “End of the World” is a combination of those two experiences. It was also one of two One Acts about the end of the world in the 2005 Scrap Heap. We were apparently a very pessimistic group of writers back then. The stumps used were originally crafted by Maggie for our never produced (as of yet) Cardboard Theatre production “The Tain”. You can also find “End of the World” on Youtube, acted out by Sims characters and it. Is. Something.
From the 2006 One Act Scrap Heap. When I was in college my dorm staged a production of David Ives “All In The Timing”. One of the plays is “The Philadelphia” which starts with an absurd premise, has everyone take it at face value, and then escalates it. “Burgertime” is my attempt at that style, where a simple act of efficiency spirals quickly out of hand. This was before fast food restaurants had apps to order in advance, and when a chicken sandwich cost you less than $2. “Burgertime” has been restaged in several One Act Competitions across the country, as well as internationally.
STAR CROSSED (2009)
From the 2009 One Act Scrap Heap. When I was much younger and a little bit more spry, I used to play bar league volleyball. There was a guy who subbed on our team every now and then, and as we were all much younger, we would hang out after our games. And there was a woman who played on another team who was friends with people on my team. She was engaged to someone else, but there was an obvious connection and chemistry between the two of them. One night I looked over at the two of them, talking happily at a corner table, and I said to Julie “It’s funny, because he knows. And she knows. But they’re both acting like they don’t know.” They’ve been married for more than 10 years now.
ONE UPPING AKIRA OGATA (2016)
This was my piece from the 2016 24 Hour Theatre. Mike picked random Wikipedia articles for our prompts, and I ended up with Akira Ogata. I was momentarily disappointed when I found out he wasn’t part of a biker gang in a dystopian 2019 Neo-Tokyo, but who he really was was much more interesting. “One Upping Akira Ogata” is a humorous exploration of PTSD and Nationalism, with a little bit of chemistry thrown in the mix. I also accidentally wrote the brother and sister in my cast as husband and wife in the original, but I’m pretty sure we avoided that this time. Pretty sure.
WRITER’S LAMENT (2007)
From the 2007 One Act Scrap Heap. None of my shows are ABOUT any one. But if they were… In 2005 I performed at the first Indianapolis Fringe Festival. In your non-performing time, you hang out with other performers and you go see other shows. I can’t remember the name of this show, but I remember the actress in it. I’m pretty sure her name actually was Jillian. This monologue was one of the two main pieces I had in mind ever since I first thought about staging “Cleverly and Comically” years ago. And I love the line about “The Mad Hatter and the High Life Girl”, which is just something that slipped on the page while I was writing. Sometimes you get lucky.
DENTAL DRAMATICS (2008)
From the 2008 One Act Scrap Heap. The nice thing about a Scrap Heap is it gave a lot of different writers opportunities to have their one acts produced. And that, in turn, gave me the freedom, four years in, to write less traditional pieces, because I knew if it didn’t hit, there were scripts surrounding it that the audience would enjoy more. I’m not saying Dental Dramatics reinvents the wheel, but I’m confident in saying it was the first one act to feature an entire cast of non-humans. I love every one one of the characters in this and I love how they all keep building on each other as the scene progresses. “It’s like Costello and Costello in here”.
THE DEVIL AND JOHN JANOVIAK
My very first 24 Hour Theatre piece, from 2012. By this time, I’d already written 9 published one acts, 3 full length shows, a published short story, and was working on a novella. But a 12 hour writing time frame is whole different experience. The performers came to the kick-off event in a costume and with a prop. I was partnered with an actor in a suit and an actress in a suit. He had a push broom, she had a pitchfork. Two false starts (Including a How To about selling your soul) and four hours of panic (A Night Of Panic was a working title before I picked Cleverly and Comically) and I finally started on what became The Devil and John Janoviak. I had a co-worker whose last name I never pronounced right, and I would tell her “I don’t think YOU know how your last name is pronounced” which I stole from myself for this. “Danger Zone” is featured so prominently because, for a reason lost to time, all the writers agreed to carry over a reference from the script being performed before theirs.