When one actor goes down, another actor has to rise up. And Matt Christian Jones did just that during the rehearsals for the sci-fi farce, Important Hats of the Twentieth Century. Making his debut at The Warehouse Theatre, Matt rolls through the life of a egotistical newspaper editor, a beleaguered father, and ultimately…a zombie with a penchant for sewing. In between all of that moving around, he sat down with us for a few moments of reflection on this crazy sideshow.
WHT: Welcome to The Warehouse! Congrats on your many roles in this show.
Matt: Thank you. Good to be here.
WHT: We’ve been asking all the actors this question. For a script that is so fast-paced and covers so much “time,” where does your approach start for a show like Important Hats?
Matt: The first steps for me were working to grasp the entire story and understanding how each point in time plays into the central story. After that, working to understand each of my characters, their individualities and how they contribute to the world in which they live. I’ve come to believe that Darryl, my main character, is the only one in the story who actually knows the universal truth behind it all, but it’s just too bad he never gets the chance to communicate it because…well, you’ll see.
WHT: What’s been your greatest challenge in bringing this show to life?
Matt: I came into this show late with only two weeks till opening and limited exposure to the script, so jumping into the script and the cast on such short notice was a new challenge for me. A great deal of the credit goes to my castmates and Jay, our director, who have been fantastic and incredibly supportive, selflessly dragging me into the wild ride and helping me catch up in no time.
WHT: What strikes you as the most fun element about the show itself?
Matt: Definitely the fast paced switches in time and character. It’s such a brilliantly laid out story that wraps multiple worlds into one witty and incredibly funny plot.
WHT: There are like a million characters in this show. So if you were given the opportunity to swipe a character in this show from one of your fellow actors…which one would it be and why?
Matt: Oh gosh, that’s hard. I think I’m torn between the dysfunctional villainy of Paul Roms and the blundering humor of Officer Kern. Can I be both?
WHT: Yes, yes, we’ll give you both. You are performing in the round for this show? When is the last time you performed a play in the round? Talk about what this experience is like preparing for the audience to be so close to you no matter where you run on set.
Matt: Many of my college shows were actually staged thrust or in the round, so it’s been great to return to a familiar stage. I love the intimacy that performance in the round brings between cast and audience. You (as the audience) get to join in on the story through your reactions by being so close to us. Just…please don’t actually jump on the stage, the show gets a bit hectic at times.
WHT: What’s the process been like working with Jay Briggs as a director?
Matt: Jay is a mad genius. Cheers to him for unifying a diverse cast around such a bizarre and complex script and bringing together a fantastic show!
WHT: Piece of advice for an audience member coming to see Important Hats?
Matt: With a show like this, you have to embrace the craziness of the story, keep your eyes and ears open to catch the witticisms, and be willing to commit your lungs to the strain of frequent laughter!
Catch Matt Christian Jones in his Warehouse debut for Important Hats of the Twentieth Century now through February 18th!