Jeff Mosser and Matt Horgan chat it up about Dad’s Garage, what makes this show so special, and playing Jimmy Carter in front of Jimmy Carter.
Matt Horgan: 43 Plays was sort of our first. big eye-opener for us. “Hey this is really a cool way to to do work. This is inspiring for us. Let’s try to do that too!” I’ve always been a big fan of Black Adder: taking your own countries history and making fun of it.
JM: You played Jimmy Carter in 2003 for Jimmy Carter in the audience.
MH: Which was an amazing experience! Dad’s is basically a tandoori oven. At the end of the show I was soaked with sweat so there’s a picture of me where I look like a drowned hobo with him.
JM: How did you get President Carter there?
MH: First of all, we extended an offer to the Carter Center as just a charming publicly stunt without any thought that it would actually happen. As it turned out on the Wednesday after the show opened, Sean Daniels [Artistic Director in 2003] got a call from a member of the Secret Service to say they were going to scout the location. We couldn’t tell anyone about it. We had to get a few friendly family folks in the theatre that night.
There were agents everywhere, in the lobby, in the audience behind him and next to him. They were all business, listening to the headphones — on the alert. Once we got into the 2nd half [of the show], those guys forgot all their jobs, and they were watching through the curtains and laughing. That was my favorite memory.
JM: Do you know how President Carter felt about his piece?
MH: Well Rosalynn said, “Y’all sure were nice to Jimmy.” It got a huge standing “O” because he was there, so the play halted for 30-40 seconds. I remember thinking, “I wish tonight’s performance wouldn’t end!”
JM: Will you be inviting any political officials to this performance?
MH: We just had Representative John Lewis show up to our BaconFest. He might be first on our list since he’s shown up already. A big part of doing the show is raising awareness about the election.
JM: Why is this such a great show to do?
MH: This is one of those unique shows that finds a way to bring you in, sit you down, and you don’t realize you’re learning things — because of the great writing and the subject material! It’s a fun evening of being entertained, but with stealth education. The show is that it can be as high or low production value as you want. Whatever sutis your company. If you’re on the fence, do it and have a blast with it.
JM: Anything else you want to tell the Festival slash world?
b: We’re really excited. It’s been ten years for us. Personally, I was still finding my legs and voice as improviser and actor, and this show was such a fun experience for me. It was almost a launching pad to say “Here I am!” This show has a special place in my heart and I’m glad to be co-directing it, and finding new ways to show these great plays off. Very excited.
Matt Horgan is the Associate Artistic Director at Dad’s Garage in Atlanta, GA. Matt has been performing, teaching, directing and writing at Dad’s Garage for over a decade now. He has created and directed such popular Dad’s improv formats as Ask Dr. Frapples: Improv Psychiatry, Murder, She Improvised, Nite Skool and Gritty Cop Drama, as well as the wildly unsuccessful Justal System. He has also written or co-written a number of shows for Dad’s, including Song of the Living Dead: A Zombie Musical, The Going Out of Business Show, Drove, Chick & Boozy’s Christmas on Ice and the Dad’s Garage sketch show, Free Parking.