Yes, you read that right.
The 2022 IndyFringe Festival will see a full roster of musicals, plays, dance troupes and comedy acts from Thursday, Aug. 18, through Sunday, Sept. 4, including a new musical from the Indianapolis-based comedy boy band Un5gettable.
Joe Cameron, a member of Un5gettable, will present the comedy he co-wrote alongside Zach Harris during the pandemic entitled “QAnon the Musical.” Cameron, a longtime songwriter who is also directing the show, said his way of dealing with stress was through humor and songwriting. He said he first got the idea to write songs about QAnon at the beginning of the pandemic.
“I started writing a bunch of songs for a musical that didn’t even exist yet,” he said. “Just short, like, one-minute TikTok songs all about, you know, QAnon.”
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It wasn’t until January that Cameron decided to go forward with the project and write a full musical.
“It’s just a silly, irreverent take on kind of right-wing conspiracies that are, you know, flooding people’s everyday lives,” Cameron said. “I mean, it’s ruined some friendships and some families and/or at least put some serious strain on them, and my way of dealing with it was with humor.”
What the show is actually about
In terms of the content, the show is exactly what its name suggests: a musical about QAnon, which is a baseless conspiracy theory that claims there is a “deep state” apparatus working against former President Donald Trump. The show’s cast and crew includes five people, three of which are members of Un5gettable, including Cameron.
Brendan Hawkins, also a member of Un5gettable and one of the actors featured in “QAnon the Musical,” said he knows everyone has their own views pertaining to QAnon as it’s a difficult, sometimes confusing topic.
Hawkins said he was a little hesitant about the material of the show and whether or not the group should actively pursue producing the musical. Though, once he began reading through the script, Hawkins said he knew they had something special.
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“In my head, I’m like, ‘is this a good idea?’” Hawkins said. “And then I started hearing the music and we read the script and I just said ‘honestly, it’s kind of brilliant in my mind.’”
Featuring three main characters playing themselves, Cameron and Hawkins said the show is meant to resemble an educational children’s program such as “Barney and Friends” or “The Wiggles.”
“Onstage we will be delivering it like we are filing a children’s TV show and it just so happened that this particular episode that the audience is stumbling on is all about QAnon,” Cameron said. “We not only wanted to make it palatable but take it even one more step and make it kind of silly and ridiculous too.”
Why make it a musical?
Theater has always been a safe place to explore and approach difficult topics, which is one of the reasons Cameron said he decided to turn this into a comedy musical.
Outside of Cameron’s show, he said the only way to really approach the topic of QAnon is through Googling it or doom-scrolling through social media posts. More often than not, regardless of which side you’re on, Cameron said those methods elicit negative feelings in people. This show aims to do the opposite.
“I think the music is the most palatable way to deal with something like this,” Cameron said. “You turn it into not just a comedy but … a comedy musical, and you give people like really catchy, silly, sing-along songs that deal with the topic.”
The music in the show ranges from sappy ballads to island calypso-inspired songs to rap. Though, Cameron said each of the songs was intended to deliver the same cohesive message.
“We just all need to be decent to each other and loving each other comes first,” he said. “We just need to treat each other with respect and we can talk through some of this stuff, hopefully — which may be a little idealist — but that was kind of the message behind the show.”
Based on the group’s previous projects, Hawkins said the guys of Un5gettable already have an idea of the type of audiences they’ll attract to this show and did their best to cater to them. Although that’s not to say most of their normal content isn’t family-friendly, Hawkins said.
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“You know, kids aren’t the ones that are talking about us,” Hawkins said. “(It’s) parents and family members and friends and whatnot. So we had to know how to play to them and what they’ll like.”
And a musical, Cameron said was what he believed was “the healthiest way for us all to kind of come together and deal with it.”
“QAnon the Musical” will have six showings at Venue One at the IndyFringe Theatre, located at 719 E. St. Clair St., with a 55-minute runtime in accordance with IndyFringe guidelines. Tickets are $20 for adults and $14 for students and can be purchased at the box office or online. More information about tickets and showtimes can be found at indyfringe.org/festival/shows.
Contact IndyStar reporter Chloe McGowan at CWilkersonMcGowan@gannett.com. Follow her Twitter: @chloe_mcgowanxx.