First, how we got here:
In November 1955, a group of young Washingtonians and a former member of the then-all-male Princeton Triangle Club decided to put on a show devoted to “pure fun and nonsense.” They called the new group Hexagon (double the Triangle symbol) to represent the inclusion of women. Led by Charles Ilsley, the group, including iconic satirist Tom Lehrer, wrote songs and parodies for the show, “Meet the Beep.”
After the show, the organizers found themselves with $3,500 in profits ($32,000 in today’s dollars), which they donated to the American Cancer Society. Sixty-three years later, and with more than $3.5 million donated to 40-plus organizations, Hexagon is now America’s oldest continuously running all-original political satirical musical comedy revue. Our regular show, performed in March of every year and put on completely by volunteers, has the second-longest-running Rockettes-style kick line in America.
Hexagon at Capital Fringe
In 2017, we decided to bring Hexagon to the Capital Fringe Festival for the first time, and were delighted when our show Let Freedom Zing! was voted as “Best Of Show” at the Capital Fringe Audience Awards. Encouraged by the enthusiasm and the opportunity to bring Hexagon to a new audience, we’re back again, this time with Tweet Land of Liberty.
For the Fringe run of Tweet Land of Liberty, I wanted to take Hexagon in a new direction. Those who’ve seen a Hexagon show before know the format: a variety of skits and songs poking fun at politics and culture, without anything connecting them other than the Hexagon brand. This year, I’ve added an overall story that links all the numbers together, providing context for each song and an opportunity for some additional humor and reflection.
The show is set 100 years in the future, which gives us some license to be a bit absurd while examining serious issues in today’s politics and culture. And what serious issues they are! Join a future couple as they tour the National Museum of American History’s special exhibit on “the Trump Era.” With the help of a cheeky museum guide, they learn about racism, sexual harassment, and mass shootings, get to hear from the Trump family, Hillary Clinton, Paul Ryan, and Stormy Daniels, and find out what it really means to be an American.
Are racism, sexual harassment, and mass shootings things to laugh about though? No, and we’re not really asking the audience to laugh at those problems, but rather the contexts in which these problems exist.
“Time’s Up” is a song that features women urging that you “raise your boys to be respectful men.” “What We Kneed” is a commentary on the absurdity of people losing their minds over Colin Kaepernick’s protest but not the injustice he’s protesting. “Thoughts and Prayers” is ultimately about the programmed robotic response that we’ve fallen into every time there’s a new mass shooting. And “Trump Wives Bake a Cake” is, well, just that; a ridiculous song featuring all three Trump wives attempting to bake a cake together. Some things are just meant to be silly!
In today’s world, it can be a difficult concept for many people to examine serious problems, let alone though a humorous lens. We invite you to travel with us 100 years into the future to see a unique take on today’s society and perhaps learn something about yourself. And yes, maybe even laugh. After all, as we sing in the finale, “laughing at stupidity is healthy you know!”
Hexagon 2018: Tweet Land of Liberty runs July 12-28 at Peppermint – Westminster Church, 400 I St SW, Washington, DC 20024. Click here for tickets and show times.
Nicholas Michael Bashour is the director and one of the principal writers of Hexagon 2018: Tweet Land of Liberty.
After immigrating from Syria in 1999, he lived in Detroit until moving to Washington, DC in 2009.