NC Stage to Debut ‘Matt & Ben’ on May 17

North Carolina Stage Company (NC Stage) will present Matt & Ben written by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers next month.

The play first premiered in 2003, starring the authors and actresses Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers. Written to be performed by two actresses (the playwrights originated the title roles), Matt & Ben purports to depict the relationship between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in 1995, when the two were struggling actors.

The play’s absurdist premise has the “Good Will Hunting” screenplay — for which Damon and Affleck, in real life, won an Oscar — dropping from the sky, flummoxing the buddies. In reality, the screenplay might not have appeared right out of thin air, but the play takes audiences on a fantastic journey of what if it did.

Matt and Ben spend one long Saturday in Somerville fighting, reminiscing, and hallucinating a lot more than normal when confronted with the screenplay they already know will change their lives. Matt & Ben is one wicked funny show that will make an audience feel like they’re right in the same living room as these young Boston boys (played by girls).

Actresses Anne Thibault and Laura Rikard will portray the roles of Matt and Ben.

Thibault, who plays Matt, has worked professionally as an actress, playwright, and director for over 20 years.  She toured with the National Shakespeare Company for three years as Lady M and Lady Capulet, among others.  Other regional credits include acting work at the North Carolina Stage Company (Jane/THIS, Maureen/The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Catherine/Proof, Fay/Loot, and the one woman show The Syringa Tree), as well as several seasons at the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre.

Rikard, who plays Ben, is a stage and film actress as well as director, acting coach, stage moment specialist, devised theatre artist and public speaking consultant. After graduating from the College of Charleston with a BA in theatre, she moved to New York where she worked in theatre and continued her training with the Actor’s Studio. In New York she worked at LaMAMA, ETC, New Perspectives Theatre and appeared at Carnegie Hall.

The show will kick off on May 17 at NC Stage Company, 15 Stage Lane in downtown Asheville.

Showings will be held on Wednesday- Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets are available by calling 828-239-0263 or visiting us online at ncstage.org

About Shelby Harrell
Shelby Harrell is the news editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for more than six years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.