On Stage

One-Man Wimbledon

Mike Mathieu meets his match

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WHAT: Mike Mathieu’s One-Man Wimbledon
WHEN: 7:30pm and 9:30pm Fri.-Sat., Nov. 21-22
WHERE: iDiOM Theater, 1418 Cornwall Ave.
COST: $10-$12
INFO: http://www.idiomtheater.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

If you’re a tennis fan, you likely already know that the match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Wimbledon finals in 2008 is widely considered to be the greatest tennis match ever played—and was also the longest finals match in the competition’s history. Even if you don’t know jack about the historic sports event, you’ll still want to get in on the love when actor, writer and Renaissance man Mike Mathieu returns to Bellingham’s iDiOM Theater Nov. 21-22 to bring the match back to life with his new production, One-Man Wimbledon. We caught up with the Cody Rivers Show cofounder to find out more.

Cascadia Weekly: Bellingham has missed you since you moved to Seattle. Have you missed us?

Mike Mathieu: Thank you. And yes, absolutely.

CW: Artistically speaking, what have you been up to in the big city?

MM: When I first moved here, I was pretty busy. Putting out some music, writing and directing a short film, doing some plays. I put on a production of The Raft, which is a play by Bellinghamster and frequent iDiOMite Ben Eisner. Since then it’s mostly been just writing.

CW: How did One-Man Wimbledon come about?

MM: I’ve been a serious tennis fan for about five years. And there’s one particular match—one particular part of one match, actually—that is just the most exciting slice of sports I’ve ever come across. Last spring, I re-watched parts of the match online and just got so into it I felt like I had to do something—write an essay, shout from the rooftops, see if I could get people who are unfamiliar with it to fall in love as deeply as I have. When I got word from the iDiOM that they were accepting submissions for the 2015 season, that’s when I figured out how I would try to bring my obsession to the masses.

CW: What did you learn about tennis that you didn’t know before putting the one-man show together?

MM: I learned that I have a lot more to say about this match than the audience wants to hear. There’s a whole lot of interpretation and detail that I had to cut or else the show would be like seven hours long.

CW: Did you find yourself rooting for one player over the other while producing it?

MM: Though I love both players, I do favor one of them. I don’t want to say which one, because I don’t want my favoritism to sway anyone else.

CW: What’s the main challenge with playing two characters simultaneously?

MM: Giving them equal stage time. Since I kind of have a crush on one of the players, I may tend to identify more with his half of the story and tell things from his perspective.

CW: Many people here know you for your Cody Rivers Show fame, and the press release alludes to the fact that there are similarities between that and the new production (athletic movement, playful language, etc.). What’s different?

MM: Well, there’s a lot more of “me” onstage. I’m not always in character, I spend a lot of time serving as your personal guide to the action and the players’ thoughts. Also, I’m telling a single story instead of a bunch of little wacky ones, and I’m retelling a story instead of inventing a wholly new one. Having the story already pre-decided was kind of nice, but where I had to get creative is with how I tell certain parts—do I just straight-up reenact it, or do I something more representational? What does that look like?

CW: Speaking of Cody Rivers—any chance of a reunion with Andrew Connor anytime soon?

MM: Yes, and to us it wouldn’t be a reunion. We certainly haven’t performed in a while, but we’ve never thought of the show as done or over. There is more to come. The time will be right eventually.

CW: Apparently, tickets are selling like hotcakes, proving once again that Bellingham loves you (and your various talents, of course). How does this make you feel?

MM: Tremendous. The feeling is mutual, and I hope I can reward the interest with a really fun and exciting show. (And maybe convert some new tennis fans.)

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