The 5 & Dime Theatre troupe – “MATT & BEN”

The 5 & Dime has been bringing nomadic theatre to unexpected places since the end of 2011. Their motto is “Making change in Jacksonville.” Part of that change is helping Downtown to thrive and contributing “toward the imminent renaissance of the Downtown area.”

Their next show will be in new Urban Core venue Pangea Live at 956 North Liberty Street, Jacksonville, February 28 and March 7 at 8 pm, and March 1 and March 8 at 8 pm and 10 pm.

The show in question is Matt & Ben (Feb 28-Mar 7), a satire by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers. In this gender-bending play, two actresses play Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, during the time when they were trying to break into Hollywood, along with some high school flashbacks.

Historically, Damon and Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting. In the play, the script mysteriously drops from the sky into Damon and Affleck’s hands. Kat McLeod, who plays Matt Damon, loves the humor of the play but wants to convey that “this is not only a comedy, but speaks true to the aspects of friendship, integrity, and fame. It presents these characters as real people in a very unreal situation.” Abigail Saenz plays her counterpart, Ben Affleck. “Much like Matt and Ben,” says Saenz, “Kat and I went to high school together and grew up in the same neighborhood. Having grown up in the Regency neighborhood, we share a lot of the same sensibilities, as well as a love for theatre.”

Juan Unzueta directs the two ladies in their roles as men, with a lighter touch than one might expect in satire. “I’m not looking for either of the actors to over-do the masculinity of the characters. Sure there will be some physical work, but I certainly don’t want them to drop their voices or do anything over the top. People coming will already know these are two women playing Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and the comedy that comes with that will happen as soon as they step on stage…I wouldn’t want any deep voiced, crotch scratching, stereotypically “male” antics distracting the audience from the storytelling and relationship we’re exploring,” says Unzueta.

Buy tickets in advance through or just head straight to Tickets are discounted by $10 if you purchase 24 hours in advance!

About Erin Thursby