Like all actors, Terri Mateer knows about the grind of auditioning: getting up early to make the long commute into the city to stand in line with the many others nursing the same dreams, then performing for sometimes indifferent judges in an endless succession of audition rooms.
All the while, she’s had stories. You know the ones I mean, the ones that shaped who you are now, the ones that are so sad they’re funny, or at least you can make them seem so, now. Mateer had stories about growing up without a dad, about a mom who couldn’t fully be there for various reasons, about dreams of adventure, inexplicable rejections, Mama’s boys and father figures, even the tribulations of living life as a very tall woman, already 6’1” in the sixth grade [having had to stand in the back row with the teachers on class photo day myself, I can relate to that one].
She had the stories, but it wasn’t until Mateer joined the Actors Equity Association and crossed paths with acting/monologue coach and writer Stephen Jobes that she took the step toward turning those events of her life into something more.
“He encouraged me to create my own work,” says Mateer of Jobes, an idea that was something of a revelation to her at the same time that it made perfect sense, too, she says. After all, she’d already started businesses of her own (she also runs her own landscaping business and assists her husband in his construction business over the winter); why not create her own material to perform, too?
Jobes collaborated with her to create a solo show out of the stories, says Mateer, and helped her make them more theatrical, something that could be performed, she says, as full stage productions or by herself “in a corner sitting on a chair.” Putting on a one-woman show for the first time of material so close to her heart is both exciting and frightening, she says, something Jobes described as “Hello, this is me, my soul unpinned.”
As the stories came together into a theatrical work, Jobes asked her one day, “So how does it feel to be going public?” On Sunday, November 18 at 3 p.m., Terri Mateer will bring her one-woman show Going Public to St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock. Admission is pay-what-you-wish, but proceeds will benefit the various projects of the church, including relief for those still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and to continue construction of St. Gregory’s Garden for autistic children.
“The show will go from black to white and everything in the middle,” says Mateer. “My goal as a performer is to move people, and if I can bring them to tears and to laughter, then I’ve done a good job.”
Terri Mateer is appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association.
Terri Mateer’s “Going Public,” Sunday, November 18, 3 p.m., pay-what-you-wish, St. Gregory Episcopal Church, 2578 Route 212, Woodstock; (845) 679-8800, stgregoryswoodstock.org.