Catch up with Ben Matlock – Simon the Zealot
Ben has been seen on stage with the Hyde Park Community Players before in Dangerous Liasons, Musical of Musicals, The Musical!, and the Friday Staged Reading Series.
Hi Ben, it’s great to see you again. What have you been up to? What made you want to audition for The Last Days of Judas Iscariot?
I’ve been working a demanding job that recently ended. I always check out what the group is up to, and I saw this one listed on the website. I thought, that sounds interesting. I knew it would have intensity, but I did not realize it was comedic, which I love. So I came and auditioned, and this role has the most lines of any role I’ve played. I really wanted it, for the challenge. I’ve always been a little afraid of something with lines because I had an experience in college where things went bad. But I’m going to meet this challenge; the size of it, the number of lines to memorize fits me perfectly.
Do you have any tricks now for learning the lines?
I put more energy and attention into it, and I’m more comfortable and confident than I was in college. I used the recording option on my phone to record the other lines and then I speak mine. I also used the camera on my computer to film myself so I can see what I’m doing. I like that, that’s really helpful.
So, Simon the Zealot. Have you found a connection with the character?
Well, he’s very passionate about what he was into. He wasn’t truly burning things down, but he was angry. I think the biggest amusement about me playing the character, compared to me he’s really angry. My outward appearance is that I’m nice. I think a lot of people will think it’s funny to see me do that.
I’ve got my motivation to play angry. Simon the Zealot went out on a limb, he was wanting to bring forth a revolution, he was oppressed. I can relate to that. As a black gay man I have a lot of opposition, so it’s not hard to tap into that. I am taking a lot of my motivation from the people on the Red Line. And I watch a lot of soap operas which are full of intensity and anger, so I get some of my inspiration from them!