Updated: Dec 2, 2018
When one meets with the amazing Matthew, one needs to set the scene correctly. He requested (demanded) this interview be short, because he had better things to do. I made sure to make this once-in-a-weektime meeting the best it could possibly be..
The lawn is set.
Oh the weather outside was.….weather. But the fire was so….delightfully setting off a smoke alarm. So we had to go outside for our interview. I don’t want to point any fingers, but I am pretty sure Matthew set off the smoke alarm after he saw the Advent candles. The weird thing was, they weren’t even lit yet? So I don’t know what was happening there. But he had this smile on his face that said ‘ask me why I am smiling.’ So of course, I did not. Which led me to the natural assumption, he must’ve pulled the smoke alarm gadget. I sigh to myself. It’s going to be THIS kind of interview.
Me: "So, detentions. We don’t really give them in like, church.” Trying to sound kind but also trying to teach a life lesson about the smoke alarm incident and how people just get annoyed and don’t really care about pranks in real life.
Matthew: "WHAT? I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT SHEA!” My eardrum just blew. Actually…I can’t tell which one, so maybe it was both. Also, why does he call me by my middle name?
Me: "We need to keep it down, you’ve kinda created enough chaos for one day, ya know?"
Matthew: "LIKE A TREE IN A HURRICANE!?!" He shouts louder than before. It is confirmed. My hearing loss is definite. He then tries to ‘subtly’ hit a key on his iPhone, but misses and expects me not to have noticed the first weird and obvious attempt he’s already made. He looks at me for a solid 2-3 seconds blankly and repeats the motion as if we both didn’t just experience this very odd moment. This time he is successful. Ish. What I hear (barely) next, is a sound that imitates a crowd no bigger than Willy Wonka on Broadway’s failed attempt at an audience. Random claps and a very off-timed ‘ha’ by what sounds like Zac Efron figuring out a joke told 2 minutes earlier. Matthew hears this and stands up, as if to receive this fake audiences approval of his joke. I am so lost at this point, I don’t know what to say.
Me: "So umm….college? Its coming up I hear. What was one of your monologue choices for auditioning into your programs for school?"
Matthew: He looks down at me from the corner of his eye still accepting this fake ovation from his non-extent audience. “I wrote my own songs.” I’m impressed.
Me: "That’s so awesome! I would love to hear one."
Matthew: He then paces the floor for all of a minute doing strange warm up drills and hand motions. “When a room….(gets emotional)….is GLOOMY. And…(now comes the tears)….its ATMOSPHERE has called it QUITS"….Its right about now that I am thinking to myself…this sounds awfully familiar. I think he catches on to the look of skepticism on my face. He then changes pace. "You know….theres a saying we have up north, and you see, it helps put our best foot forth...if you want to deck the halls then just pick me, make sure to remember MatthewBlackilyyyyyyy”
This took guts. Thing is…...Elf is not the way into college. But could this be a genius move, too? If Lin Manuel can pass off songs as rapping, have I then just witnessed the boy they call Matthew, pass off a song as a monologue? Time will tell. But word on the street is that this kid got into every program he auditioned into.
I went ahead and let him turn on that weird iPhone sound again, because he had that thing ready to play and looked way too eager. A moment struck me though. You guessed it. I decided to join that faux audience. I became the second Zac Efron.
I may not get him, but man. This kid, y’all. I think he may actually be destined for greatness.