A play depicting the bromance to end all bromances as imagined by two hilarious college BFFs skyrocketed Mindy Kaling's comedy writing career into the mainstream. Today, she has her own wildly success Hulu series, but "Matt & Ben" — as in, Cambridge's prodigal sons, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck — lives on. The stage show, which Kaling wrote and performed with Brenda Withers in 2003, is in the midst of an engagement at Jamaica Plain's Riot Theatre, and is set to open at the 160-seat Davis Square Theatre in April.
The show parodies Damon and Affleck, just two young Boston lads circa 1995, as they grapple with a moral dilemma when the screenplay for "Goodwill Hunting" literally falls from the sky in Affleck's apartment. Shocker: Damon grapples more.
Co-producer and actor Lauren Robinson, 27, (she plays Matt) says the idea to revive the show came to her and co-star/producer Libby Schap, 33, two years earlier when they decided to collaborate on a project. "Matt & Ben" stuck out to them because it had been written, performed and produced by two fellow young women at the start of their careers — plus, they were "Mindy" fans.
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"After our first discussion we weren't sure where to put it up, and weren't sure how much of an audience we would get so we sat on it a year," says Robinson.
Following the success of "The Mindy Show," Robinson andSchap decided a relationship with the Riot Theatre to finally stage their production. "[The Riot] was the perfect setting because it's small and intimate and the play takes place entirely in one person's apartment," she says. "The moment seemed right."
The show opened in September, and has additional shows on Feb. 27 and March 26, before its move to Somerville. From there, Robinson and Schap will gauge its success in the larger performance space and say they may extend their stay.
If any of this already sounds familiar, it's probably because Kaling wrote extensively about the production and success of "Matt & Ben" and her relationship with Withers in her 2011 book, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns.)." However, Robinson reports they have yet to hear from the Cambridge native.
"We tried tweeting at her a couple of times," she says. "We know she's busy, but she hasn't responded to any of our tweets. We're hoping once we extend the run she'll notice us."
"Matt& Ben" produced by LL Production Companyat the Riot Theatre: Jan. 23, Feb. 27 and March 26, all at 8 p.m. Performances at the Davis Square Theater are on April 8 and 9, both at 10 p.m., Tickets currently not on sale yet. Further info will be posted on facebook.com/MBinBoston.