It’s time to meet the men in Ivy Baines’ life (Matt Killian: Part 3 of 3)

Matt Killian as modeled by the ever handsome Stephen Amell.

Matt Killian as modeled by the ever handsome Stephen Amell.

Meet Matt Killian. He’s 31, and he is the new artistic director at the Starlit Stage Community Theater and Education Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The previous Director practically ran the place into the ground, and Matt is having to rebuild from almost the ground up.

Logo for the Starlit Stage where Matt Killian is the artistic director.

Logo for the Starlit Stage where Matt Killian is the artistic director.

It’s not going well. Finances are tight.  His Marketing and Publicity Director Jennifer Janson is turning out to be a royal pain in his ass.  And to top it all off, Rick Matthews, his staff play writer, just OD’d, leaving Matt with a half written play. Thankfully Rick is going to be okay, but now he’s in rehab for a minimum of three months, and Matt needs a finished play–now! The first act’s set is built. Opening night is in four weeks. The actors have auditioned and been selected. They are ready to rehearse.  . . . But . . . no play.

On the bad days, the theater feels more like a curse than the amazing opportunity it feels like on the good days. Matt lives on the knowledge that there are many more good days than bad. He is determined to make the theater a success. Having his own theater has been his dream for years. He started off as an actor and a musician, and he knows the theater life well. He loves it. He loves the hard work, the long days, and the reward of a show that pulls people out of their seats, giving standing ovations.

Right now that means 14 to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. He’s tired and scrambling to find a new playwright. Which is how he meets, Ivy. She responded to his S.O.S. call.  Outside of that, he knows very little about her. But he does know that she got her first play to Off-Broadway, and that’s reasonably impressive.

Matt Killian's Honda CRV

Matt Killian’s Honda CRV

Come hell or high water. Snow. Blizzard. Doesn’t matter, he will find his way to the theater. He’s reliable, because his metallic-coffee-brown, all-wheel-drive Honda CRV is reliable.

Matt Killian's Living Room

Matt Killian’s Living Room

To see what books are on his bookshelves, you have to do a little navigating once you get inside Matt’s house. He has books everywhere. On his shelves. In organized piles on his floor. Next to his bed. On his couch. He has every handbook the American Association of Community Theater has ever published. Management, Development, Set Design, Methods of Acting (including method acting). If it has anything to do with theater, it’s in there. If it’s an important play, it’s in there. He has a seemingly endless assortment of books with sheet music for his guitar. Books on travel. Books about instruments, life, psychology . . . you name it, he might just have it.

Matt Killian's Guitar

Matt Killian’s Guitar

Things he does in his downtime: what downtime? He is the theater. He wants the Starlit Stage to be a giant success, and he’s a perfectionist when he’s working. He practically lives, eats, and breathes the theater and the performing arts. But when he does wind down, he enjoys playing his acoustic guitar, and he has a soulful voice like Chris Cornell. He’s in a band, The Third Act.

Well, now that you’ve met Ivy Baines and the men in her life and you are getting familiar with my new upcoming novel . . . what should we talk about next?

Do you have any questions for Matt or for me?  If so, please post them below, and we will happily get back with you.

Hi, I’m Ivy Baines. Mary Kate said I should tell you a little about myself …

Ivy Baines Bio Pic from her Falling After Fall playbill

Ivy Baines Bio Pic from her Falling After Fall playbill

Hi! I’m Ivy Baines. I am the protagonist of this newest story by Mary Kate Kopec. So far she’s keeping the title a secret, even from me. But she seems really excited about it, so I’m excited, too. All I can say about Mary Kate is that I hope she’s nice to me. She has a reputation for dragging her characters through hell, and all I want from life is a nice, peaceful, friend-filled happiness with enough success to get me back to New York. I’m working my ass off trying to become America’s next greatest playwright.

A few years ago I actually made it to Off-Broadway with my play Falling After Fall. I was showcased at the Lillith Rose Theater for the full length of my contract: 27 weeks, 162 performances. So far, it’s been the most exhilarating thing to happen to me, and I really just want more. It was hard work, but I felt happy.

Falling After Fall Playbill

Falling After Fall Playbill

Lillith Rose Theater

Lillith Rose Theater

Turns out though, making a living at being a full-time playwright is a lot harder than it sounds. And until I get back to New York, I’m currently working at Word In Print. This little excerpt from my story will tell you everything you need to know about how this isn’t the last stop on my career path:

“And now, here I am, stuck in the pay bills, keep a roof over my head and food in my belly rut. I work a hundred-twenty, plus, hours a week, part-time, no benefits, on commission at Word In Print, a one stop shopping spot for spruced up blather that sells. Magazine editors from the English speaking world ‘round fill their pages with our written gab. My editors Ferguson, Fitch, and Wright make my life a living hell. They’ve been dangling the full-time, real-pay, Senior Writer position under my nose for the last four and a half years. If only I would work harder, write faster, have more degrees. I started writing for them just before I finished my Associate’s degree in English, and that’s when I started chasing the carrot.”

So that’s work, and apparently Mary Kate wasn’t listening when I asked for the nice, peaceful, successful part of my life. Guess we’ll have to wait to see what she has in store for me.

A quick few highlights about me. The picture of me above … don’t I look nice? That’s me after an all-day stint at the spa. It was my bio pic in the playbill for Falling After Fall. It’s the best picture I have, and it’s my favorite.

I have a sweet tooth. It likes things that are bad for me, but things that I love. Cupcakes, pancakes with hot buttery syrup, cake … pretty much if it has the word cake in it, I love it.

I don’t have my own car. So I walk a lot and take the bus. … Let me show you where I live.

Chester's Hope House

Chester’s Hope House

Here’s a picture of Chester’s Hope House. It’s this old, but lovely renovated Victorian in Chester, Michigan. I love living here, but I don’t love my roommate. The rent is affordable, and by affordable, I mean cheap. But fifty bucks a week gets me a shared room, shared bathroom, and dinner every night. So it’s all good. Someday I’ll have my own place, but for now, I really like it here.

Music? … I’m all over the place. Love most of it, and what I don’t, I can probably tolerate. I love to read, but don’t seem to ever have time with all the writing I do. My favorite books … don’t laugh … but I love to read cheesy, over-the-top romances. The sappier the better. Doesn’t matter if they’re contemporary, vamp/werewolf, sci-fi, historical, even the too-hot too-rich guy ones saving the girl. They make me laugh and groan … and in the end, they just make me happy. I think it’s just me needing to balance out all the highbrow literature I’ve waded through in college and ever since for writing plays. Some of it’s been fantastic, but sometimes I think some people write just to show off their IQ’s. And I think that’s kinda boring.

Well, that’s me in a nutshell. When Mary Kate gets done writing my story, we’ll all get to see how my life turns out. Do me a favor—post below and vote for me. Tell her she should be nice and give me a happy ending. Because at the moment, I’m not sure she’s convinced.

See you in there (book currently with secret title),

Ivy