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Side Street Studio Arts produces ‘Matt & Ben’

Mindy Kaling
Tiffany Streng, left, and Eileen Moeller star in Side Street Studio Arts' production of "Matt & Ben."  |  Photo by Tanner Melvin

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A pair of young actresses is bringing a play about a couple of Hollywood heavyweights to life in Elgin.

Eileen Moeller of Elgin and Tiffany Streng of Arlington Heights star in a theatrical production of “Matt & Ben” for Side Street Studio Arts in Elgin.

The scathing and hilarious “Matt & Ben” was written by “The Office” vet Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Nov. 8-23.

Originally an off-Broadway hit for Kaling and Withers, the play features two women portraying Matt Damon and Ben Affleck all the way back in 1996, when they were struggling actors sharing a Boston apartment and trying to write their first script. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t “Good Will Hunting.”)

Erin Rehberg is one of the founders of Side Street Studio Arts, and when Moeller and Streng approached her about staging the play, she was in immediately.

“They originally wanted to do a space rental, and we said, no, let’s do this together and we’ll produce it. We thought this was the perfect atmosphere for this show,” she said.

The script is “pretty silly” although it has a few dark places, she said.

“It’s a funny one,” she said. “And of course Mindy Kaling, known for ‘The Office’ and her writing on there, and seeing her writing in this context is even more interesting and entertaining.”

The play supposes that while Damon and Affleck are working on a script for something else entirely, the script for “Good Will Hunting” appears like a gift from the heavens.

“One day they’re struggling actors, and then the script literally falls from the sky into their laps, finished and ready to go,” Rehberg said.

The play, which clocks in at just over a brisk hour, also references their earlier works and personal lives through flashbacks and dream sequences.

“It talks about stars they dated — it really goes for it,” she said.

The studio is quite intimate, so audiences will be up close and personal with the actors, Rehberg said.

“They will be able to be in on all the jokes, which is our favorite thing about having this show in this space,” she said. “They’re not segregated at all. They are going to be up in Matt and Ben’s living room as part of the performance, and that’s the exciting part. It’s very funny and I think it’s going to be a really good time.”

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