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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Meet Mattie

SHE’S STROLLING THE closed-to-traffic stretch of Broadway at 45th Street, an area thronged with tourists and those who would like to make money off of the tourists. The Naked Cowboy is there, ready to sing to you and pose with you, and the Naked Indian is a recent equal-opportunity addition to the scene. A verdigris-colored Lady Liberty offers deadpan humor.

And as you approach the TKTS windows, where discount show tickets are sold, you’ll meet Mattie and the many others trying to call your attention to specific productions. In Mattie’s case, it’s “Clybourne Park.”

“Have you seen it” she asks cheerfully. I assure her I have. “But I was watching you deal with other people,” I tell her. “You must be an actress.”

“I am,” she admits. She’s young and blonde and fresh-faced and very attractive, and I’m thankful to have my teenaged daughter in tow to make me appear a little less like a lonely middle-aged man.

“You have to put up with constant rejection doing this,” I observe.

“I do!” she cries, but with a smile in her voice. “It helps thicken my skin.”

Mattie left her home town of Chattanooga two months ago in order to pursue acting here in Manhattan, and is still settling in with the challenge of balancing auditions and work. It’s a hot August evening, and she not only has to hawk the discount she’s offering and try to persuade people to take away an info sheet – she also has to keep aloft an awkward crossroads sign that serves as a symbol for the show.

And she couldn’t sound more chipper. I’m betting good things are in store for her as she chases this impossible career.

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