By Mark Ambrogi
Garret Mathews’ play “Kill the Column” isn’t autobiographical, but it does have some elements of truth.
The play will be presented as part of the IndyFringe Festival at the Theatre on the Square Stage 2 at 627 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 13; 1:30 p.m., Aug. 15; 9 p.m., Aug. 16; 7:30 p.m., Aug. 17; 6 p.m., Aug. 21 and 9 p.m., Aug. 22.
Mathews, a Carmel resident, was the Evansville Courier & Press columnist for 20 years before he was reassigned at age 58.
“On my 60th birthday, I was taking a walk and I wasn’t happy with what I was doing (at the paper),” Mathews said. “So I thought what if I could be two years older and eligible for social security, would you be willing to give up two years of your life so you could get to that position where your newspaper career would be over and you were eligible for social security. That’s the premise of the play.”
The play’s demoted columnist has to choose whether he’s ready to strike a deal with the devil so he could magically be two years older. Mathews said he’s not as crusty or self-centered as the columnist in the play.
“It’s a fairy tale,” he said.
Mathews wrote the play about a year ago. He has worked to cut the play down about 20 minutes to fit in the 55-minute time slot.
Mathews retired from the newspaper when he turned 62 in 2011. He and his wife, MaryAnne, moved to Carmel to be closer to his son’s family.
MaryAnne plays one of lead roles in the play. Mark Atchison, who is active in Evansville theater circles, plays the columnist. Mathews doesn’t act.
“I’d be terrified,” he said. “I write, that’s it.”
For more information, visit killthecolumn.weebly.com.