Tag Archives: christina carmona

Hi Eugene Theatre presents “Matt and Ben” at The Venue

by: @jenvargas

We were invited by the troop at Hi Eugene! Theatre Productions to watch a preview of their production of “Matt & Ben” opening TODAY, Saturday, November 8th, at The Venue Orlando (Mills District, in case you weren’t aware).  Having seen their previous production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, I knew one thing was for sure; I was going to laugh. And maybe cry, but mostly laugh like a fool. I was greeted with were three familiar faces, those being Christina Carmona (Ben), Lindsay Taylor (Matt) and of course Devon Lucia, the show’s director. These ladies always seem to have such fun together, and with this piece I’m sure it was no exception. One (not really a) problem… Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are clearly male. I got curious.

Admittedly, I am not a fan of Mindy Kaling, so I was a little skeptical going into this preview based on that alone. (Sorry, Mindy. I just don’t find you that funny but you seem very nice.) Having no prior knowledge of this play going in, other Googling a brief synopsis, I was curious to see how this story of “Hollywood golden boys” Matt Damon and Ben Affleck would unfold… with female leads. And not just that, in this story the script from “Good Will Hunting,” falls ‘mysteriously from the heavens.’ Figuratively and maybe even literally, depending on your point of view.

Tip: I encourage you to arrive early to catch the pre show. Anything else I say about it will be a spoiler. Just… enjoy the nostalgia.

MattAndBen 2014

Another tip: Originally, this play was presented with no intermission. In Hi Eugene’s version there is, which is a clever, added bonus for any diehard fan of either. Again, no spoilers but a small hint: A certain person performing at Orlando Improv this weekend *may* be involved.

This play sets up the story of characters “Matt” and “Ben” prior to any big career success. They were lifelong best friends who, for the most part had a fun and funny bromance. Both were struggling to pave a career after their roles in School Ties. Ben, even back when with his leading man good looks, turned more to writing by trying to adapt a screenplay version of “Catcher in the Rye.” Matt on the other hand, the thinker, wished for a really meaty acting role. Lindsay, as “Matt,” definitely sells this desperation in search… and other moments you’ll see. Christina’s “Ben” is very funny, as I can imagine Ben Affleck might actually be in life.

What I really enjoyed about this play was the emphasis on friendship above all. Possibly through the spirit of their previous characters in Dog Sees God, the ladies really drove this point home for me. Behind the scenes, the cast in particular have been presented with huge life challenges this year, including Christina Carmona’s father who has been unwell. I appreciate that Hi Eugene! always manages to give back to the community in some form – in addition to putting on a show.  Their last production donated proceeds to UCF’s Bully-Free Florida Network. A portion from “Matt and Ben” will go to The Barber Fund, a grassroots organization which provides assistance to those living with cancer. Well done team!

Last tip: Stay to the end. There’s a neat little bow tie…

M&B Napkin NOV-v2


About Hi Eugene! Theatre Productions
Created by the Lucia sisters – Devon and Dannon – in 2009 and launched the theatre company in 2013, Hi Eugene! Theatre Productions is a local production company striving to provide community arts and entertainment that have both a heart and a message. Hi Eugene! brings awareness to causes affecting young people today through relevant, poignant and entertaining stage productions. In an effort to raise awareness even offstage, the company hosts fundraising events and charitable outreach programs.  If fundraising goals are met, Hi Eugene! donates 100 percent of a specific night’s profits to a pre-determined charity. To learn more about Hi Eugene!, its mission and upcoming productions or to donate and purchase tickets, visit www.HiEugeneTheatreProductions.com.

Hi Eugene! Theatre Productions Presents

Matt & Ben

Written by Mindy Kaling & Brenda Withers
Directed by Devon D. Lucia

November 8 – 9, 2014
7 p.m. (Sat.)
7 p.m. (Sun.)

The Venue
511 Virginia Dr.
Orlando, FL 32803

Tickets:  $15

Our Company:
“Matt” – Lindsay Taylor
“Ben” – Christina Carmona

Our Team:
Director & Producer – Devon D. Lucia
Assistant Director – Brian Gutierrez
Executive Producer – Dannon Lucia
Graphic Designer – Samantha Sanders
Set Designer and Construction – Adam S. Ressa
Stage Manager – Jordan Irvine

**Matt & Ben has not been authorized or approved in any manner by Matt Damon or Ben Affleck Estate, which have no responsibility for its content. Produced with permission from Samuel French INC.

9th Annual Orlando Film Festival starts this week

By: @jenvargas

OFF 2014OFF 2014b

With over 250 films screening, this is Orlando Film Festival’s biggest year ever! More than 300 filmmakers and talent from around the world will descend upon Downtown Orlando to represent their films. Welcome filmmakers!

Orlando Film Fest kicked off last night with a Wine’d Down Wednesday pre-party at Kasa Restaurant and Bar and followed with a opening night screening of the “pitch-dark comedy,” Tiger Lily Road. Director Michael Medeiros with a few cast and crew members attended the screening before heading over to Kres Chophouse on Orange Ave for a great after party.

OFF Opening Night 2014

Photo by Nando Torres

Festival passes, VIP and VIP Elite passes are still available at orlandofilmfest.com. Stay for a single film, block of films or go for the VIP Elite pass to get priority seating and unlimited access to the entire fest including; every screening, party, panel, music conference, filmmaker and VIP lounges.

Below, Indie Cinema Showcase goes behind the scenes of last year’s festival to find out why MovieMaker Magazine named Orlando Film Festival one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals In The World!”

Speaking of filmmakers, you may recognize the host of the segment above. He’s guest contributor Nando Torres! Readers here know Nando as a HUGE WWE fan, but he’s also an actor, filmmaker and Chief Operating Officer of Bad Kitty Films. Nando produced a short film called The Conversation which is screening this weekend at Orlando Film Festival. He and his Bad Kitty partner in crime, actress/director Christina Carmona, also play a pair of evil villains in another film screening this weekend called TechSquad, produced by Creative Inlet Films. I highly encourage you to check out both, with the least amount of bias I can muster!

On Social: 

Twitter: @OrlandoFilmFest, #OFF9

Facebook: /OrlandoFilmFest

Director Devin Lucia brings ‘Dog Sees God’ to Orlando’s The Venue

A special invitation to all of YOU from the cast through Google Glass!

Opening this weekend is a local production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, written by Burt V. Royal. The story cleverly juxtaposes Charles Schultz’s classic Peanuts characters with commonplace teens and the daily problems they face. The echoing subject throughout the play? Bullying, an unfortunate hot button topic in today’s society and especially prevalent in high schools. In this production they fearlessly tackle it all; being gay, overweight, hate crimes, racial stereotyping, drugs, peer pressure and more. Not only do they tackle it onstage, they’ve opened an anti-bullying dialogue across social media, on their website and through video interviews with the cast via their Dog Sees God Orlando YouTube page


Sound too heavy? Don’t worry. There are well-paced, comedic breaks along the way. And! If you’re a huge Peanuts fan like I am, there are plenty of nifty easter eggs [hidden and not-so-hidden] throughout the performance. (Who doesn’t like a good Snoopy Dance?!)


The play’s director, Devin Lucia, has given the script a bit of an update from its early 2000’s context. Her staging aims to push the boundaries of social identification. Through the main character “CB,” we follow a journey of awkward adolescent phases of self discovery. In association with UCF’s Bully-Free Florida Network, fundraising and awareness efforts to support this cause are intertwined within the show. A dedicated cast of local 20-something thespians handle this production’s heavy material with grace and humor. Tickets are only $10 and are available NOW for purchase online or in person at The Venue Orlando
CB – Matthew Hughes
Beethoven – Isaac Bannasch
CB’s Sister – Jordan Irvine
Van – Jonathan Jimenez
Van’s Sister – Cassandra Buelich
Matt – Adam Ressa
Tricia – Christina Carmona
Marcy – Lindsay Taylor
Director & Producer – Devon D. Lucia
Assistant Director – Brian Gutierrez
Executive Producer – Dannon Lucia
Production Manager – Heather Mowad
Communications Manager – Steven Calamusa
Event Manager – Chris Meushaw
Graphic and Set Designer – Samantha Sanders
Set Construction – Dan Mende