Getting Personal is an email Q&A with a local personality. Here, Melissa Merli talks with Mathew Green, who produces and directs theater, mostly at the Station Theatre in Urbana. Getting Personal appears first in print, on Sundays. In the June 3 newspaper, we'll have a visit with Nancy Willamon of Tolono.
What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?
I get up around 7:30. The first hour consists of making breakfast for my daughter and exercising, which right now means cardio-kickboxing.
What did you have for lunch today? Where? With whom?
Lunch with my daughter at the mall, because Oz likes orange chicken followed by a carousel ride. I usually skip lunch, but I picked off her plate a little.
Best high school memory.
Quitting the football team. That felt terribly rebellious.
Tell me about your favorite pair of shoes.
Two Christmases ago, my wife, Lindsay, gave me the most comfortable running shoes in the world: black Nikes with my name stitched into the heel.
What does a perfect Sunday afternoon include?
As little activity as possible. My family's week is so hectic that it's good to relax, maybe read or go to the park.
Was there one book you read as a child that you still cherish? Own? Read?
"The Monster at the End of This Book," which is a "Sesame Street" story. It's one of my daughter's favorites as well, although she prefers the eBook.
Where on earth are you dying to go? Why?
My wife is the traveler. I would let her choose.
Tell me about your favorite pet.
My cat, Clark, is about 14 years old and weighs as much as a large toddler. He is the kindest creature I've ever met, and several of my friends say he has appeared in their dreams.
Have you discovered that you are becoming like one of your parents? Which one and how?
I have noticed a mixture of them both. Certainly their stubbornness.
What would you order for your last meal?
If I knew it was my last meal, I doubt I'd be very hungry. There's a story in my family about an uncle of my mother who came back from a POW camp after Vietnam. When he arrived in the states, the government laid out a banquet, and one of the men who came back with him ate so much he ruptured something and nearly died. My mother's uncle just ordered coffee. I'm probably getting the story wrong, but the idea is the same.
What can you not live without?
My family and theater.
Who do you have on your iPod?
Everyone. I have eclectic taste. Johnny Cash to Prince to Nina Simone to Jay-Z. And lots of Tom Waits.
What's the happiest memory of your life?
The birth of my daughter. When she arrived, I experienced the first moment of pure joy that I had ever had. There was no time or place for worry or cynicism or any of the other emotions that creep into any other day.
If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite?
Jon Stewart, Nick Offerman and Patton Oswalt because those are three people who never fail to make my wife laugh.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
My grandfather used to say, "It's no hill for a stepper," which I interpret as meaning that obstacles don't matter if you're determined to keep going.
What's your best piece of advice?
Be honest and considerate as often as you possibly can.
What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?
I spent Saturday mornings cleaning a church for Sunday services. I think I made $5 an hour. I was just a kid, probably 13.
What was a pivotal decision in your career and how did you arrive at that decision?
Every opportunity I get in the theater is pivotal in one way or another. What to direct, whether or not to audition for a play, how involved I will be with a production. And I arrive at all my decisions by discussing the options with my wife.
Do you have a bad habit? What is it?
I tend to react emotionally rather than logically. Especially to emails. I'm trying to train myself to pause before responding.
How do you handle a stressful situation?
It varies. Stress at home usually results in long conversations. Stress in the theater usually results in a thoughtful pause and deliberate action.