Matthew Cote. Which character are you playing?
I am playing the character of Tom. Tom Wingfield.
And what town are you from?
I am from New Britain, Connecticut. I grew up here.
Is this your first time at Hole in the Wall? No, it is not.
No, it’s not. I was in a few shows here. My first show here was The Crucible, directed by Kelly. I played Marshal Herrick. I went from that to Of Mice and Men, where I played George. Then I went to Julius Caesar, I played Marc Antony. Now I’m doing this.
How’d you get into theater, and what is your background in theater?
I got into theater, probably, in fourth grade. I remember auditioning for a show. My grandma was like, “you should just try out for it.” I was like, “you know what, you’re right.” So, I did, and I got the male lead.
Do you remember what the show was?
Yeah, I do. I think it was Merry Christmas, Mr. Walker, or something like that. He was a mailman, like a Grinch character, so he was like “Aw, I hate Christmas! Oh, this is stupid.” Then he ends up loving Christmas. Then in fifth grade I was in a show again, and I knew from then on, I was like “Yeah, I’m going to do something with theater,” whether it’s acting, or directing. I love it.
Did you study theater at all?
I did, I studied theater. Not much happened in middle school, except for a lot of fun. I did theater in high school, and then I studied theater in college. I was in the BFA program, but I dropped out.
What do you do for a living?
I’m in-between jobs. Like all actors, right? I’m hoping to get some work this pilot season. I’m moving back to New York, soon. Probably towards the end of this run. Just gonna audition and see what I get.
What do you like to do besides theater?
Oh, man, that’s a good one. I like playing video games in the winter. It’s the winter, what else is there to do? I love cars, too. I have a 1979 Camaro. It’s a lot of fun to tinker with things. That’s kind of on the backburner right now because, you know, a job and life and theater. I just love theater so much. It’s something that I don’t get to do nearly as much as I want to.
What are your dreams for the future? Obviously, you want to do theater, anything besides that? Or do you want to go into more detail?
Yeah. As far as theater goes, I want to be someone who knows how to do it all. I also do stage combat. I want to be licensed with that. I’m going to do that this summer. I’d love to make a living off theater, as every theater-maker wants to. I’d love to be on Broadway, doing shows. I’m not necessarily a singer or dancer, but I’m an actor.
Why did you audition for The Glass Menagerie? Were there any other opportunities for auditions?
Actually, no. This is a fun story. I was living in New York at the time, I still have a place there. I rage-quit my job. I walked out. I was like “I’m over this, I’m out.” I came home for the weekend, and I happened to see auditions for The Glass Menagerie, and I was like “oh, wow, this is my favorite show of all time.” So, I came through, auditioned, and I’m super glad I got the part. I moved back home for the winter, and now I’m doing this, and I love it.
How would you describe your character? In what ways are you like, and not like your character?
We see a lot of anger in Tom. There are two really big ideas going on in Tom’s head. So, you’ve got the first one, which is tradition and family values, and the second one where he just wants to completely break away from that. You know, he’s the artist, he’s not from the old south. He works at a job in a shoe factory, and I’ve worked shoes for a long time, so I understand why he wants to leave. He’s working this dead-end job, and that’s exactly what I was doing, so I know how he feels. I’m very like him in that regard. I’m not like him in that everything is riding on my job. I don’t have to pay my mom’s rent and my sister’s rent. She can do that on her own, thankfully.
Have you ever collected anything?
Yes. I just realized this about myself- I have a lot of shoes. Boots, sneakers. I wouldn’t say I’m a collector, but there’s an excess. I used to skateboard, too. I would buy new decks or wheels or trucks every 3-4 weeks. They’d go bad but I’d still buy one anyway. I guess I tend to collect things like that.
Did you have anything in your collections that was special to you?
Not really, no. Usually, when I get over those fads I just sell ‘em. Get rid of ‘em. Donate ‘em. Especially with clothes, I donate clothes all the time.
Do you have a favorite drink, alcoholic or otherwise?
I love seltzer.
I love seltzer water, man. It’s the funniest thing in the history of the world, but I love it. You can ask my roommates in New York. When I go back there next time, I’m gonna bring eight cases of polar seltzer. It’s so expensive there! We joke about it, because I always have a ton of seltzer. I stopped drinking soda, because it’s so unhealthy. I love the fizz, I have to drink seltzer water.
Do you have a favorite song?
I do! It’s by a band called Sigur Ros. They’re Icelandic.
What was that? Sigur Roaas?
Yes. Sigur Ros. S-I-G-U-R R-O-S. It’s Icelandic, so it’s definitely weird. It’s very atmospheric, and I love that. My favorite song is “Olsen Olsen.”
Is there anything else you’d like to say? Other ventures? Shoutouts?
I’d like to give a shoutout to my mom for having me in her home again. I’d like a shoutout for my friends, too, for being understanding of “no, I can’t; I’ve got rehearsal.” A shoutout to Steve for casting me, I’m super grateful that I had this opportunity to work with such an awesome cast.