Learning and Loving It London ’03 Moves Into Theater and Film

Even though actor-director-producer extraordinaire Matt London ’03 has taken the Andover Theater Department by storm since his freshman year, his true passion lies in film. His love of film sprouted up around the age of six, when his father bought a family video camera; he and his brother would play with it constantly, making awfully overly melodramatic “kung fu” movies and epic action figure space battles on the living room rug. He fell in love immediately. But, since there are few opportunities for six-year-old film makers, London began to pursue theater. Once he moved to Austin, Texas, from Andover, London acted in child musicals, from Guys and Dolls to Les Miserables, in a program called KidsActing. Yet where he was, there were still neither any film opportunities nor directing opportunities. So he applied to boarding school, and chose Andover because of the plethora of directing and film opportunities. After arriving back in Andover, London jumped on the theater bandwagon immediately, directing a classroom called Bed and Breakfast during fall term, and then going on to direct and act in several plays during his freshman and Lower year, the highlight of which was being cast in Parabox, the winter and spring Theater 520 production, which went on to Scotland during the summer of 2001. Parabox, according to London, “was like swimming in a sea of theater, and you’re doused in it for two weeks… it just gives you this glow. The experience is one that you don’t forget.” It was this show that made him realize how astounding theater could be. During London’s summer between Lower and Upper years, he first participated in the Andover Summer Session, creating a movie about the production of Parabox. After being away from film for so long, London felt that that film experience reinforced and reminded him of the fact that he wanted to make movies with his life. After Summer Session, London went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Parabox, during which he spoke with Bruce Bacon and many of the other theater gurus at the time about planning a Shakespeare Festival in order to bring more people into the Department and to give everyone a chance to explore the often overlooked art of Shakespeare. After organizing the Shakespeare Festival, London directed the winter Drama Lab production, Six Degrees of Separation, by John Guare, with “a brilliant cast and incomparable stage manager [Jessica Chermayeff ’04],” London says. This amazing production and his following role in Romeo and Juliet, playing Lord Capulet, led to his acceptance as a producer for the 2002-2003 school year. Over the summer before his Senior year, London attended the New York Film Academy, finally receiving the opportunity to sharpen his film skills, especially his ability to work with a cast of actors. Honing his aesthetics, London developed his entire film portfolio while at the Academy, sending a few of the films in with his college applications. With the assistance of Instructor in Theater Kevin Heelan, London directed one of the two fall Theater 520 productions, Lysistrata, a classic Greek comedy with many underlying sexual themes. As London says, Lysistrata, revolving around the audience’s enjoyment of watching the actors having a great deal of fun, was a “fun, effortless accumulation of [his] four years at Andover.” Now, during his Senior spring, London has been putting all of his effort into the lead role of Berenger in this year’s entry to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Rhinoceros. Knowing the entire cast makes the show even more fun and exciting; the anticipation for the final productions, and entire Scotland experience of performing all together with this close friends, has been building all term for London. After this summer of Rhinoceros and his return to Scotland, London will be heading to the University of Central Florida, which has an elite four-year film program, which has produced many a theater genius. He hopes to come out of school and go straight to Los Angeles, working his way to the top through small on-location jobs and internship connections. Even though he does love editing, he wishes to be on location, learning every single job through experience. “I want to do everything,” says London of his future. “I have no delusions of grandeur, but I do believe that everyone should have achievable goals and then unachievable dreams, because life should always be moving upwards, without any wandering breaks. So my goal is to make a full-length feature film; my dream is to become a household name.”