Stripping, sports and spirituality: three themes that you commonly wouldn’t find together.
However, on Saturday, April 7, Terri Mateer’s “A Kind Shot” combined these three, and many more, into a comedic, shocking and inspiring performance in Parker Theatre.
Mateer, an ex-pro basketball player, model and actress premiered the show at Under St. Marks, an intimate theater in New York City, in 2013. There, she performed the show multiple times, getting audience feedback and making changes where she felt necessary. Parker Theater is the fifteenth venue to welcome “A Kind Shot.”
The show’s set is a simple one: basic lighting shining down on the stage of Parker Theater, which has been made to look like a basketball court. At the start of the show, Mateer walks out dribbling a basketball, which she wound up holding for the duration of the performance.
A flower is painted onto the basketball, which Mateer explains to be symbolic of the first word her father taught her, “flower.” From the beginning, Mateer’s tone is very conversational: I almost couldn’t tell whether the performance had begun or not, however this made the show a lot easier to watch and Mateer’s interaction with the audience at the beginning made her seem like less of a character and more of a person.
The story of Mateer’s life is a rollercoaster ride. As she effortlessly relays her story, one can’t help but feel drawn in. She describes the role models in her life as her “coaches.” Her first coach was her dad, who suddenly died at a young age while in the Air Force. Her next coach was her mom, whom she referred to as “not a very good coach.” Earl, a man who moved in with Mateer when she was in middle school, was not only a metaphorical coach to Mateer, but also a literal one, as he was the first person to teach Mateer how to properly shoot a basketball.
Each time Mateer’s story seemed to reach a peak, it immediately came crashing down. In a non-graphic, but still shocking way, Mateer reveals the multiple instances of sexual assault she’s experienced in her life.
The stories couldn’t have come at a better time, as movements like “Me Too” are encouraging women to speak out on the harassment and assault they’ve faced in their lives. This was mentioned during the after-performance talkback, where Mateer opens the floor to the audience to ask questions, share their personal experiences and give feedback on the show.
The overarching theme of the play, however, was friendship. Mateer explains the importance of stepping in when a friend needs help, even if they don’t ask. She shares an experience where a friend of her’s asked what was going on during an especially rough time in her life, and how much that helped her get to the place where she is today.
Overall, “A Kind Shot” was a thoroughly enjoyable performance. Mateer had no problem capturing and holding the audiences attention for the entire 90-minute performance, which is especially impressive considering Mateer is the show’s only actor.
Mateer faced the retelling of sensitive stories head on, and did so with love, passion and humor. Throughout the show, I couldn’t help but root for her. While “A Kind Shot,” is still in development, with Mateer fine-tuning the show, she hopes to one day be able to perform it at schools around the country, as the lessons it teaches are extremely relevant and valuable to people of all ages.