Matilda, The Musical is the story of an extraordinary little girl with extraordinary powers – and it’s being put on by a local drama program with scope and a cast size no less extraordinary than the production’s protagonist.
Brookswood Secondary School’s Fine Arts department is bringing the musical Roald Dahl adaptation to their stage, Feb. 5 to 15.
Directed by Sheri Eyre and Gordon Hamilton, the cast features 34 actors – age 10 to 18 – which doesn’t even cover the orchestra, set and costume designers, and technical crew additionally involved.
“The show went up for non-professional licensing last year,” Hamilton explained, “and we got on it right away because we thought it would be fitting for students.”
Sent to live at Crunchem Hall run by a cruel headmistress, Matilda learns to stand up against the adults in her world, and in doing so, discovers her own remarkable powers.
Matilda’s bravery teaches her classmates an important lesson — that even though life can be hard, “nobody but me is gonna change my story” so “sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty.”
Auditions happened in September of last year, and since then, actors and crew members have been working steadily to bring Matilda to the stage.
Esther Jackson, a 17-year-old actress who plays one of the lead roles – a supportive teacher named Miss Honey – said this was her third production after Fiddler on the Roof and Mamma Mia, and thus far, her most prominent role.
“We’re making sure all the details are taken care of up to the very last minute,” the actress said.
It’s been a journey, Jackson told the Langley Advance Times – she said the production requires two to three hours of rehearsal on four nights a week.
“We know what we’re getting into from the beginning and what’s involved,” she explained. “You have to be dedicated; there’s the expectation that we stay in character – not when we’re in class, but through the performance.”
Peyton Komish plays the evil headmistress Miss Trunchbull, which she felt was a major stretch for her.
“If someone does something wrong, I tell them I’m sorry,” Komish laughed. “It’s fun to play because I’m very quiet. When we first started, Sheri [Erye] kept telling me to be more cruel.”
Once Komish got her bodysuit and costume – a major aspect of the production that accentuates the colourful world of Matilda – she said the character began to take shape.
Other opportunities beyond exploring new characters presented itself to the cast; on top of being the antagonist, Komish said she is also a stage manager and many cast members helped construct the set.
Then there are the two Matildas.
Not one, but two actresses are playing the title role and switching out each evening to give each other an opportunity to shine and carry the load as the show’s lead.
Anna Judge and Lexi Theiessen both agreed that it was benefit to have another person playing the same role; that way, they could chat about their character choices and help each other with their performance as rehearsals went along.
“We have each other’s back and definitely helped each other,” Theiessen assured.
Both were open to admitting they were nervous, but on opening night, that’s not going to be a problem for either.
“I think, when you step on stage, it all goes away,” Judge said.
The show runs 2 hours and 15 minutes, starts each night at 7 p.m., and costs $17 for admission.
Brookswood Secondary is well-known for their annual production through their extensive drama program as well as their state of the art 300-seat theatre.
Several students from Belmont Elementary, including the two Matildas, are taking part in the production to gain further theatre experience.
Cast members, particularly Jackson, were quick to add that because of the knowledge and insight they’ve gained through the drama program, they plan to pursue theatre after graduation.
People can visit https://bssmatilda.brownpapertickets.com/ for more information and tickets.
Above all, the cast shouted out an array of emotions that they hope the audience comes away with after seeing Matilda.
“Joy,” “wonder,”, “good times,” and “their monies worth” were just a few of those hopes.
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