OPRF Theatre takes “Matilda” from page to stage

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OPRF Theatre takes “Matilda” from page to stage

Steve Beck

Steve Beck

Steve Beck

Ella Haas, News/Opinion Editor

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Steve Beck

OPRF’s summer musical took to the stage the weekend of July 12-14 in the Little Theater. Directed by Teslen Sadowski, the adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda” rehearsed from June 10 to July 12: an unusually short preparation period for an OPRF production.

Playing the titular role, junior Mira Mundt said “We had four weeks to put (the show) up, so we started with auditions… they posted the cast list a few days after auditions, and then we just got it up and running with four weeks.”

“I felt like although (rehearsal) was only four hours (per day), some of the bigger parts had to stay until five,” said junior Jack Zylstra. “But overall, I think because it was four days a week – then, once we got closer to the show, it was almost every day.”

The story follows Mundt’s character, a bright girl with extraordinary telekinetic powers born to ignorant parents played by Zylstra and fellow junior Taylor Morris. Matilda finds solace from her unsupportive home in places like the library, in the company of librarian Mrs. Phelps (played by senior Valerie Martire) and in her school. Her first-grade teacher Miss Honey (senior Sadie Beck) becomes a positive role model in her life, who strives to provide Matilda with the tools and the support she needs to succeed – and who ultimately learns from Matilda in the process.

Songwriter Tim Minchin and playwright Dennis Kelly adapted the classic children’s book into a musical with songs performed by an assembly of OPRF band students.

For many students like Mundt, who had never played a lead before, “Matilda” was an opportunity to grow.

“At OPRF, I hadn’t been cast in such a big role before,” said Zylstra. “It was very exciting, it was also kind of a surprise because I had mostly been doing dancing roles and stuff like that. I wasn’t really used to a big part like that… but in the end it was really great.”

“It was kind of scary,” added freshman cast member Joshua Bonds. “I’m with sophomores, juniors, seniors, that have been at that school for years and understand everything… but later on when I became friends with them, I kind of got to know them a little better, and they’re actually really cool people.”

Steve Beck

Despite the schedule, the cast didn’t face any consequential adversities regarding efficiency or bonding.

“I think it was really easy to find friends and kind of get to know people,” says Zylstra.

Sadowski emphasized her satisfaction with the show’s social atmosphere.

“That’s one of the things about the summer (shows), they get to make friends,” she said. “They get to see those friends in the halls; I like the fact that they have that shared experience that they can always go back to.”

“My goal for this show was to talk to everyone at least once, and I think I succeeded in that,” said Mundt. “Being a cast is like being a part of a family, and everyone’s important, but yeah. This was a really nice cast; everyone got along and worked together… There were some lighting things, and some line mishaps, but nothing else (major).”

One such incident included a mistake with a prop in one of Zylstra’s scenes, which he and Mundt were able to recover from.

“He forgot to set his hat. This is the hat I pick up and put super glue in later, and it gets stuck to his head,” explains Mundt. “Obviously everything has to be there for that (scene) to work, so when I was doing it, the hat wasn’t there. So I freaked out for a second – I was like “What do I do?” – but then I took the super glue and put it on my hand, and I gave him a high-five or something, and he hit my hand. I don’t know, iit was very spontaneous. Then later, what I heard he did is he put his hand on his head, then it got stuck to his head, so it was supposed to be the hat getting stuck to his head, but he and I improvised and he just got his hand stuck to his head because the prop wasn’t set.”

Nevertheless, the cast was satisfied with the final product.

“I’m super grateful for Ms. Sadowski and the whole team, and the production staff, and the pit, and everyone who made this possible.” shared Mundt.

“What I took away (from “Matilda”) is how grateful I am for the experience to even be in the show. That feels wonderful, I feel blessed about that,” says Bonds.