Curtains rise for the opening night of Matilda

Caroline Caruso, Guest Contributor

One of the most popular musicals of the last decade hits the campus stage Thursday starting at 7 p.m. as the theatre department puts on its debut performance of Matilda the Musical.

Heather Willingham, director of the theater arts program, fell in love with the music when she first heard it, and is excited to see the production come together. 

“Every year we challenge ourselves more and more to see what we can do,” Willingham said. “This year we’ve really stepped up the challenge. My students are also a big part of the design process. A lot of the stuff you see on set, on lights, and sound is coming directly from them.”  

Preparing for the role as Ms. Trunchbull, the headmistress and antagonist of the musical, sophomore Connor Burk invested a lot of time into researching the demeanour and personality his character.

“I looked through all the different versions of the musical as I could and all the people who have played her before,” Burk said. “I think something that really helps is the makeup and costume because it’s kind of different playing an old woman wearing a skirt and heels versus dressing like a normal teenager. It helps you get into character better.”

Sophomore Jane Wester, who plays the lead role as Matilda in the production, thinks that the experience has helped her to learn more about performing in front of an audience. 

“Probably my biggest takeaway has been that character development is just as important as writing a book or in a TV show or film,” Wester said. “It’s just as important on the stage, maybe even more because you don’t get a second chance. The audience are seeing it in the moment, and you want to make it as interesting as possible for them throughout the show.”