MTC’s ‘Matilda’ impresses Milford community


Tara Johnson

A group photo of the cast of Matilda (Photo courtesy of Tara Johnson)

Laura Nowicki, Managing Editor

After 10 stressful weeks consisting of countless hours of rehearsal, the talented and dedicated members of the MHS Theatre Company performed Matilda, dazzling audience members and maintaining Milford’s reputation for the impressive theatre program. Selling out nearly every show, Matilda proved to be another hit among Milford’s long line of brilliant productions.

Matilda was performed for the public three times throughout the span of Nov. 22-23, but the preparation for the show began long before the curtains were drawn on opening night. “We started auditions the first week of school and had rehearsals every week after that,” explained Junior Sydney White, who played a Big Kid. “Rehearsals started out by being just a couple of hours a few times a week, but by the end of October, we had rehearsals every day from 2:30 to 9.”

Milford’s theatre program requires all participants to be completely committed to the production of the show. After a long and tiring school day, members have little time to catch a break, however, due to excellent time management skills, the productive members balance both schoolwork and rehearsal. “Nobody gets enough sleep,” said Junior Joe Antrim, who played Bruce Bogtrotter. “The biggest thing is trying to stay positive and energetic through the long hours of rehearsal.”

The week before the show is performed is known as “show week” to theatre members, known for being chaotic, emotional, and full of pressure, and Matilda’s show week was no exception. Junior Aspen Snyder, who played the Acrobat, explained, “This show week was pretty stressful for me; at some points, I really thought that it wasn’t going to come together.” The panic of show week is stressful for many, but also brings a sense of relief and accomplishment as members are in the final stretch of the rehearsal process. White elaborated on this by saying, “During show week, a lot of the bad vibes and drama leave everyone because everyone gets focused on the show and is excited to finally perform it.”

Senior members of the production are especially emotional during show week, since it may be their last time performing on the stage. The infamous “cry talley” is written on the whiteboard of the choir room, keeping track of how many times tears are shed as many realize that soon the show will be nothing but a memory.

Once show week came to a close, the long-awaited day finally arrived– opening night. As parents, students, and teachers in the community anxiously awaited that much-anticipated evening, tickets sold quickly online until not a single seat was free in the auditorium.

After countless hours of preparation, it was finally time for Matilda to be performed, and it didn’t disappoint. The opening act, “Miracle,” was a playful take on childhood and the adoration of children by their parents, and was performed by the “Little Kids” and the “Big Kids.” As the children sang about the compliments that have been showered upon them by their parents, Matilda Wormwood, played by Brianna Martin, appeared, who sang about how she had had the exact opposite experience so far throughout her childhood. As the song concludes, she reveals that her parents have called her a “disappointment” and a “mistake” simply due to her passion for learning in a household dominated by the television.

Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, played by Hunter McCauley and Audrey Allen, completely embodied their challenging roles as snobby, feuding parents, and were standout performers throughout the show. Oblivious to the power of knowledge, both parents despise Matilda and send her away to a dreary, terrifying boarding school run by none other than Agatha Trunchbull, played by Ryan Cleasby.

Trunchbull’s school is intimidating and threatening, complete with a punishment chamber known as “The Chokey.” However, in spite of the school’s depressing and somber environment, Miss Honey, played by Julia Salvati, served as a beacon of light and hope to the children of the school, and enlightened Matilda of her intellectual gifts in reading and mathematics.

Throughout the play, Matilda told a story of an acrobat and an escapologist, who were played by Snyder and Joey Martin. The story unknowingly was a play on Miss Honey’s tragic life story and revealed to the audience that Trunchbull was the aunt of Miss Honey, and her jealousy and anger motivated her to make Honey’s life miserable. “I think my biggest challenge [while preparing for the show] was the nature of my role,” explained Snyder. “I was offstage for long periods of time, so it was challenging to stay in character and stay consistent throughout the show.” Despite any difficulty of playing such a unique role in the show, both Snyder and Martin portrayed their characters seemingly effortlessly and were a unique and exciting part of the show.

Two additional standout songs were “The Smell of Rebellion” and “Revolting Children,” both of which consisted of the children planning to overthrow Miss Trunchbull and eventually succeeding with help from Matilda’s newfound telekinetic abilities. Matilda manipulated the school’s chalk to trick Trunchbull into believing that Honey’s late father, Magnus, was writing her a threatening message, demanding her to leave the school for good. With help from Milford Theatre’s stage crew and set designers, Matilda appeared to be actually controlling the chalk onstage, which amazed the audience.

As the show reached its end, Matilda was adopted by Miss Honey and Trunchbull was never seen again, leaving Miss Honey in charge of the school, to the delight of the children. The closing act, “This Little Girl,” was an emotional and heartfelt conclusion to the show, leaving many audience members in tears.

When members took their final bow on stage, the audience erupted with applause and gave a standing ovation to the performers, who worked tirelessly to produce an excellent show. As the curtains closed, overwhelming amounts of joy and relief were seen on every performer’s face.

The production of such a well-done show brings attention to the Milford Theatre Company, cherished and loved by each of its members, which proves to be a staple in the culture surrounding Milford High. It’s important to acknowledge those who make Milford’s unforgettable shows possible, and who provide members with the motivation and knowledge they need to perform effortlessly and possibly pursue a career in theatre. “My favorite part of the Milford Theatre Program is our hardworking directors, who always try to provide us with the best opportunities and guide us to become better performers and better people,” explained Snyder.

Matilda is a difficult, exhausting, and energy-draining musical, which is why having a  supportive cast is vital. The Milford Theatre Program consists of a positive, close-knit family of students and directors that motivate each other to perform to the best of his/her ability, and to persevere through any challenges that someone may face. “The only reason I joined [Milford Theatre Company] in the first place was to be around my friends and I ended up falling in love with everything else,” explained Antrim. “The people keep you going through it all.”