Matilda is the story of an extraordinary little girl who, with the help of her favorite teacher, great books, and a little bit of magic, finally outwits her foes and finds what every kid longs for; a truly loving home. In this ‘David vs Goliaths’ fable, Author, Roald Dahl simultaneously satirizes adulthood through the eyes of young Matilda, while honestly capturing the longing and magic of childhood.
As our creative team approached this material, we wanted to make sure that the audience understood that everything in the show is being experienced through the eyes of a child, particularly Matilda’s.
The sets are oversized and exaggerated. The colors are exaggerated. The costumes are either brighter than real life or scarier than real life. The personalities are exaggerated. The family dysfunction is heightened…as a child would experience, which allows the redemption at the end to be even more exquisite.
The most important thing about this story is that even though Matilda is living in overwhelming and potentially crushing chaos, she is surrounded by even more powerful sentinels in her life; her teachers Mrs. Phelps and Miss Honey. These ladies introduce her to books, to imagination, to humanity, and to genuine love. They give her a sense of self. They help her recognize what is uniquely special about her.
Every time I watch this show, I remember the feelings I had as a kid when the world felt huge and scary and school was a daily survival course. I think of at least a dozen teachers in my life who were placed in my pathway, who guided me, cheered for me and helped me through some dark times. Many of those teachers were just doing what they do every day and probably don’t even know that they had an eternal impact on my life.
I really believe this is an homage to all the teachers who every day protect, defend, inspire and empower kids to discover their own unique magic they never knew they had.