School will be first in the state to perform the musical
SOUTH KINGSTOWN – You may remember “Matilda” as a favorite book or film from your childhood, but Prout Theater Company Director Vivian K. Humphrey believes this show has something for every viewer, young or old.
“This show has so much energy and life and passion,” Humphrey said. “It’s not just for children. It’s for everyone. It’s very sophisticated for what people perceive to be a children’s book.”
Throughout the performance, the show packs in powerful messages to the audience, she said, that “even if you’re little, you can do a lot.” It’s a message that’s coming to life in the world around us, Humphrey said, where children are standing up to correct injustices – from high school students in Parkland who are advocating for gun control, or Greta Thunberg, whose become the face of combating climate change.
Like these children, Matilda “sees injustice and doesn’t want to accept it,” Humphrey said.
This message strongly resonates with Prout School junior Brigid Fitzgerald, 16, of North Kingstown, who’ll be playing the lead role of Matilda – “a precocious 5-year-old girl with the gift of telekinesis, who loves reading, overcomes obstacles caused by her family and school, and helps her teacher to reclaim her life.” In a few short weeks, Fitzgerald will be bringing the role of Matilda, one of her favorite childhood book and film characters, to life.
Even though it’s a story she loved as a child, she agrees with Humphrey that the show offers something to every audience member.
“The moral of standing up for what you believe in can apply to everyone from 6 years old to 90 years old,” Fitzgerald said.
Playing the role of her teacher, Miss Jennifer Honey, will be Prout School senior Sydney Householder, 17, of North Kingstown, who’s excited to play the part of a “gentle and nurturing” character who is also great with children.
Householder said she sees some similarities between herself and the part of Miss Honey and regards her as someone she wants to be like. To help herself get into character, though, Householder said she thinks of her own mother.
“She was always really gentle and loving with me, and she always supported me,” Householder said. “By the end, when Miss Honey really learns to support Matilda, I kind of think of my mom.”
Like Fitzgerald, Householder was also a huge fan of the book as a child. She hopes that people come out to the show so that they can be surprised by the performance.
“The music is absolutely beautiful and it’s not what you’d expect at all,” Householder said. “If you want to be surprised, definitely come. It’s unorthodox. I like it a lot.”
Playing the lead villains of the show are senior Sam Eaton, 17, of Westerly, and junior Katia Konopelko, 16, of Narragansett. Unlike Eaton, who’s been heavily involved with the Prout Theater Company since his freshman year, this will be Konopelko’s first theater performance at Prout.
Playing the role of Miss Agatha Trunchbull, the cruel headmistress at Crunchem Hall Primary School, Konopelko said she’s excited to have a bit of free reign with such a wild character.
“It’s so much fun to play because everything is so exaggerated,” Konopelko said. “You get to be the one person you would always be afraid of, so it’s kind of cool.”
As a child, Konopelko was a huge fan of the book, film and musical theater in general.
“I was obsessed with Danny DeVito at one point, so that was my favorite movie,” she recalled with a laugh.
She’d been heavily involved with theater before coming to Prout but took advantage of all high school had to offer her freshman and sophomore years, and took the opportunity to branch out into different activities and interests.
“This year I kind of just went back to my roots and reconnected with my love of musical theater and choir,” she said.
Eaton, who will be playing the part of Matilda’s father, Mr. Harry Wormwood, said he was drawn to the character because of his strong comedic element.
“The stuff he says is hilarious, and I love doing that kind of stuff,” Eaton said. “Being this guy who’s very different than myself is a whole lot of fun to play.”
Eaton promises the performance will not only make theater-goers laugh and cry but that it will send them home with a sense of joy.
“It’ll be way more than they expect,” he said.
Since Roald Dahl’s “Matilda the Musical” was just recently released to amateurs for the first time, according to Humphrey, the Prout School will become the first high school in the state of Rhode Island to perform it.
Opening night will be Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. The Prout Theater Group will also put on another performance the following night and a Sunday afternoon show on Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased at the door or ahead of time online. Student and senior citizen rates are $8 and $15 for all other adults.