“Even if you’re little, you can do a lot. You mustn’t let a little thing like ‘little’ stop you.”
Those are some of the lyrics to the song Naughty in Matilda the Musical, and Cameron Catalfamo who plays the lead role in the upcoming production of the Roald Dahl story is living by those words.
The show is being presented by Chilliwack School of Performing Arts (CSOPA) from Jan. 15 to Jan. 26 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
The musical tells the story of five-year-old Matilda, a small, intelligent girl who lives in a house where her parents Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood despise her, and goes to school where she’s taught under her wretched teacher Miss Agatha Trunchbull.
“Matilda’s family is very anti-learning, anti-books and very pro-television,” director Lisa Braun said.
Despite Matilda’s small size and her being bullied by the people who are supposed to encourage her, she realizes she has big powers which she uses to her advantage to better her personal life and school life.
Matilda creates her world, her path and her life on her own and she’s only five years old, Braun said. The story is about a “very tiny human overcoming a great lot of things.”
“Cameron is a lot like Matilda, she has a very strong natural work ethic. She really does like reading, she has a lot to say,” Braun said about the 10-year-old actor.
Cameron, who has been with CSOPA for five years, has been working non-stop to perfect her character. She’s even learned some Russian.
Graysen Braun, 16, also has a huge role in the play. He plays Miss Agatha Trunchbull, Matilda’s evil teacher who refers to her pupils as “maggots.”
“She tries to give them discipline while also trying to be a lady at the same time which has some funny outcomes to the scenes,” Graysen said of Trunchbull.
She’s everything you shouldn’t be as a teacher. Trunchbull’s belief is “to teach the child, we must first break the child,” Braun added.
The book Matilda was written by Roald Dahl in 1988. The movie came out in 1996, followed by the musical in 2010.
The musical is much more light-hearted and silly than the book. There are lots of lovely moments to counterbalance the scenes of tension, like the Wormwoods who are a laugh a second and Mrs. Phelps the librarian who is great comedic relief.
With functioning swings used in a playground scene, plus a lot of magic tricks and circus acts, the play is technically difficult, the director adds. Fortunately, CSOPA was gifted many props such as books, paintings and scooters, from the Vancouver Arts Club following their production of Matilda last year.
“I think as adults sometimes we forget how scary the world can appear to children,” Braun said.
But Matilda is the eye of the storm in a tornado circling around her.
“What it comes down to, is good will triumph over evil if you believe it will.”
CSOPA presents Matilda the Musical from Jan. 15 to Jan. 26 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Previews: Jan. 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. Show times: Jan. 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets: $24.30/adult and $20.30 for students/seniors; preview (Jan. 15 and 16 only) $13.30. Ticket’s available at the Centre Box Office, online at chilliwackculturalcentre.ca, or by phone at 604-391-SHOW(7469).