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Matilda: Unseen Practice Before Perfection

Zachary High’s annual musical was a smashing success! Matilda was expertly crafted, from the perfect portrayal of characters by the cast, to the hard work and commitment of the crew. Read about the “behind the scenes” of the production of this masterpiece!

Matilda was fantastic to watch in person! I was blown away by the talented cast, and the crew’s production was seemingly flawless. But those effortless transitions of set pieces, graceful dance moves, and excellent depictions of characters actually took hours and hours of hard work to master.

Stage manager, Patricia (Patty) Lunsford (11), worked tirelessly to make sure each play ran smoothly. Acting as almost a second director, Lunsford kept the cast and crew on schedule, miked actors, oversaw the transitioning of set pieces on and off stage, and so much more! 

Despite the exhausting rehearsals and frustrating obstacles that Lunsford had to overcome during production, she would do it all over again in a heartbeat! Seeing audiences enjoy the show, especially the elementary schools who come to watch, makes all of Lunsford’s hard work worthwhile. 

“… you can see [the little kids] laughing, and I love just like the finished product. After all is said and done, after the late nights of us rehearsing, or doing the transitions over and over again, it’s like the best part,” Lunsford (11) said. 

She learned everything she knows about stage management from last year’s stage manager, Kaitlyn Dorsey. Each year, the upperclassmen teach down to the underclassmen, and Lunsford’s experience has been no different. 

“…last year’s stage manager (Kaitlyn Dorsey), she kind of taught me everything… now I also teach underclassmen at like how to mike people and stuff like that. So, it’s kind of passed down every year,” Lunsford (11) said. 

Matilda, or any Zachary High production for that matter, would not be possible without stagehands like Alexa McKey (9). Alexa, along with her fellow stagehands, rushes on stage in between scenes to move set pieces, transforming the stage into a completely new setting in just a few seconds. Hauling heavy furniture and platforms on and off stage, while trying to be completely silent, is of course stressful. 

“The most difficult part is… just moving these huge set pieces that need a lot of direction, while also not causing a distraction,” McKey (9) said, “… if you mess up, everybody does.” 

Though the team of stagehands makes it look effortless, changing scenes is incredibly tiresome and even dangerous sometimes. Alexa broke her toe during rehearsals when she dropped a stool on her foot. 

The ensemble, to no one’s surprise, sang beautifully, and their choreography added both humor and dimension to the story at times.  

Ironically, Mya Hays (11), a member of the ensemble, felt that the choreography was the most difficult for the cast to master. 

“…we learn[ed] the choreo, and then we kind of like [left] it and [came] back to it, and we [were] like, ‘Oh this is not cute!’” Hays (11) said, with a laugh, “But now, everyone has the choreo down, and it’s pretty good.” 

Singing and dancing up and down a stage for a total of eleven shows could take a toll on anyone. But the cast stayed energized throughout by drinking energy drinks, warming up before the shows, and even taking naps on set, according to Mya. 

Every cast member was phenomenal. Grace Noel (9) was perfect for her role as Matilda. The second she started singing I was amazed; her voice was angelic and perfectly on pitch. Her portrayal of Matilda reminded me of the original character from the 1996 movie. She was innocent and bright, just as the role entailed. 

Brennan Bankston (12) and Andre’a Condol (12) were hilarious as Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood. Both had their characters’ mannerisms and personalities down to a T. Andre’a made me, and the room of second graders I watched the show with, burst into laughter as she strutted across the stage exactly how Mrs. Wormwood would. Brennan had one of the best fake British accents I’ve ever seen, and his delivery and comedic touches would make Danny Devito proud. 

Lauren Capello (12) was made for the role of Miss Trunchbull. Lauren’s method of raising her voice to a shrill pitch and stomping across stage was identical to the original character. The way she delivered her lines reminded me so much of The Trunchbull, and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. 

When asked about her castmates, Hays (11) said, “Oh my God! Amelia, the one who plays Miss Honey, [is] going to be on Broadway, I already know it. Her voice is incredible.” 

And I couldn’t agree more! Amelia Dupre’s (10) vocals were strong, yet melodic. Her acting was even more impressive! She expertly portrayed Miss Honey’s nervousness and character development. 

Though the cast faced their fair share of difficulties, they maintained a positive attitude throughout production. 

“…something crashes backstage, Brennan’s wig falls off, the door falls over, there’s no book on the bookshelf… [it’s all] just a bunch of little things that can go wrong that just make it silly and new every time,” Dupre (10) said. 

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About the Contributor
Maddy Snyder
Maddy Snyder, Online News Co-Editor-in Chief
Maddy Snyder (11) is co-Editor-in-Chief of The Hoofprint Online. As a freshman, she noticed the school didn't have a newspaper anymore, so in her sophomore year, she created The Hoofprint Online with the help of Alyvia Pierson and Laila Sanders. Maddy plans to grow the newspaper over the course of her high school career, creating something that will outlive her time at Zachary High. Outside of school, Maddy enjoys swimming, reading, shopping, and hanging out with her friends. She aspires to one day write as a foreign correspondent.
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