Blog By: Sydney Moody (Marketing Intern)
Photos By: K. Talley Photography
Roald Dahl’s MATILDA is an extremely famous tale of a young girl with power of friendship and her gifts guiding her through the obstacles in life that are caused by the atrocious Phys-Ed teacher Miss Trunchbull and her unloving parents. Along the way, she makes some friends, helps out the caring, yet timid, teacher Miss Honey, and discovers a treasure in herself. In honor of Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma performing MATILDA, we dove into some interviews and let our wonderful cast members and tech crew tell their story! We will begin our week’s worth of blogs and excitement with Matthew Alvin Brown, who plays the role of Miss Trunchbull.
Since Miss Trunchbull’s character is very loud, confident, and terrifying, we were curious if our amazing actor had any of those characteristics or if it’s all show biz. “How many shows have you been in with Lyric? What has been your favorite show? Since you have been with the company for so long, have you gotten more comfortable or are you timid?”
Brown: “This is my 57th show with Lyric Theatre. My first show was PETER PAN in 1994! FROST/NIXON has been my favorite show experience so far. All of my best friends were in that show, and we really captured lighting in a bottle. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed some anxiety that I didn’t have when I was a kid. So, I’m pretty nervous when it comes to performing. That’s why I love rehearsal. I REALLY like to know what I’m doing. But, I’m always pretty wound up. Timid isn’t really in my wheelhouse.”
As Matilda gets involved in mischief and trouble, we thought we might ask Brown how he wound up teaching the children Phys-Ed, as well as how he got involved in theatre in general.
Brown: “I got involved in theatre because I loved it from the moment I saw my first show: CHARLOTTE’S WEB, probably at Oklahoma Children’s Theatre in the early 1980s. There was never a question of what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was a loud class clown when I was in school. Theatre was a way to channel that energy.”
Miss Honey and Matilda share an emotional moment in the show, and we wondered if our cast member has felt a similar emotion. We asked Brown what has been the craziest/most emotional memory or moment he could recall from theatre?
Brown: “Every show is emotional. You build these intense relationships and live in that reality for the rest of the run. And then it’s over. That’s always a little sad. But, it’s always fun when someone has to go into a role with very little notice. That’s always a crazy, all-hands-on-deck experience. That happened to me one Christmas Eve when Scrooge fell ill. I was making cookies with my mom and the call came in that I would be playing the role in just a few hours. That was a wild experience, but so thrilling. There are tons more crazy experiences, but…those are for another time.”
Many life circumstances impacts Matilda and how she handles each situation, whether it’s with kindness or with mischief. We asked Brown how has theatre impacted his life?
Brown: “Theatre has impacted my life in every possible way. My happiest memories are from doing shows with incredible artists from all over. I met my wife working in theatre. Theatre is my whole life. It has helped me become a more empathetic, caring, open-minded human.”
To wrap up each interview, we decided that it would be fun to ask a very simple yet complex question to allow each individual to share their wisdom: “Any tips or advice you would like to give people in the theatre industry or trying to get into the theatre industry?”
Brown: ”My advice: If you love it, don’t let anything stop you from doing it. Stick with it. Stay for the long haul. Never quit. Work hard. Have fun. Be brilliant. Be kind. Life is chaos. Be kind.”
MATILDA will be presented at the Civic Center Music Hall – with two actresses rotating in the lead role – June 21-26th. Bring your family and come enjoy a wonderful show that will leave your hearts warm and your courage high!