Sometimes you read a book or watch a movie that is so chock-full of hyperbole you just roll your eyes and lean into it for entertainment value. Sometimes that very same book or movie magically transforms before your very eyes into the truest representation of life you have ever seen. Roald Dahl’s (1988) novel, Matilda did that, with its captivating story about a young girl who encounters injustice with adults in her life at home and school with bravery, intelligence, and creativity. And in our household anyway, the latest iteration of Matilda in musical form directed by Matthew Warchus (from a screenplay written by Dennis Kelly featuring song/lyrics by Tim Minchin) did it again, with a catchy set of musical numbers that had us singing for weeks. I had the privilege of sitting down with two third graders who love the movie, Elizabeth Bensler and Alianna Rust, as well as their very own Dr. Egger, Head of Lower School to discuss what the musical might teach us about parenting, schooling, and growing up:
3:12-6:16: Meet our guests, and learn which one most closely related to the terrifying character of Mrs. Trunchbull!
6:51-10:00: What is up with the dynamic between Matilda and her parents?
10:29-12:45: What St. Andrew’s has in common with the terrifying Cruncham Elementary; (related sidenote: we need a statue of Dr. Egger in the front of the school).
13:15-17:10: What all of us think about growing up: from the perspective of sweet Bev Egger, to our third graders, to Dr. Egger and me; the pros/cons of having control but also having responsibility.
17:40-20:48: We have a delightful time comparing Mrs. Trunchbull to Dr. Egger; spoiler alert: they have like nothing in common!
21:10- 25:07: We gush with love for the character Miss Honey, and not just because she’s a nice teacher; because she’s got some solid skills. Also Elizabeth and Alianna dish on which of their teachers most remind them of Miss Honey.
25:45-30:44: We explore the premise of the lyric “sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty”; interestingly sibling relationships come up quite a few times.
30:58-33:50- We close out with our favorite scenes from the show, featuring circus-school, throwing hammers, dancing on top of desks, and floating above the clouds.