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    THE Bangalore School of Speech and Drama (BSSD), stages the classic, Marvellous Matilda, based on Roald Dahl’s novel, Matilda. In Dahl’s novel, the five-year-old genius is berated by her parents for reading too many books, and told to watch TV. At school, she constantly witnesses headmistress Miss Trunchbull pushing students around, and not even sparing Miss Honey, her class teacher who exudes warmth. “Matilda stands up to bullies in her life and that is something kids and adults can take away from this play,” shares the director of the play and founder of BSSD, Zulfiya Shaikh, revealing that it is part the school’s anti-bullying campaign.
    Essentially a comedy with serious themes, the plot shifts between Matilda’s home, her school and her favourite space, the library. The sets are designed to supplement the plot rather than be a significant part of it. “The sets are believable and minimalistic, meant to facilitate the story. Since there are lots of set changes, we’ve tried our best to not clutter the stage and not make it jarring for the audience.” Shaikh tells us.
    The 80-member strong cast (aged between five and 19) is led by 10-year old Kiara Pinto of Frank Anthony Public School, who plays Matilda and Miss Honey is portrayed by sixteen-year-old Giorgia Valenti of Bangalore International School. While not exactly a musical, as there is no live band, it will feature seven songs from the original, including the aggressive Revolting Children, to the dreamy When I Grow Up.
    Shaikh also promises an element of magic, which is sure to keep the audience amused. “Matilda has the power of telekinesis and it was a bit challenging. But with a little help from technology and creativity, anything is possible,” she laughs.
    Designed by Shaikh herself, the costumes are authentic, reflecting the fashion of the 1980s. “From a bow on a child’s head to the colour of their socks, I have worked to make it believable,” she shares, adding, “Theatre is a two-way process. The audience follows the story as actively as you narrate it.”
    June 12 at 7.30 pm, June 13 at 11 am and 7.30 pm. At Chowdaiah Memorial Hall. Tickets (`250 up) on bookmyshow.com —Rashmi Rajagopal & Chethana Vasudev

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