With the Philippine debut of the magical and mischievous musical Matilda fast approaching, the cast and crew have been working nonstop to bring the show to life onstage. The musical showcases an array of talented performers who are just as eager to share the show’s iconic story with the audience, one of whom is Jamie Wilson.
Jamie is a stalwart of Philippine theater and has 37 years of experience as an actor to back him up. He has made the stage his home since the age of seven, appearing in numerous critically-acclaimed productions such as Pippin, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Almost Maine, Rock of Ages, Jersey Boys: The Story Of Frankie Valli: The Four Seasons, Run For Your Wife and Kinky Boots, just to name a few.
Come November, he will be playing Miss Trunchbull, the terrifying headmistress of Crunchem Hall who gives the young students a lot of reasons to revolt. To get to know what it’s like to be part of the spellbinding production, we sat down with him for an interview.
You’ve done so much in theater, inhabited so many roles. What do you love about it?
“I started out in professional theater when I was seven years old, and have made the theater my home, not only as an actor but also immersing myself in the production and technical aspects. I have had the good fortune to work with some of best theater practitioners here, and will forever be grateful for the knowledge and wisdom I have learned and earned from them.
“This is my 38th year in Philippine theater, and I am still very much the excited little child, amazed by the magic that each production has.”
In Kinky Boots, you played an overly macho factory worker. Here you’re playing a woman! How did you get the role?
“I auditioned for the part, just like everyone else!”
What’s about Matilda the Musical that excites you in joining the cast?
“I always welcome the opportunity to be directed by Bobby Garcia; his vision and his passion for storytelling are truly phenomenal, and I would fight for the chance to belong to any world he creates. I am so excited to see how the audiences respond to our story, and how the world will recognize the new talents they will be seeing on our stage.
“I am also very excited to be playing the villain! It’s so much fun to be evil (laughs)!”
Fans of Roald Dahl’s book know Miss Trunchbull well, but how did you approach her as a character and what do you enjoy most about the role?
“Miss Trunchbull is such a unique and iconic character to play. She is explosive, vindictive, strict and uncompromising. And she is such a joy to portray. The best thing about playing Miss Trunchbull is that I get to be extremely mean to everyone, saying the harshest and most insulting things, and relishing every bit of evilness that pours out of her. It’s very liberating.”
Aside from her being a woman and the villain, how is she different from the many other characters that you’ve played before?
“Miss Trunchbull is such a well-written character, but her reasons for being the way she is aren’t given in the script, so the creation of a character like this demands a lot of research, trial and error, and laser-like focus. You cannot let your guard drop for one second, but when you get into her groove, it can be tremendously fun.”
What is it like being with the cast and crew of the Atlantis theater company?
“In every Atlantis production I’ve been, the cast and crew become a very tight family. It’s a funny dynamic in rehearsals because as Miss Trunchbull, the children have to be terrified of me, but as a fellow actor, they also need to trust me, so a delicate balance must be maintained.
“I am just over the moon that I am closely working with Cris Villonco again; sharing the stage with this woman is just such a wonderful gift. It’s difficult this time around though because I have to be so mean and cruel to her!”
How about a little teaser on what to expect this November?
“After months of preparation and rehearsals from the amazingly talented cast and creative team, I think our long hours of hard work will culminate in a magical story that will remind us all of how, deep down in our hearts, we are still children. And that the child in all of us should still be encouraged to play, to laugh, to learn and to dream.”
You can catch the talented Jamie as Miss Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical at the Meralco Theater, Ortigas Center, Pasig City from Nov. 10 to Dec. 10. Shows will be scheduled on Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Matilda the Musical is presented by Promil and Metrobank Card Corp. with the participation of media organizations like , plus Mac Graphic Carranz, Royce, Mondial Tours, Marco Polo Ortigas and Make Up For Ever.
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