“This show is not about us, it's about them,” says Cris Villonco about giving the spotlight to the child performers of Matilda The Musical.
The 34-year-old theater actress considers working with children in the Philippine adaptation of Matilda as a learning opportunity for her and her fellow thespians.
Matilda The Musical revolves around a young girl named Matilda who has telekinesis or the ability to move objects with her mind.
“We're learning more from them,” said Cris who will play Matilda's teacher named Miss Honey.
“You know, the way they are, the way they handle themselves, the way they project themselves, the way they know the music and their lines, nakaka-engganyo.
“Nakakahiya minsan kasi, like me, I come in and okay, this is what I'm going to do this time, at this moment, at this scene.
“But them, they know everything. They even know our scenes and our lines! So, we learn from them.”
The titular role will be alternately played by Esang de Torres, Felicity Kyle Napuli, and Uma Naomi Martin.
Cris observed the discipline showed by these kids during rehearsals.
She pointed out, “These kids go to school.
“We work at night then we wake up and have time to go and rehearse.
“These children wake up at 6:00 a.m., go to school, rehearse and then, go to home.
“So, that discipline alone that these children have to go through—doing a show and making sure that their grades do not go lower than a certain grade—that's something.
“It's really nice to watch them.”
Cris was interviewed by PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other reporters during the press conference of Matilda, which will be staged at the Meralco Theater in Ortigas Pasig from November 10 to December 10, 2017.
EMPOWERING CHILDREN. Through Matilda The Musical, Cris hopes to raise awareness about bullying among children.
She said, “You know, I think every child in school, every kid will feel a little different.
“Maybe some will be bullied more than the others. Some children will be made fun of more than others. Some might feel alone. Some might feel isolated or feel different.
“I think this show will empower the children, most especially in that aspect, that you're never alone, someone is going to be there.
“I mean, it's Matilda who pushes Miss Honey to be stronger.
“Who knew that a little child could do that? So, I think it's still important, it's still relevant.”
Cris stressed, “Bullying is a big issue. I think that the children are going to learn a lot from that aspect alone.
“So, you'll get to see kids being bullies, adults being bullies, and how these children handle the bullies in situations.
“I hope it empowers the children as well.”
The Manila staging of Matilda also features Jamie Wilson as Miss Trunchbill, Joaquin Valdes as Mr. Wormwood, Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Mrs. Wormwood, Emeline Celis-Guinid as Mrs. Phelps, Nel Gomez as Michael Wormwood, and Bibo Reyes as Rudolpho.
Directed by Bobby Garcia, Atlantis Theatrical's Matilda The Musical will be staged at the Meralco Theater in Ortigas, Pasig City, from November 10 to December 10, 2017.
Tickets ranging from P1,500 to P4,000 are now available at Ticketworld.