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Building Matilda

Building Matilda
Doug Feinburg, Director of Technical Theater

In early March, the Dana Hall Performing Arts department produced the musical, “Matilda Jr.” Based on the book by Roald Dahl, “Matilda Jr.” is the story of an extraordinary little girl with superpowers who loves books. To escape abusive parents and a tyrannical and cruel school headmistress, Matilda uses her powers to create a new home and school for herself. Dana Hall’s tech theater students were an integral part of helping to bring the story to life on stage. Working after school during the co-curricular periods, both Upper School and Middle School students helped design, build and paint many of the show’s set pieces.
Their work began with building nine supersized children’s blocks. Students used power tools to help construct the blocks from wood, and then taped and masked them to prepare for painting. The blocks were hand-painted with all the letters of the alphabet to correspond to the lyrics of a song in the show. The actors used the blocks as chairs, benches, and other set pieces.   
For the set’s backdrop, students designed and built gigantic and brightly colored classroom objects. These included a pair of scissors, a stapler, books, a ruler, a pencil, and a clock. The objects were hand drawn and then cut from insulation foam. Then, they were brightly painted to correspond to the color scheme for the show. 
I provided design and technical direction to a team that included M. Boyne ’27, C. Chenard ’25, E. Fitch ’29, J. Huang ’24, A. Lal ’23, E. Murphy ’26, D. Ramirez ’24, B. Romualdez ’26, L. Scanlon ’30, J. Thorner ’23 and S. Zelenko ’28. "Matilda Jr." was directed by my colleague Danny Morris.
The production of “Matilda Jr.” was a hit! And the audience roared!