While all the three lead child performers (Esang de Torres, Uma Martin and Felicity Napuli) of Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group’s “Matilda The Musical” are getting most of the raves, the big bad antagonist of the family musical is getting more than his fair share of attention.
It’s no surprise that some of the acclaimed production’s biggest moments literally belong to seasoned theater actor Jamie Wilson. As Miss Agatha Trunchbull, the terrifying headmistress of Crunchem Hall primary school that regards children as “maggots,” Jamie loomed larger-than-life, stealing just about every scene he’s in with menacing gusto.
Jamie particularly stood out in two key numbers. There was “The Hammer” in Act 1 which establishes how Miss Trunchbull ruled the school with an iron hand. And then there was the show-stopping, “The Smell of Rebellion” in Act 2 when Trunchbull started to sense some resistance to her authority from Matilda and the other kids.
By the time of the musical’s curtain call, Jamie drew the loudest cheers from the audience second only to whoever among Esang, Uma and Felicity is playing Matilda.
And why wouldn’t he?
“I am the biggest bully here,” Jamie told InterAksyon in a recent interview. “Seriously, I always welcome roles that requires me to transform. So when you see Miss Trunchbull, you won’t see a hint of Jamie.”
Now with over 37 years of experience as an actor which included memorable performances in acclaimed productions like “Cabaret,” “The Full Monty,” “Rock of Ages,” “The Addams Family,” and most recently, “Kinky Boots,” Jamie has come to his own that people now tend to forget that he comes from a family of entertainers, his father being actor-politician Johnny Wilson and his sister being equally acclaimed thespian Monique Wilson.
Not too many are also aware that among Jamie’s mentors at Repertory Philippines were no less than Philippine theater icons Zenaida Amador, Baby Barredo and Joy Virata.
His occasional forays on the big screen have also yielded a Gawad Urian nomination in 2005 for his performance as the underappreciated yet equally shady son of a mobster in Mario Cornejo’s indie comedy, “Big Time.”
One of the hardest working players in the Philippine theater industry, Jamie is not just an actor who gives everything he’s got in every performance. He also wears many other hats and is equally well-versed in the technical aspects of a given production. When he’s not performing, Jamie is quietly doing his work behind the scenes to make sure that every show he’s involved with goes well.
“It’s a lot of fun working with Jamie,” quipped fellow “Matilda” cast member Cris Villonco who plays the sweet and caring teacher, Miss Honey. “We worked in a lot of shows together. It’s nice to be with somebody you know well. You don’t have to do anything, you just react with whatever is happening at that moment, at that point.”
Jamie, who will make his directorial debut for Repertory Philippines next year with “Arsenic and Old Lace” says the key to making any show work is casting.
“Casting is like winning half the battle. When you put amazing and intelligent people in the proper roles, half the work is done,” he noted.
Speaking of being cast in the proper role, Jamie was asked how he feels about taking on another iconic role, that of Edna Turnblad in a future staging of “Hairspray.”
“God, I would love to do that. That would be a lot of fun, Like I said, any role that would require me to transform, I’m all for it,” went his emphatic response.
Directed by Bobby Garcia, with choreography by Cecile Martinez, “Matilda The Musical” is based on the chilren’s novel by Roald Dahl. The show also features Joaquin Valdes, Carla Guevara-Laforteza, Emeline Celis-Guinid, Nel Gomez and Bibo Reyes. The show will run at Meralco Theater every Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until December 10.
Tickets ranging from P1,500 to P4,000 are now available at Ticketworld (call 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph). For more information, visit http://atlantistheatrical.com/faq.