By Jill Harry
In what could almost be touted as an anti-reading story time, infamous “Matilda The Musical”
book haters Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood and their son of questionable intelligence Michael made a somewhat hypocritical appearances at two Venango County libraries.
They were also
accompanied by famed bookworms and pranksters Matilda Wormwood and her best friend Lavender.
The five characters took time Saturday to read portions of Roald Dahl’s children’s book “Matilda” and answer a few questions from the small crowds of kids gathered at the Oil City and Franklin libraries.
“I can’t believe you brought me to a library. Couldn’t we just go to the movies?” said Mr. Wormwood, played by Kevin Fox.
He was the first to read, though not without complaint.
”Books are stupid. All you need is 22 minutes and some advertisements,” said the self-proclaimed lover of the telly (TV).
Mr. Wormwood also took the time to share nuggets of
“wisdom” with the giggly group sitting on the carpet - like: “Good hair… means there’s a good
strong brain underneath”; “no one ever got rich by being honest” and “When you’ve been given a fine brain like I have, you got to use it.”
While the thought of people bashing books while surrounded by hundreds of them might seem
like an odd pairing, most people at Saturday’s story time knew it was a mini publicity tour for the
Franklin Civic Operetta Association’s upcoming production of “Matilda The Musical.”
But as she proved during both events, Mrs. Wormwood isn’t most people.
“The musical is all about me – ‘Mrs. Wormwood The Musical’,” actress Brooke Lawrie said,
never breaking character.
would you take time to read a book when you could stare at the television and yourself at the
The kids confirmed that Lavender’s favorite color is purple. She also revealed a prank she may have pulled involving a newt and the dreaded principal Miss Trunchbull.
All the while, Matilda sat conservatively listening, only becoming animated during her section of reading and when asked a single question – do you have a favorite book?
“I do like this one – there’s one called ‘The Secret Garden’ … and ‘Tess of the d'Urbervilles’ … ‘Lord of the Rings’,” answered Matilda, who is played by Ella Fleeger.
But luckily for all the Matilda newbies in the crowd, there are six chances to see the story in action at the Barrow-Civic Theatre on September 30, and October 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8.
“You’ll have to come to the show to hear some more silly stories,” said show director Jill Lander.
(This is the fifth part of a series of stories that will be written about the production of “Matilda
The Musical” at the Barrow-Civic Theatre in Franklin.)
Group of the First United Methodist Church were stationed not far from the reading group.
They were diligently working to complete a 58 by 64-inch quilt featuring the bookworm, Matilda. It was being
done in connection with the musical and the library’s quilt-a-thon fundraiser.
“This was a first,” said quilter Sherry Bastecki of the collaboration.
Every year the group tries to do a quilt inspired by a children’s book, which they include in the fundraiser, but this is the first time it coincided with an Applefest show also based on a children’s book.
Once completed, the quilt will be one of two handmade items given away through the sale of
tickets that can be purchased at the library. The other is a 36 by 48-inch wall hanging version of
Jinny Beyer’s Tessellating Tabbies.
Tickets are $5 for one or $20 for 5. They can be purchased at the library during regular business
hours or at the Barrow-Civic Theatre during the show, according to Bastecki.