Reader’s Theater Presents: Matilda
Use expression, intonation, and inflection while reading aloud to depict the character’s actions. No need to use props, costumes, or sets. Let Matilda come to life in!
GENRE: Humor, Narrative
THEMES: Bullying, Good vs. Evil, Education
READER AGES: 8 and up
LENGTH: 5 minutes
CHARACTERS: Narrator, Announcer, The Trunchbull, Cook, Bruce, Matilda, Lavender, Student 1, Student 2, Student 3
NARRATOR: After lunch, the children of Crunchem Hall heard the following announcement:
ANNOUNCER: Everyone should come to the Assembly Hall and be seated as soon as lunch is over.
NARRATOR: The Trunchbull, the school’s giant and vicious headmistress, marched to the center of the stage with a riding crop in her hand.
THE TRUNCHBULL: Bruce Bogtrotter! Come up here and be smart about it!
NARRATOR: An eleven-year-old boy stood up and waddled briskly to the platform. He looked terrified.
THE TRUNCHBULL: This thief, this pirate, this brigand, this rustler sneaked like a serpent into the kitchen and stole a slice of my private chocolate cake from my tea tray!
BRUCE: No, I didn’t!
THE TRUNCHBULL: Liar! Cook saw you eat it! Cook, come here! Bruce Bogtrotter wishes to tell you how good your chocolate cake is!
NARRATOR:The cook, a tall, skinny woman, walked onto the platform wearing a dirty apron.
THE TRUNCHBULL: Cook, Bruce Bogtrotter simply adores your cake. Do you have any more cake to give him?
COOK (mechanically, as if rehearsed): I do, indeed.
NARRATOR:The cook disappeared and returned with an absolutely enormous chocolate cake on a china platter.
THE TRUNCHBULL: Sit down, Bogtrotter. Since you enjoyed the slice you ate so much, I ordered cook to bake an extra large cake all for you. So why don’t you cut a nice, thick slice?
NARRATOR: All the children in the hall were waiting for something to happen. They started whispering.
STUDENT 1: The Trunchbull would never give someone a cake out of kindness.
STUDENT 2: Maybe it’s filled with pepper! Or caster oil!
STUDENT 3: Or maybe it’s booby-trapped and it’ll blow up and take Bruce with it!
BRUCE: I don’t want to eat it.
THE TRUNCHBULL: Eat it, you little brat!You wanted cake and you’re going to eat it! Nobody leaves this hall until you have eaten the entire cake! Do you understand?
NARRATOR: Bruce knew there was no way to get out of this mess other than eating his way out of it, so he took a tentative bite. And another. And another.
LAVENDER: No. It’s impossible. He’ll be sick before he’s halfway through.
NARRATOR: Instead of slowing down as he ate, Bruce seemed to gain confidence. He ate a second slice—and a third—and suddenly, he had eaten half the cake!The students were watching and willing him to continue.
STUDENT 1: Come on, Brucie! You can make it!
THE TRUNCHBULL: Silence!!!
MATILDA (whispering): I think he’s going to make it!
LAVENDER: I think so, too! I wouldn’t have believed anyone in the world could eat a cake that size!
MATILDA: The Trunchbull doesn’t believe it either. She’s turning redder and redder. She’s going to be furious if he wins.
NARRATOR: Like a long distance runner who sees the finish line, Bruce kept going and going, and when he finished the last mouthful, the students leapt to their chairs, yelling and clapping and shouting.
STUDENT 1: Well done, Brucie!
STUDENT 2: Good for you, Brucie!
STUDENT 3:You’ve won a gold medal, Brucie!
NARRATOR: The Trunchbull stood motionless, her eyes glittering with fury. She glared at Bruce, who was too full to move or speak or do anything but sit there with a grin of triumph on his face. Suddenly, she lunged forward and grabbed the gi-ant china platter that the cake had rested upon.
NARRATOR (continues): She raised the platter in the air and brought it down right on top of Bruce’s head.There was a spectacular crash, and the pieces flew all over the stage, but Bruce just shook his head a few times and kept on grinning.
THE TRUNCHBULL: Go to blazes!
NARRATOR: With that scream of anger, the Trunchbull and the cook left the stage. Bruce Bogtrotter had won!
Reader’sTheater Extension: Using this script as a model, have students write a
Reader’s Theater from another chapter in the book.