The musical "Matilda," based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name, is about a very bright young girl with very crude parents.
Matilda is sent to a school led by an incredibly strict and overbearing headmistress named Miss Trunchbull.
In the book, Miss Trunchbull is described as "more like an eccentric and rather bloodthirsty follower of the stag-hounds than the headmistress of a nice school for children."
On stage, the role of Miss Trunchbull is often played by a man, as it is in its current iteration at the Ahmanson Theatre.
Actor Bryce Ryness sat down with Take Two host Alex Cohen to talk about taking on the role of Miss Trunchbull.
On how he transforms for the role:
At this point, it's a bit like, 'Alright I'm getting ready for work now!' Which is, putting on foundation, and then drawing in age lines, darkening around the eyes. There's a stippling sponge, which I can put broken capillaries on my cheekbones. Oh yeah, it's gross. There are nicotine stains that I put on my teeth. No one sees it like, through a microscope, but the eye does catch it. And when I go to smile, and you don't see white teeth, you're like, 'Something's untrustworthy about that person.'
On whether he plays the character as a woman or as a guy playing a woman:
I had a few different conversations with Matthew Warchus, the director, about this. And Matthew's hope and thrust with the character was that I'm not a man trying to play a woman, that I'm just me. And then the costume and the wig and the fact that everyone refers to her as a 'miss' the audience gets to fill in the blanks on that... I like to try to hit exactly in the center between the male and the female.
On how his kids have responded to seeing him in the role:
They're hip to the jive now that dad puts on funny costumes and goes to work. One of the last gigs that I did was 'Peter Pan Live' on NBC and so I was dressed as a pirate and 'Dad's a pirate today!' And a few months later he's a headmistress of a school! So they're still of the age where they can see dad going to work and regard it as silliness... So they weren't particularly scarred for life by my performance. (laughs) The youngest one, Cora, hasn't seen it yet. She's a little young, and a little squirmy for a two hour and 35 minute show.
"Matilda The Musical" is playing through July 12th at the Centre Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre.