"Suddenly everything has magic in it again: rolling pins are telescopes, keep cup lids are tiny helmets, ottomans and beanbags are mountains to be conquered!"
Meet Laura Maitland who plays multiple fun and fabulous characters in The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker.
Describe The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker in 3 words.
MAGICAL. COURAGEOUS. OTHERWORLDY. (Harry Potter meets Walter Mitty!)
Describe your characters in 3 words.
Formidable. All-seeing. Curious.
What do you love most about them?
I’m playing multiple characters (Denise, Susannah, Pearl, Lionel), and what I love most is how they so fully represent the different hopes, fears, frustrations and anxieties of not only Wilbur – but all of us grown ups!
What does WONDER mean to you and why is it important?
Wonder is the thing that happens when we slow down, look up, and look inside ourselves. What if you slowed down next time you sang twinkle, twinkle, little star? Remember how incredible it was the first time you really wondered what that twinkling, sparkling light in the darkness really was?! Wonder is the thing that keeps us all glowing.
How do you keep wonder alive in your life?
Wonder has been in abundance in our household since our daughter was born in 2021. Suddenly everything has magic in it again: rolling pins are telescopes, keep cup lids are tiny helmets, ottomans and beanbags are mountains to be conquered! Turning our TV and phones off and being present with her has kept wonder glowing in every corner of our home.
What do you think families will love about The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker?
I love that kids will be the ones bringing their grown ups to this show! I think parents will love all the cheeky jokes and asides written just for them, and kids will love being able to remind their grown ups what it really means to wonder. I’ve dreamt about this show so many times since first reading the script – it really is one of the most uplifting, empowering, important stories I’ve read in my life, and we are SO lucky to have it playing here in Perth!
For some children this will be their first time at the theatre. What do you remember about your first time at the theatre?
My earliest memory was of seeing The Nutcracker at Christmastime, and of dancing my way around the Crown foyer with my sister after the show. That’s the magic of theatre – it infects our minds and imaginations… and even our bodies!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be everything! A doctor, a truck driver, an ice-cream taste tester, a professor, a magician! (I think that’s how I ended up acting… so I’d have a chance to try them all!)
What do you love most about being an actor?
I love… working with other actors! Often my favourite part of a show is not even the biggest scene or biggest, snazziest costume onstage - it’s just the quiet moment backstage when you help another actor with a costume change or have to stifle a giggle at a fumbled line or unexpected audience reaction. Those are the moments I live for!
The Great Un-Wondering of Wilbur Whittaker is heavily influenced by 80s music; do you have a favourite 80s song?
My sister (and favourite human) was named after Alannah Myles of Black Velvet fame, so that song’s always been one of my favourites!