Renee Maloney takes you behind the scenes of Phoenix Theatre Company’s Nunsense 2
After our successful season of Nunsense last year, the nuns are back to cause havoc in Nunsense 2. The entire original cast is currently rehearsing for another knock out show coming to the Doncaster Playhouse.
Nunsense II: The Second Coming takes place six weeks after the sisters have staged their first benefit. The sisters are back presenting a "thank-you" show for all the people who supported them in the past. But now, they’re a bit slicker, having been "bitten by the theater bug." Things get to off to a rousing start as the sisters sing Nunsense, the Magic Word, but before long chaos erupts. Two Franciscans come to claim Sister Mary Amnesia (who has won the Publishers? Clearing House Sweepstakes) as one of their own. At the same time the nuns hear that a talent scout is in the audience to see them strut their stuff. From the riotous bingo game run by Sister Amnesia to the hilarious duet, What Would Elvis Do?, to the rousing finale, There’s Only One Way to End Your Prayers and That’s to Say Amen!, this show will have you rolling in the aisles!
We began rehearsals in June to begin construction on this fabulously funny nunny musical. Preceding the commencement of rehearsals we went through the usual process of arranging the team and allocation of tasks. Directing team – check, cast – check, costumes – check! Many of these things simply just rolled over into the sequel.
The set design was probably the most daunting of tasks. The show is set at the Mount Saint Helen’s school and like last time the 8th graders are putting on a show. Last time “Grease”, this time the popular Japanese hit “The Mikado”. Brenton Van Vliet decided to try his hand at set design. He says “The set has been quite an evolutionary process. Luckily for us, the script has a simple design included already, so we knew what elements we needed. It was then just a matter of creating a design that incorporated all the elements but would still fit into the Doncaster Playhouse. Painting the set has been a huge undertaking as this is my first time at scenic artwork, but it has paid off”.
The show follows a really simple formula making the show comparable to the first installment. Dan Goggin really has been able to captivate the essence of the relationships of these five sisters. We really begin to see how they interact with each other and the true personalities come out.
Overall, the trials and tribulations of the theatrical process have been quite minimal. Having all worked together before, playing the same roles, in a similar show, enabled Craig and I as directors to really extend their characters to the next level. The cast came in as their characters to the first rehearsals ready to participate in this little benefit for the Sisters of Hoboken. This really enabled the process to flow nicely and everything snowballed from their gaining excellent momentum (especially in comic timing).
Many people ask “If I haven’t seen the first one, will I still know what’s going on?” the answer, is absolutely the sisters have prepared a little number to bring the audience up to speed on the circumstances of the order.
Along the course of the production – and to assist with character development – I asked the Sisters two questions. How would you describe your character? And how is your character similar to you?
Victoria Zainal – “Lent’s Over – Roll back the rock and live”
“I think we both appear very harsh on the outside, but we’re really quite soft centered – like a Caramello koala”
Dot Parker – “Devoted to God but still a Star in the Circus”
“The fact that reverend mother loved to have been a Diva but because she chose to do something else in her life and had I not have had the commitment to my family for many many years with children and a sick husband I would have loved to have taken my theatrical career further”.
Katie Packer – “Um….I forgot”
“She is very sweet and a little bit forgetful and I’ve been told, when describing the character to my friends, they say Oh that’s like you”.
Natalie Silsbury – “A comedian with a heart of gold”
“Robert Anne likes draw attention to herself but making fun of other people and I do that as well’
Carla Zerbi – “A Prima Ballerina”
“I have unfortunately been told that the similarities been myself and Sister Mary Leo is innocence and naivety”.
Nunsense 2 Opens this Friday night at the Doncaster Playhouse and runs until the 20th November
Book online at www.phoenixtheatrecompany.org or on 9012 5897