‘Nunsense’: Small-cast challenge reaps rewards

Clarion University’s Theatre Department presented “Nunsense” Feb. 26 through March 1.

This musical about the Little Sisters of Hoboken has an unusually small cast of five characters: Sister Mary Regina (Mother Superior), played by Maria Fazio; Sister Mary Hubert, played by Caitlin Webster; Sister Robert Anne, played by Maggie Mae McWade; Sister Mary Amnesia, played by Kiah Harrington-Wymer; and Sister Mary Leo, played by Courtney Chaplin.

The five cast members demonstrate their dancing and singing talents.
The five cast members demonstrate their dancing and singing talents.

“Being in this show I feel was different than others I was in before because there are only five of us. So we all work with each other a lot more than other shows,” said Chaplin, who is a freshman at Clarion. “You can’t hide anything on the stage with five people.”

Each cast member needed a lot of stamina to be on stage singing and dancing for almost two hours straight.

“You needed to know your character inside and out, so that if anything went wrong it could be believable as a part of the show,” said Fazio, a senior at Clarion. “Also, there were points where I literally left the stage sweating and gasping for air and had to sit down, so the energy was slim by the end of the week.”

Although a small cast made the show challenging, it also had its rewards.

“I thoroughly enjoyed being a member of the cast, and I think that us all being so close is what made the show worthwhile,” said McWade, a senior at Clarion.

This musical comedy’s complicated plot is a show within a show.

The nuns found themselves in a predicament when Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally served tainted soup that killed 52 of the sisters. The 19 remaining sisters created a successful greeting card company and got the money they needed to bury all the sisters. Then Mother Superior, thinking there was enough money left, bought a large plasma screen TV and ran out of money with four sisters left unburied. Strapped for cash, Mother Superior chooses the five most talented sisters to put on a show to raise funds to bury the remaining sisters. The show the audience sees is the one the one they are performing to raise funds.

Maggie Mae McWade and Maria Fazio act out a scene.
Maggie Mae McWade and Maria Fazio act out a scene.

First sitting down and looking at the set, one might think they went to the wrong play because the stage is set up for “Grease.” In the beginning of the show, the Sisters explain that they promised the eighth graders that they wouldn’t disturb their set.

“Nunsense was an energetic, jaw-dropping, and hilarious play that had everyone gasping or laughing for nearly the whole thing,” said freshman psychology major Chuck Roseman. “It was a such a good show; I watched it twice.”

Chaplin said cast members really go into their roles.

“Looking back we all became our characters because we all were so close to each other. If we had never became really close like nuns would be then the show would have never been what it was this week,” Chaplin said.

“I can’t be happier with how it turned out,” Webster said, “and I’m so proud and humbled to have been part of such an amazing cast and crew my senior year here at Clarion.”

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