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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (June 27, 2019)
THURSDAY, JUNE 27, 2019 // 9
From left: Brittania Williams, Sue Neuer
and Heidi Hoffman practice the opening
number in the musical “Nunsense.”
‘Humanity within the divinity’
Although Catholicism influences the
musical’s setting, religion is not a cen-
When it does surface, Hull and Bow-
man said, the approach to it is neither
preachy or overbearing nor irreverent or
disrespectful. Rather, the central themes
highlight various facets of the human
condition, such as conflict and resolu-
tion, the interplay between vastly dif-
ferent personalities and the occasional
tension between personal goals and
The show also explores the ways in
which these devout nuns are, at the end
of the day, still human.
“It’s really humanity within the divin-
ity,” Davis said.
Hull agreed, adding faith and spiritu-
ality merely influence the “circumstance
through which you get to see into each of
Bowman has a special relationship
with “Nunsense,” as seeing the show was
his first community theater experience.
Directing the musical was coming
“full circle,” he said.
His goal throughout the process was
primarily to have fun with the actors, but
also to teach them something they didn’t
know, whether that be theater terminol-
ogy, stage directions or a new skill.
Through collaboration, the crew –
which includes music director Darren
Hull, choreographer Marco Davis and
stage manager Heather Spivey – devel-
oped a show full of heart.
The benefit at the high school the sis-
ters are throwing “is coming from a place
of love and hope and desperation,” Bow-
A thrilling alternative
In contrast to the peppy and occasion-
ally bawdy “Nunsense,” director Mick
Alderman left the dark, detestable traits
of each character raw and unvarnished
for “And Then There Were None.”
A scene from “And Then There Were None.”
The show starts with 10 strangers,
each bearing a deep secret and troubled
past, being summoned to a remote island.
As inclement weather prevents them
from returning to the mainland, they
begin getting murdered one by one
according to lines of a sinister nursery
Originally, Alderman’s familiarity
with the production as he had seen it per-
formed previously caused him to forget
“all the horrible things these characters
had done,” as they generally are glossed
A common style now, Alderman
added, is to stage Agatha Christie plays
in a fluffy, almost lighthearted way.
Although Christie’s plays don’t bear
close scrutiny because of their absurd
premises, Alderman said she certainly
made this show in particular “as dark as
she could and put a whole lot of clues
throughout the dialogue and stage direc-
tions as to how she wants these charac-
ters to be played.”
Those directions sparked his interest
to do the show “more in the tone that I
think Dame Agatha intended,” he said.
“I thought, ‘I want to emphasize those
darker aspects.’” CW
From left: Cast members of “Nunsense” include Sue Neuer as Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress
of Novices; Cameron Lira as Sister Mary Amnesia; Heidi Hoffman as Sister Mary Regina, or
Mother Superior; Ann Bronson as Sister Robert Anne; and Brittania Williams as Sister Mary Leo.