Driftwood Players

"Nunsense" Sept. - Oct. 2003

By Dan Goggin, Directed by Bob Neisinger

Choreographer Sandee Denn


Angela McFadden: (Sr. Mary Leo) Patty Sundstrom: (Sr. Mary Amnesia) Kathe Rowe: (Mother Superior, Sr. Mary Regina) Monica Ewing: (Sr. Robert Anne) Debbie Scoones: (Sr. Mary Hubert)

Debbie Scoones

Angela McFadden

Kathe Rowe

Monica Ewing


Patty Sundstrom

The Musicians:

Rachel Han: (Synthesizer)

Andy Hall: (Alto/Sop Saxophones)

Roberta Cleland: (Piano)

Bobby Laval: (Percussion)




From the Daily World Thursday, September 25, 2003

Driftwood's 'Nunsense' is habit-forming
By Jeff Burlingame
A jukebox aglow with neon lights.
Bar stools, a bar and basketball hoop. Life-sized cardboard cutouts of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.
This is the set for a play about nuns?
Well, Monroe's cleavage-revealing likeness was covered with a black cloth. But that's precisely where the holy goodness stopped during Saturday night's opening performance of the Driftwood Players' "Nunsense.
Despite the best attempts of Mother Superior Mary Regina (played by award-winning actress Kathe Rowe), there wasn't much serious divinity in the more than two hours of show. But there were enough laughs in the zany musical comedy to keep the near-capacity audience awake and abuzz with laughter until the not-so-bitter end.
Playwright Dan Groggin said his goal was to share "the humor of the nun" with an audience. To do this, he centers his script around five quirky sisters from the Mt. Saint Helens convent of Hoboken, N.J., who find themselves in a heap of holy trouble.
After Sister Julia Child of God (she's the cook, get it?) boils up a batch of botulism-laced vichyssoise -- killing 52 of the sisters who eat it -- 48 are buried. Then the nuns run out of funds, leaving four dead bodies in the freezer that need to be removed before the health inspector arrives.
Enter Mother Superior's idea of holding a fund-raising variety show. Auditions are held and four of the remaining sisters are selected to entertain and raise money for the four funerals.
There's sarcastic Sister Mary Hubert (Debbie Scoones), street wise Sister Robert Anne (Monica Ewing), forgetful Sister Mary Amnesia (Patty Sundstrom) and ballet dancer-wannabe Sister Mary Leo (Hoquiam High School junior Angela McFadden), who took her name because it was a shorter version of the word "leotard."
The play begins with (what else?) a game of Bingo with the entire audience (warning to future audiences: bring extra 1$ bills) and the first of more than a dozen song-and-dance routines (all choreographed beautifully by Sandee Denn, especially the tap number).
From there, the stereotypes of Catholicism, convent life and, especially, the sisters' eccentric personalities are tapped for all they're worth.
While all five sisters share the stage much of the play, each is given her chance to shine solo. The highlight of these is star-struck Sister Robert Anne's long-awaited chance to shine in Act II.
Ewing -- a competitive bodybuilder and prison supervisor in the real world -- makes the most of her opportunity, belting out "I Just Want to be a Star."
When I became a nun
At a very early age
I had to choose between the convent
And life up on the stage
Fittingly, the scene ends with some masterful lighting work from Larry Tingwall, as he closes things down by slowly zooming in on Ewing's face as the stage fades to black.
Ewing's rendition, which ends with her kneeling on a bed in prayer, drew the most rousing ovation in an evening filled with laughter -- much of that thanks to Scoones' snortingly parenthetical jokes (along with some nimble footwork), Rowe's comical, drug-induced laughing fit and Driftwood rookie McFadden's chance to show off her excellent dance skills (she's a real-life ballerina) in the "Soup's On (The Dying Nun Ballet)" scene.

While the vocal harmonies were off at times -- especially when the entire ensemble was on stage -- the show is well worth the cost of admission.

Mix in a pinch of pressure because it was the season opener and a dash of stress knowing first-time Driftwood director and talented musician Bob Neisinger is peering down on your every move (and lip-syncing your every lyric) from his perch behind an on-stage drum kit and you've got a cast that cooks up a winning recipe of divine antics.

And doubles as stagehands, too.

Most importantly, unlike the vichyssoise, it isn't fatal to the many who will hopefully witness "Nunsense" at least once during its run.

Let us pry it be so.