Published November 23, 2012
Capital Playhouse brings in the sisters for holiday laughsMOLLY GILMORE
Funny nuns are nothing new, either in pop culture or at Capital Playhouse, where Nunsense is a longtime favorite.Its become almost a habit for fictional sisters to do things that the ones who really taught in Catholic elementary schools would never do.In Nuncrackers, opening tonight, the good sisters attempt to put on a holiday TV special that includes a version of the Nutcracker, karaoke and stand-up comedy and would you believe that one of them does burlesque?No, didnt think so, and youd be right. The nuns remain well-wrapped in their habits, showing almost no skin.But one of them is played by Lauren ONeill of Olympias Tush Burlesque.That, to me, is versatility, said ONeill, who also is the playhouses new managing director. Ive played a lot of men. Ive played a lot of grotesque people. There are facets of all of us.She laughed. I of course prefer to explore glamour to garbage. But I strive to challenge myself.ONeills character, Sister Robert Anne, is a streetwise nun from Brooklyn the same character played in Nunsense by Heidi Fredericks, who is directing the show this time around.Lauren is truly brilliant, and she plays it in a way that is much different than the way I played it, Fredericks said. Thats a good thing.This is definitely right up my alley a big, broad character, ONeill said.In fact, each of the nuns has a very strong personality, and in their attempts to put on the TV show, they encounter the conflicts and obstacles common to situation comedy.With a show that is so character driven, the directors job is easy, Fredericks said. You dont have to give a lot of direction, she said. The actors come to the table with so much.Really, as a director in a show like this, you just want to establish kind of a camaraderie among the actors, and the jokes and everything flow from that camaraderie and sense of community.The Nunsense shows are pretty much a stream of jokes and audience interaction, and like the original, Nuncrackers starts the fun before audience members take their seats.This time, more than usual, we have an extensive preshow, Fredericks said. If you come to see it, come early. Definitely the show begins the second you walk in the door.