It has been 15 years since the adventures of the musical nuns from the Nunsense series were portrayed by the South Okanagan Amateur Players (SOAP).
Nunset Boulevard begins its run at the Osoyoos Mini-Theatre on Nov. 21 and starts in Oliver the following weekend on Nov. 28 at Frank Venable’s Auditorium.
Part of a series of plays written by American writer and composer Dan Goggin, Nunset Boulevard follows five nuns as they leave their convent for California to play their unique style of song and dance at the Hollywood Bowl — or as they soon find out, the Hollywood Bowl-a-Rama.
Nunset Boulevard marks the second performance of Nunsense series by South Okanagan Players, with a performance of the original Nunsense taking place in 1998.
Diane Gludovatz, who plays the Reverend Mother, sister Mary Regina, one of five nuns journeying to California, said revisiting the dancing nuns has been an enjoyable challenge.
“It’s been a lot of work. The sisters and I have been doing extra rehearsals and trying to get the dance routines correct. It’s very hard for nuns to be dancing,” said Gludovatz, who added, the nun costumes and shoes tend to make the dance steps more difficult to perform.
Sister Regina is the firm-but-fair mother figure to the nuns, a character Gludovatz knows well.
“She tries to look hard on the outside, but she’s really just a softie on the inside,” Gludovatz said. “The older I’ve gotten, the more I can connect with the Reverend Mother.”
Gludovatz played the same role in the 1998 performance of Nunsense. As the years have past, the character has become more relatable.
“I was much younger and I think it was more of a stretch to play the older woman, but now that I’m older I do feel like the mother of the girls,” Gludovatz said.
Penelope Johnson plays Sister Mary Leo, the most artsy of all the nuns, who has a penchant for dancing. Johnson was also involved in the 1998 performance of Nunsense, however the character she played then happens to be the exact opposite of Mary Leo.
“When I auditioned, I put on my audition form ‘I do not want the part of Sister Mary Leo’,” Johnson laughed.
When she got the role, she was unsure if she could play the part. However, Johnson looked back on some of her more challenging roles in the past and decided to take the leap.
“Some of the most fun roles I’ve been in are the ones I initially didn’t want,” Johnson said.
Part of the difficulty for Johnson was hitting the upper register for some of the musical notes, but she surprised herself.
“I hadn’t given my high-soprano range a work out for awhile, but I’m actually really enjoying it. I usually enjoy doing the harmony,” Johnson said.
Despite the difficulty of dancing in a nun costume, the SOAP have been having a great time during the lead up to opening night.
“We’re having a ball, we’re all really enjoying it,” said director Ray Turner. “The people who are involved with SOAP have worked together so long that we’re a really well oiled machine. We get along really well and each person knows what his or her role is.”
Tickets for both the Oliver and Osoyoos productions will be $20 at the door or $18 in advance, available at Sundance Video in Oliver or Your Dollar Store With More in Osoyoos.
For more information on the SOAP visit www.soplayers.ca