BIG ARTS presents its own take on the prolific Off-Broadway classic “Nunsense” as it continues through Saturday, April 15 at the Herb Strauss Theater.
The original production of Nunsense, directed by Dan Goggin, opened December 12, 1985 at the Off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theatre before moving to the Douglas Fairbanks Theater for the majority of its 10-year run due to high demand. In total, there were 3,672 performances, becoming the second-longest running Off-Broadway show in history. Nunsense became an international phenomenon, translated into at least 26 different languages with more than 8,000 productions worldwide and grossing over $500 million.
Nunsense is the story of five of the 19 surviving Little Sisters of Hoboken, a one-time missionary order that ran a leper colony on an island south of France. The sisters discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally killed the other 52 residents of the convent with her tainted vichyssoise while they were playing bingo with a group of Maryknolls – another Roman Catholic division of missionaries.
Upon discovering the disaster, Mother Superior has a vision in which she was told to start a greeting card company to raise funds for the burials. The greeting cards were an enormous success and, thinking there was plenty of money, the Reverend Mother bought a VCR and camcorder for the convent, leaving her with no money to pay for the last four burials. With the deceased nuns on ice in the deep freeze, they decide to start a variety show in the Mount St. Helen’s School auditorium to raise the necessary amount.
The show is presented as “on the nose,” meaning that Mother Superior’s production unfolds before your eyes as it would for the audiences in the fictional production. Encouraging crowd reactions and participation, each sister presents her own act in a series of comedic, wacky smaller acts.