Saturday, June 30, 2007
The Nurses Speak
The Evansville Community Theatre summer production of M*A*S*H opened last night to a receptive crowd. Those in attendance were treated to a night of comedy and drama at the PAC. Will you be there tonight?
The nurses in the play sat down before a recent rehearsal to talk with the play’s publicity coordinator and give their behind-the-scenes thoughts on pulling it all together. There was much talk about juggling jobs, kids, and rehearsals, but agreement that it’s all worth it.
Are you having a good time putting on this play?
Melissa Schnepper/Margaret Houlihan: I’m having fun because I didn’t know anyone
here, so I’m meeting a bunch of new people. I haven’t been in the theatre in over ten years so it’s good to get back to it. There are lots of lovely people here, very friendly. A very nice group to work with.
Michelle Allen/Louise Kimball: This is my first time doing anything like this. Lori
Soderberg’s the one who asked me. This is way out of my box. I’ve never done anything like this, not even in high school. I work at the pharmacy, I’m used to playing sports, volleyball, basketball, soccer, I’m a welder, I do auto body work, and this is totally different.
Denise Sobeski/Janice Fury: I’m having fun because I have done this before. I like
escaping from reality for a little while and turning into my character. It’s always fun to watch my character evolve.
Michelle Allen/Louise Kimball: And you keep me on my toes!
Denise Sobeski/Janice Fury: As long as I don’t goof up and we both miss our cue!
Lori Soderberg/Bridget McCarthy: I love it because – look at the new friends I make.
How can you not want to be a part of that?
Hazel Cybart-Fuson/Nancy Phillips: It’s fun because there are lots of fun people
involved and because a friend of mine, Chelsea Lezotte, is in the play. I encouraged her to try out and I’m glad she got her first part in a play. She plays the Korean woman Sohng.
Lori Soderberg/Bridget McCarthy: I’m just glad you guys are all here!
Michelle Allen/Louise Kimball: I’m just glad you twisted my arm and dragged me in here!
What do you like about your own character?
Denise Sobeski/Janice Fury: For me, I never really watched the show. When I accepted
the part, I had no idea who Janice Fury was.
Melissa Schnepper/Margaret Houlihan: My character is somewhat like myself in real
life, some days. You can ask my family about that. You can ask my co-workers about that. I’m somewhat regimented like I think she would be. In other ways I wish that I were. It’s a little bit extreme and I like to play that kind of character. It’s a lot of fun. Though some of it parallels my life in how I react to different things, in many ways it’s very much over the top, very serious. It’s fun to get out of your everyday life and get into something that’s over the top. It kind of lets a little steam off, too.
Michelle Allen/Louise Kimball: I like that mine is a small part just to get my feet wet a
little bit. I keep asking Lori questions about my lines like, “how should I say this?” I say it five different ways and they all sound good…so how do you know?
Lori Soderberg/Bridget McCarthy: Whatever feels right.
Denise Sobeski/Janice Fury: Or whatever the director tells you to do.
How do your characters get along with each other?
Lori Soderberg/Bridget McCarthy: To me, I feel like the tomboy of the nurses.
Denise Sobeski/Janice Fury: It’s a pretty tight knit group, even though there’s a school-
type separation of the boys and the girls. I feel everyone is very well inter-connected and we all really stand together when the going gets tough.
Hazel Cybart-Fuson/Nancy Phillips: We all work together in everything -- in the operating room and in the day-to-day life of the MASH unit making sneaky plans with each either to get our way or have some fun.
Denise Sobeski/Janice Fury: I get the feeling we’re in the military, but we’re not Major
Houlihan. When there’s incoming wounded we get a bit more serious, but across the board we’re a little more about making the best of the situation while we’re here. We’re a little intimidated by her, but not so much that it’s going to stop us from being ourselves.
Aside from the outright comedy, what might the audience take away from play?
Lori Soderberg/Bridget McCarthy: The compassion they have for the Koreans in the play.
Denise Sobeski/Janice Fury: The compassion comes through in a strange way. We have to convince one of the characters to realize that life is worth it. It’s a little twisted in the way it’s done, because it’s done with humor, but these people really care.
Hazel Cybart-Fuson/Nancy Phillips: I think high school kids will like it because it’s not super-serious. We learn about the wars in school so you understand the concept – I just got done learning about the Korean War in tenth grade history, so it kind of ties in.
Why do you think people will enjoy this play?
Lori Soderberg/Bridget McCarthy: Because it’s hometown talent and I think that’s
very important to Evansville people.
Hazel Cybart-Fuson/Nancy Phillips: There are a lot of lines that will just really make you laugh. It’s humor that deals with serious circumstances. They use humor to lighten up the mood because it takes their mind off what’s really going on.
Melissa Schnepper/Margaret Houlihan: There’s great talent here, really. I’ve worked with a lot of different levels of professionalism in theatre…I’ve worked with community theatre before that wasn’t nearly as talented or wrapped up in it or organized or serious about the craft as here, and that makes it so much more enjoyable. We’re all having a great time and that reads from the stage, so everybody’s just going to naturally want to be a part of that and enjoy it.
M*A*S*H will be presented in the state-of-the-art Evansville Performing Arts Center at Evansville High School, 640 S. Fifth St. in Evansville. Performances are June 30, and July 5, 6, and 7 at 7:30 p.m.; with a matinee on July 1 at 2 p.m. Tickets are all general admission and are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets are available in advance in Evansville at the Union Bank and Trust, Piggly Wiggly, Evansville Pharmacy, and Bank of Evansville.
For information, contact producer Jennie Nehls at 608-882-4926 or by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.