Los Al drama presents their musical comedy ‘Nunsense’

The last show-stopping performance captivated the audience with its charm
“I mean, there’s a lot of nauseousness backstage, but when I come [onstage] it goes away. I felt fine, so honestly, this was just a really fun run to go through,” said freshmen and cast member Ethan Timm Junge.
“I mean, there’s a lot of nauseousness backstage, but when I come [onstage] it goes away. I felt fine, so honestly, this was just a really fun run to go through,” said freshmen and cast member Ethan “Timm” Junge.
Los Alamitos High School Newsletter

LOS ALAMITOS, CA – On Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m., the Los Alamitos High School drama class began their production of “Nunsense.” This musical comedy was performed by both new and old student actors in the Black Box Theater at Los Al, with ticket prices starting at $15. 

This four-day play captured the audience’s attention by focusing on dancing nuns, but also brought to life relatable elements that made it compelling. I went to the 7 p.m. show on Saturday, and I thought that the play was extremely entertaining.

The hard work that everyone put into the show was obvious and I felt honored to watch a play that showed the immense talent of students at Los Al.  

“They’ve been working on this since October. Now of course, we had three weeks off because we had Thanksgiving [and] two weeks off for winter break,” said drama teacher and “Nunsense” director Mrs. Castiglione. “It’s about eight weeks total if you put it all together, which is pretty typical for a musical.”

“Nunsense” was for all audiences

“Nunsense” followed the everyday life of a nun and included specific instances of why the nuns became nuns in the first place. Each nun satirized Catholicism in a way that made it comedic and reached multiple audiences. It was a show that could make anyone laugh, regardless of religious preferences.

“It is a loving satire of nun-culture. I guess that’s the best way to put it,” Mrs. Castiglione said. 

The cast included a mix of all grade levels with impressive acting and singing abilities. Sarah Urquiza, a sophomore, starred as Reverend Mother Mary Regina, the no-nonsense leader of the sisters. She introduced the other nuns in Act One and constantly was attempting to keep order. 

The other nuns included Sister Robert Anne, Sister Mary Hubert, Sister Julia, Child of God, Sister Mary Wilhelm, Sister Mary Brendan, Sister Mary Amnesia, and Sister Mary Leo. Father Virgil, who acted as a messenger and aid, was played by Ethan “Timm” Junge.

“I think one of my favorite scenes to rehearse was before we do [the song] ‘Good Cause’ [because] Chloe [who played Sister Mary Brendan] has to say ‘Father’s right,’” Junge said. “Literally every time we could not handle [it], and it would get everyone laughing.”

Why a “musical comedy?”

Mrs. Castiglione explained before the show began that she changed the title three days before rehearsals began, which is something that she had never done before in her 20 years of teaching theater. She wanted the play to reflect the comedic aspects of nunnery to sell it to audiences, which is why “Nunsense” was fitting.

I think it’s important to have the opportunity to not take yourself so seriously and show different types of people and different types of life. Even if you have very firm beliefs, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a sense of humor as well.”

— Mrs. Castiglione, Los Al's drama teacher

What is admirable is that this production was catered for all audiences to specifically have a good time watching nuns sing about the amazing and hilarious parts of their lives. 

“[I like that ‘Nunsense’ is] not making fun of anybody, but yet it’s kind of making jokes that I think are accessible to everybody and kind of that tongue-and-cheek comedy. I grew up with a very, very Catholic father, so to me these jokes just make me fall off the chair every single time,” the “Nunsense” director said.

How it went

Act one focused on introducing the distinct personalities of the nuns. A detail I found interesting was that Sister Mary Leo, played by senior Matilda Tsim, was introduced as the newest nun because she is in her first year of drama. My personal favorite nun was Sister Mary Amnesia, played by sophomore Laila Rain Montana, because her acting ability was very compelling. 

Sister Mary Amnesia was the nun who could not remember anything about who she was, so she provided most of the comedic elements during dialogue with other characters. Her solo act with a puppet, who she thought was a nun, specifically showcased Montana’s amazing acting abilities. 

While the specific personalities of each nun was entertaining, I wish that the other nuns, such as Sister Julia, Child of God, were explored as much as Sister Mary Amnesia. The only thing the audience really knew about Sister Julia was that she was an aspiring chef that supposedly poisoned the other 44 nuns. Elements like this left audience members feeling confused because the continuity of the story line didn’t add to what was presented. 

“The previous shows I saw, ‘Freaky Friday’ and ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ felt more cohesive. I didn’t feel like there was a flow. The story felt hard to follow at times,” said audience member Antonio Oropeza, who attended with his wife and kids. 

I also enjoyed Sister Robert Anne, who was played by Leo Athy, because she was the nun that always wanted to be a star. She expressed her desire to lead the other nuns and was the most head-strong of the nuns, which was a fun plot point. Reverend Mother tried to dismiss her ideas, but her solo explained who she wanted to become as a nun and demonstrated her vocal abilities. 

“Leo singing her individual solo piece was my favorite part. My wife and I know her and we think she’s extremely talented,” Oropeza said after the show. 

My final thoughts 

“Nunsense” was a comically entertaining take on nuns that provided great audience interactions and musical numbers that showed off the talent at Los Al. Despite the fact that it was hard to follow at times, I still think that it was a great production. 

“I think during certain shows especially, like during the show earlier today, the audience was quieter, but tonight, the audience seemed like they were very captivated by the show,” Junge said. 

Los Al drama continues to leave audiences stunned with their hard work and dedication when delivering their productions. Make sure to go see Los Al drama’s next production, “She Kills Monsters!”

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  • F

    Francesca McCall HokamaJan 31, 2024 at 12:16 pm

    I really liked this article Nandi! i was interested about this musical every since i saw the poster and your article gave me great insight great job!!

  • J

    Jaya EapenJan 31, 2024 at 12:12 pm

    Your article was so interesting Nandi! I like how you had many different perspectives and opinions as well as including your own thoughts.

  • O

    Olivia CooksJan 31, 2024 at 12:11 pm

    This article is so interesting! Its fun to hear your voice and point of view on the show, and I can tell you had a lot of fun.

  • K

    Kalea DaviesJan 31, 2024 at 12:08 pm

    I love the diversity of opinions about the performance! It really makes you feel like you’ve seen the show while reading this. Great job!

  • O

    Owen SilvermanJan 31, 2024 at 12:07 pm

    This is a great article, Nandi! I can tell that you put a lot of effort into writing the article and holding the interviews, and you did a great job of making it a comprehensible and fun story.

  • K

    Katie ArnoultJan 31, 2024 at 8:28 am

    I love this article Nandi!! You wrote it very well and your point of view can be clearly seen. I love how you described each of the nun characters, this show seemed like it was so fun!