In Part 2 of a series of interviews with the cast of Nunsense at Wolf Pack Theatre Company, meet Melanie Pino-Elliott.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell us where local theatregoers may have seen you perform on the stage.
Melanie: I’m a longtime actor and have been doing theatre in this area for the past few years with MAD Productions (shows incl. The Musical of Musicals, Our Town, The King and I, Into the Woods) Laurel Mill Playhouse (Hair, Annie, You Can’t Take It with You), and more recently Wolf Pack (A Christmas Carol).
Have you ever thought about becoming a nun? Is there a Sister/nun who helped you in your lifetime who you admire?
I have thought about becoming a nun. My best friend from college told me about a convent in Latin America where the nuns all work in a chocolaterie. We decided that if our other life plans didn’t work out, we should book it there, become nuns, and make chocolate.
Who do you play in Nunsense and what do you admire the most about your character? Are there any personality traits that you both share?
I play Sister Julia, Child of God. I don’t think we don’t share any personality traits, but I admire her unselfconsciousness.
This will be the first performance of Nunsense that I have seen being performed in a church. How do you feel about performing this show in a church? Is there anything in the script that you feel may be a little ‘unholy’ that a real Reverend Mother may want to hit you over the knuckles with a ruler for? What will performing Nunsense on a ‘holy’ stage add to the audience’s experience?
It felt a little strange at first to play with irreverent humor in the church, but ultimately I think that the venue doesn’t affect whether material is morally acceptable or not. Maybe seeing it in a church will help people not to be scandalized. Or it could have the opposite effect. I don’t know.
What song that your fellow castmates sing moves you the most and makes you laugh the most?
I haven’t seen most of the numbers yet, but “Benedicite” is a fun one.
What are some of the themes of Nunsense and lessons that Nunsense has to share with the audience?
I’m not sure. No good deed goes unpunished? Don’t poison people? Spend money wisely?
What are some of the ‘Do’s and Dont’s’ that Director William Leary has told all of you and what are some of the best suggestions and directions that he has given you that has made your performance better?
He tells us to make everything big and cartoon-ish, which is helping me to stretch myself and make my character funnier.
Why do you think Nunsense is still so popular after all these years?
I don’t know why this is, but people find nuns funny. I guess it stems from the tendency not to think of nuns as human, and it seems comical when they deviate from our stereotypes.
Have you ever appeared in another performance of Nunsense?
When was the first time you saw Nunsense performed? And if you did, which Sister was your favorite then?
I saw it once about seven years ago. I don’t remember having a favorite.
Which Sister in Nunsense is most like you and why?
Sister Robert Anne. It’s probably an actor thing; we’ve all been passed up for roles and know the feeling of not being recognized.
What new ‘habits’ as an actress have you developed while rehearsing and being part of this divine experience?
Usually I act by using my natural reactions to the circumstances of the character and the play. This time I’m shooting for something different, so I’ve taken to thinking of what Meryl Streep’s Julia Child would do.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you singing and dancing and having a great time performing in Nunsense?
As with any show, I want them to walk away having enjoyed themselves and planning to continue supporting the arts. Also feeling that they contributed to a good cause.
Nunsense opens April 10, 2015 and plays through April 19, 2015 at St. John Lutheran Church – 5820 Riverdale Road, in Riverdale, MD. For tickets, call (240) 271-5471, or purchase them online, or at the door.
Meet the Cast of ‘Nunsense’ at Wolf Pack Theatre Company: Part 1: Joanna Matthews.
Meet the Cast of ‘Nunsense’ at Wolf Pack Theatre Company: Part 2: Melanie Pino-Elliott.
Meet the Cast of ‘Nunsense’ at Wolf Pack Theatre Company: Part 3: Linda Whiting.
Meet the Cast of ‘Nunsense’ at Wolf Pack Theatre Company: Part 4: Brigid K. Lally.
Meet the Cast of ‘Nunsense’ at Wolf Pack Theatre Company: Part 5: Jamie Crowne.
Meet the Cast of ‘Nunsense’ at Wolf Pack Theatre Company: Part 6: Francine Kent.