In Part 6 of a series of interviews with the cast of Nunsense at Wolf Pack Theatre Company, meet Francine Kent.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell us where local theatregoers may have seen you perform on the stage.
My Name is Francine Joyce Kent. I grew up in Silver Spring, MD. In the late 1960s and mid 1970s, I performed in the newest craze sweeping the nation: dinner theatre. Burn Brae (the area’s first), Longworth, Colony 7, and Harlequin to name a few in the local circuit where I was seen often; Montgomery Playhouse and University of Maryland, too.
Have you ever thought about becoming a nun? Is there a Sister/nun who helped you in your lifetime who you admire?
Insert a lyric from “Funny Girl” or “Would a Convent Take a Jewish Girl?” (although one of my Jewish grandmothers with four children married a Catholic widower with 2 children back in 1922). Part of my family is a blend of both religions. I have played “about-to-be nuns” on stage, like Maria in The Sound of Music, and Becky in Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up both of whom left the order to marry.
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 Robert Anne and she is a prankster/commedianne, always trying to find the humor in every situation – and that suits my personality to a tee.
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?
I really don’t have a problem with it being in a church. Afterall, churches are where people gather for fellowship, and friendship. Sure a real Rev. Mother may blush at some things, or not fully approve, but it is all done in the spirit of humor and not intended to offend.
What will performing Nunsense on a ‘holy’ stage add to the audience’s experience?
They may have a chance to laugh and applaud while sitting in pews not normally allowed during a traditional service.
Dan Goggin has written ‘solos’ for each of you. Tell us about your big number(s) and what we learn about your character as you perform them. What is your favorite line or lyric in your big number? And why?
There are a few numbers,one about how Robert Anne came to be here “Growing Up Catholic”, another where she says ” I don’t care if I am ever rich or famous, I just wanna be a star”. Personally, my goal was to be a good working actress, and make people Forget their cares and woes for the couple hours they were sitting in the theatre. I have been addicted to applause and laughter since the first time I heard those glorious sounds when I appeared on the stage at the age of three. Best natural high in the world! Robert Anne and I think alike!
What are some of the themes of Nunsense and lessons that Nunsense has to share with the audience?
Always finish the task at hand, and do not get distracted from your mission (cannot give away any of the plot).
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?
Get out of your head, have fun, find your characters personality, and run with it!
Why do you think Nunsense is still so popular after all these years?
Just the premise of the show is really funny, and transcends time if the references are updated.
Have you ever appeared in another performance of Nunsense?
No, I have never been involved with a production of Nunsense.
When was the first time you saw Nunsense performed? And if you did, which Sister was your favorite then?
1990. I saw part of the show standing in the back of the theatre, and it was Sister Amnesia’s number with her puppet.
Which Sister in Nunsense is most like you and why?
Years ago, it would have been Sister Leo, (I was a ballerina on point shoes to start) young and naive. Now, it is my character Sister Robert Anne trying to make everyone laugh.
What new ‘habits’ as an actress have you developed while rehearsing and being part of this divine experience?
Learning lyrics, and more lyrics, harmonies… did I mention Lyrics? There are a lot of them! :)
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing you singing and dancing and having a great time performing in Nunsense?
People I haven’t met yet: I hope they laugh and have fun. For my family/former theatre castmates/public school friends who knew me back when: I hope they see a spark of the old me…(the one before the Multiple Sclerois/Blindness diagnosis) and that they enjoy themselves and think I am a real trouper!
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.