By Meghan Aslin
Photo courtesy of Meghan Aslin (12)
For some St. Mary’s thespians, two annual SMS plays aren’t enough. In search of more acting and stage managing opportunities, our turkeys often audition for roles at MUS. This fall’s MUS show was “Sweeney Todd” and it co-starred SMS senior Nora James Eikner.
Eikner portrayed Mrs. Lovett, the wide-eyed, lovesick partner-in-crime to the show’s protagonist – or rather, antagonist – Sweeney Todd, played by MUS senior Reese Needham. Never breaking her fluid Cockney accent between song and dialogue, Eikner added comic relief to the otherwise chilling show by delivering her lines with a goofy, character-fitting stance and graying disheveled hair.
Following a sort of theater-dry-spell amidst COVID-19, “Sweeney Todd” was the first traditional, indoor performance, allowing many of our own turkeys, including Stella Blen (11) and Darla Suitt (11), to get back on stage.
Going forward, Eikner is the assistant-director of the St. Mary’s play rendition of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which will premiere later this November.
When asked whether or not her role in “Sweeney Todd” was especially nostalgic, given that Mrs. Lovett is most likely Eikner’s penultimate role, Eikner responded, “It was weird because it kind of came full circle. Because my first show at MUS was directed by my dad and starred my brother. And now the last show that I will be in at MUS was directed by my dad and… had me.”
She paused, then joked, “We really just are showcasing nepotism at its finest.”
Following the closing night of both SMS and MUS shows, all of the actors gather for a “senior circle,” in which the seniors go around and give emotional speeches to their peers. Eikner said, “That was my ninth ‘senior circle’ at MUS… to quote one of my friends who was there, ‘snot rockets came out of my nose’ because I was crying so hard.”
“I think I have grown a lot as a person and as an actor and being able to do that show… was really magical. I’m very grateful for it,” she continued.
When asked what snippet of advice that she wishes she could have told her freshman self, Eikner said, “I remember being really scared of what the upperclassmen thought of me… off-stage, I found it very hard to make friends and like be myself without being insecure, but I think I would tell my younger self to just kind of let go of that because everyone there is so supportive.”
Lastly, Eikner advised “Don’t date senior boys.”
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