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story.lead_photo.caption The cast of “Nunsense” rehearses in the St. Bernard’s Parish Hall. The cast includes Pamela Marks, Sara McKinney, Debbie Reynolds, Alaina Stroud, Hope Holmes and Mary Solliday.

— Although they don’t have a stage or their nonprofit status, some former members of the Village Players are planning a comeback. On Jan. 13, “Nunsense” is coming to the Parish Hall at St. Bernard’s and it may be just the beginning.

The Village Players theater group was 32 years old when it disbanded in 2013. There are other groups in the area where some former Village Players migrated, including the Arkansas Public Theater in Rogers and Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale, but it just wasn’t the same, former member Debbie Reynolds explained. So, this year, she got a few of her colleagues together for a comeback.

One problem for the Village Players was a venue, Reynolds said. The stage at Riordan Hall was never large enough and it could be expensive to rent. For their last few performances, the Village Players used high school auditoriums or NWACC’s White Hall.

At one time, the group had a building where it could store props and costumes but, after it lost the building, one member took most of the group’s costumes home. That only worked until her husband demanded the basement back, Reynolds said.

Last year, Reynolds started going to bingo at the Roman Catholic church and realized the parish hall could double as an auditorium. She proposed a production of “Nunsense” and the church agreed. The church will benefit from any funds raised, and the cast will take the show to the Pine Bluff area for a second performance.

“Nunsense” is about a group of nuns who return from a mission to find most of their order is dead, victims of botulism. Together they decide to raise enough money to bury their sisters by taking over the grade school performance of “Grease.”

“We’re having a ball,” Reynolds said.

“There’s a strong bond,” Hope Holmes said. She and Reynolds have worked together before and remained friends all these years.

Mary Solliday, a former Village Players president, is helping with the new production.

The sets are made by volunteers and are actually the sets of Grease since the action takes place in the elementary auditorium, Solliday explained. They have artists working on scenery now, she said.

“We used a lot of imagination since we don’t have all the facilities,” props manager Paula Fettig said. The group had just purchased a set of work lights for the show.

The props were more difficult, Reynolds said, but all involved used their imaginations. Fran Kolbe is the prop master.

Their biggest expense was buying the right to use the script and music, Reynolds said. She had to come up with a name for the new group in order to buy the rights, so now Reynolds, Solliday and the others are members of Theater Two. Reynolds is willing to change that name if she gets enough people to form a new nonprofit.

If there is enough interest, she’s hoping to start looking for grants to finance a new theater.

Meanwhile, she’s found some plays that the group can use without paying royalties and she’s hoping the partnership with the Catholic Church will continue so that the group’s actors can continue having fun.

The show will be a fundraiser for St. Bernard’s on Jan. 13. Tickets can include a luncheon for $25 or just the show for $15. For more ticket information, contact St. Bernards at 479-855-9069.

For more information about the theater group, call Reynolds at 479-531-7468.

Print Headline: Village Players regroup

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