Cast have ‘Confidence’ in show

The Von Trapp children preparing for Duns Opera production of the Sound of Music
The Von Trapp children preparing for Duns Opera production of the Sound of Music

BERWICKSHIRE will be well and truly alive with ‘The Sound of Music’ next week when Duns and District Operatic Society stage the musical juggernaut of the same name.

The 1965 film, and more recently the Andrew Lloyd Webber directed musical were both massive hits and having rehearsed for months, the Operatic Society are hoping they’ll do both justice.

‘The Sound of Music’ tells the tale of Maria, a fiesty young nun who grows frustrated with her life in an Austrian monestry and starts to think her life could take a different direction.

Her road to self-discovery leads her to the home of Captain von Trapp and his merry band of offspring.

Left without a mother the children lack a strong female presence in their life, that’s until Maria is put in charge of them as governess.

The musical is set against a backdrop of the Second World War, meaning the cast’s own struggles are put firmly into perspective by the life-changing events around them.

But that’s not to say the drama outweighs the fine musical score ‘The Sound of Music’ boasts.

With the much-loved Rogers and Hammerstein repertoire including ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?’,‘Climb Every Mountain’ and ‘Do-Re-Mi’ there are plenty of guaranteed crowd pleasers and stepping into the role of Maria, made so famous by one Julie Andrews is Jane Smith.

But primary school teacher Jane said she is definitely going to try and put her own stamp on the iconic character, rather than do a carbon of Andrews’ singing nun.

“To be honest I’m not a huge Julie Andrews fan,” she told The Berwickshire News.

“Having read the script I think her Maria was a bit too nicey nicey. “For me Maria has a bit more angst going on than Andrews portrayed and she goes on much more of a personal journey.

“Throughout the show she has a number of difficult decisions to make and I’d imagine these were a lot harder than they were made out to be in the film - the biggest one being her choice to leave the church.”

And it’s not just Maria’s demeanour audiences at the Volunteer Hall will notice a difference with, the leading lady won’t be sporting an Andrews esque blonde barnet.

“I don’t look at all like Julie Andrews,” Jane continued.

“For a start I’ve got long brown hair and that’s staying for the show.

“The main side of Maria’s character I can relate to is her love for the rambling landscape around her. I live up in the hills in Longformacus so I wake up to some pretty great views every morning and I’m close to nature just like she is.

“The one major difference is that when I’m singing ‘The Sound of Music’, I try and imagine myself up in the Cheviots!”

As well as really getting to grips with the inner workings of her character Maria, Jane has also thoroughly enjoyed having the chance to put her voice to some showstopping songs that have earned their place in musical history.

“I would have to say ‘I Have Confidence’ would be my favourite song in the show, mainly because it’s the most suited to my vocal range.

“I know a lot of people like ‘My Favourite Things’ and although it’s a good song it has an incredibly boring melody; you’ve really got to work to bring it alive.

“When it comes to the title song our musical director wanted me to try and focus on the fact the song is about Maria’s love for music rather than everything else she sings about.”

With plenty of characters of all ages in ‘The Sound of Music’ script, Duns Opera have been able to cast a cast mixing both youth and experience and Jane had particular praise for the youngsters filling the roles of the Von Trapp children.

“The children have been absolutely amazing, I was ready to get my primary school teacher head on if required but I’ve not needed to, their discipline has been tremendous.

“Duns Opera is such a good society to be involved in and the show has two fantastic directors in the shape of Eleanor Crawford and Mike Hardy.

“If it wasn’t for the support of them and other members I wouldn’t be playing such a big part.”

‘The Sound of Music’ begins its run at the Volunteer Hall on Wednesday, April 4, at 7.30pm, with performances at the same time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday as well as a 2pm matinee on the latter.

Tickets are available from Number 18 in Duns Market Square or online at www.ddaos.org.