Entertaining botany

Published 9:15 pm Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy theater arts students rehearse for their annual musical, “Little Shop of Horrors.” Three shows are planned for Friday and Saturday.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy theater arts students rehearse for their annual musical, “Little Shop of Horrors.” Three shows are planned for Friday and Saturday.

What happens when a flesh-eating plant from outer space planning to take over the world finds itself in the center of a love affair? Find out when Nansemond-Suffolk Academy Theatre Arts presents “Little Shop of Horrors” this weekend.

The group is presenting the comedy-horror as part of its annual Broadway musical, with shows planned for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

All shows, which will be presented in the school auditorium, are free and open to the community.

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“We had our auditions the second or third week of November, (and) we started rehearsals right then,” director Wanda Oberdorfer said.

The story is set in the slums of New York City, where Seymour Krelborn, an employee at a flower shop with a cantankerous boss — Mr. Mushnik — and an infatuation with co-worker Audrey, finds a plant from another planet, with very unsavory appetites.

The production involves 27 actors, Oberdorfer said. “I pick my shows based on the talent pool that’s coming up that year,” she added.

This show will be unique in that it will be the group’s first time working with “giant, over-sized man-eating puppets.”

The puppets, which are the same ones used in the Broadway show, represent different growth stages of the carnivorous plant, which Seymour names Audrey II, after his love interest.

“When I did the contract for the show, it’s an option; you can get the puppets if you need them,” Oberdorfer said.

Mac Hardee, a junior, plays Seymour, while fellow junior Hannah Dewing is in the role of Audrey.

Hardee said he started acting in the 10th grade, with “Footloose.” He said his current role is fun, with the opportunity to “secretly kill people” and feed them to the plant.

Dewing said she has performed in NSA musicals since the fourth grade, and previously did theater in eighth and ninth grades. Both Hardee and Dewing have also performed

with Smithfield Little Theater.

“It’s definitely very different from what I have done before,” Dewing said of Little Shop. “I’m usually the comical one that makes an idiot out of themselves. (Audrey is) definitely a bigger and more serious part; she takes herself very seriously, but she’s definitely easy to laugh at.”

Audiences are sure to get a kick out of the campy sci-fi horror with plenty of laughs, according to Oberdorfer. “It’s just wonderful from that point of view,” she said.