Hail Mary 2: The Haunting

Caroline McDonnell, left, and Valerie Dragojevic are appearing in Hail Mary 2: The Haunting at the Old Mill Theatre. Picture: John Spurling

Caroline McDonnell, left, and Valerie Dragojevic are appearing in Hail Mary 2: The Haunting at the Old Mill Theatre. Picture: John Spurling

FATHER Costello and his flock of nuns are back in the habit this August when their previous high spirits are dashed by a troublesome ghost.

Written and directed by prolific Perth playwright Noel O’Neill, Hail Mary 2: The Haunting comes to the Old Mill Theatre this August, presented in conjunction with Maverick Theatre Productions.

The convent of Our Lady of the Vines is again under threat but this time it’s a haunting causing concern.

Having previously saved themselves from shutting their doors by various slightly-questionable means, the nuns again face the threat of closure from the church hierarchy unless the haunting can be exorcised.

The nuns rally to try and cast out the devil that plagues them – and their efforts lead to hilarious consequences.

The rebellious and independent nuns from the Our Lady of the Vines convent – and Archbishop Monticello – are back in Hail Mary 2: The Haunting. Picture: John Spurling

The rebellious and independent nuns from the Our Lady of the Vines convent – and Archbishop Monticello – are back in Hail Mary 2: The Haunting. Picture: John Spurling

“The biggest challenge in any sequel is to always try and make them funnier than the original,” O’Neill said. “The new ideas come from what an audience can associate itself with.

“In the first Hail Mary, I wanted to show the comical side of how nuns might behave among themselves – we had real nuns in the audience who thought it was very funny.

“There are no constraints when it comes to comedy, other than to keep the humour a little bawdy but not offensive.”

Born in Ireland, O’Neill moved to New York in his late teens and studied acting with Lee Strasberg and Herbert Berghof, appearing in many off-Broadway productions including One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Of Mice and Men.

Since moving to Perth 16 years ago, he has appeared on stage and directed and written numerous shows for the Old Mill and KADS Theatres, Graduate Dramatic Society and Irish Theatre Players.

Rex Gray is reprising his role as Archbishop Monticello in Hail Mary 2: The Haunting with Caroline McDonnell as Sister Abbott and Susan Meikle as Sister Abbott and Susan Meikle as Sister Marilyn. Picture: John Spurling

Rex Gray is reprising his role as Archbishop Monticello in Hail Mary 2: The Haunting with Caroline McDonnell as Sister Abbott and Susan Meikle as Sister Abbott and Susan Meikle as Sister Marilyn. Picture: John Spurling

O’Neill has won numerous awards for writing and directing, including several Milly Awards and Finley Award nominations for the original Hail Mary.

He also reprises his role as Father Costello in Hail Mary 2.

“The biggest challenge directing myself is thinking as the character throughout the play without thinking as the director,” O’Neill said. “The thought process is always a juggling act.

“As for it being a sequel, I think people can watch the play easily without any prior knowledge, simply because of the circumstances.”

Hail Mary 2: The Haunting plays at 8pm August 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26 and 27 with 2pm matinees August 20, 21 and 28. Tickets are $27, $22 concession – book at https://www.trybooking.com/LOBK or on 9367 8719 or oldmilltheatre@iinet.net.au.

The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post).

 

 

Weekend Notes

Weekend Notes has run a story on Hail Mary 2: The Haunting, which can be viewed at http://www.weekendnotes.com/hail-mary-2-the-haunting-at-old-mill-theatre/