Chelsea Balmer, Allyson Nicole Jones and Mary Hayes, seniors at Floyd Central High School, act out a dance number in the school's upcoming production of "Nunsense." Balmer and Jones both play in double-cast roles, meaning two different students play the same role in alternating runs of the show. 

FLOYDS KNOBS — Allyson Nicole Jones and Bonnie Hopkins, both seniors at Floyd Central High School, were glad to see they both made the school’s theater season opener, “Nunsense,” after auditions, but there’s just one catch.

They’re both playing the same role.

Three roles in “Nunsense” — a story of a convent raising money to bury some of its nuns after an unfortunate, lethal case of food poisoning — are played by six different students. Depending on which show audiences catch, they might see a different person in one role.

Jones said in the case of her role with Hopkins, Sister Robert Anne, it’s something of a challenge to get two different actors to play one role exactly the same way.

“It’s almost like being two different people,” Jones said. “We’re trying to combine ourselves into this one role and I think it’s incredibly important to work the extra mile for that, but we work really well together.”

Hopkins and Jones said Sister Robert Anne is a street-smart nun from Brooklyn who tries to have a little fun, even if it means pushing convent conventions.

Hopkins said she and Jones put in a lot of extra time to keep in sync with each other on how they perform their part.

“I think we make sure that our choreography is exactly the same,” Hopkins said. “Most of our inflection is the same so that it’s the same character, even if we have a slightly different take on it. Our inflection might be somewhat different, but the audience can still tell it’s Robert Anne.”

But casting two people in the same role also has its benefits, Hopkins said.

“It’s fun to interpret the character with someone else,” Hopkins said. “If you’re not sure about something, you can ask your double how they took a line, or an emotion.”

For both students, it’s the first time they’ve shared a role with someone else in a show, but they said they’re happy with whom they’ve been partnered.

“It’s been an awesome experience,” Jones said. “I don’t know about anyone else, but I enjoy being double-cast, but particularly with Bonnie. She’s so easy to work with and our character’s incredibly fun. It makes it lighthearted, but it doesn’t seem like work.”

I'm the education reporter for the News and Tribune, covering four public school districts, private and charter schools, local universities and education programs in Clark and Floyd counties. Send story ideas my way!

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