By Sophie Armstrong
Living up to one of the most popular films of all time can be daunting, but the stage production for The Sound of Music is giving it a crack as it opens tonight with a star studded cast and a fresh interpretation in Adelaide.
Soprano Marina Prior, who will grace the stage as Baroness Schraeder, chats about the different path The Sound of Music stage show has taken from the film.
Known for her bitter and selfish ways, the Baroness is anything but warm – or so we think.
While reading the script, Marina discovered the Baroness to be completely different to her expectations set by the film.
“I go by what is in the script; there’s actually nothing in there to suggest she is cold and brittle. She is very sophisticated, witty and hedonistic. I’m playing the character that is on the page,” Marina says.
She may not run up play clothes from curtains, but the Baroness adores the children, cooing to the Captain: “Why didn’t you tell me how enchanting your children are?”
Marina stars alongside Amy Lehpamer who plays Maria Rainer, Cameron Daddo as Captain Georg von Trapp, Jacqueline Dark as Mother Abbess, Lorraine Bayly as Frau Schmidt and David James as Max Detweiler.
For Marina, since becoming a mum and sharing the story of The Sound of Music with her own daughters, she has found resonating with the iconic musical on a deeper level.
The ability for Marina to unleash her maternal side in the role enables her to develop the bond between the Von Trapp children and the Baroness.
In contrast to the film, the Baroness has no wish to send them to boarding school. It is precisely due to her enchantment with them that the stakes on stage are greater.
“If she were awful, there would be no sense of this being a big decision for the Captain. It would be too obvious or easy to go with Maria,” she says.
As a sophisticated society woman, the Baroness cannot compete with Maria’s spirit.
As Maria sings those beloved tunes such as ‘Do, Re, Mi’ and ‘The Lonely Goat’, audiences can see the genuine heart break and vulnerabilities from the Baroness.
“It’s nice for the audience to understand her and see that they are just not right for each other. Her heart gets broken and that adds a deeper dimension to the story,” she says.
Marina’s poignant portrayal of this character’s warmth and depth adds tension to the love triangle between her, the Captain and Maria.
“I try to keep a balance of letting the audience know she is devastated, but that she keeps her dignity in a very slow exit. She takes her time to hold her ground and makes them wait while she walks off,” she says.
Although the Baroness lucks out with the Captain, Marina says of her future: “I reckon she does alright, it wont be long before her dance card is filled again.”
The Sound of Music opens today (August 9), with the official opening night this Friday (August 12). Tickets available at Adelaide Festival Theatre.
All images taken by James Morgan