A Behind-The-Scenes look at NUTS' 'The Frogs'

by Divya Nandyal

4 pm, Monday the 6th of November – I had the privilege of being a fly on the wall during the final rehearsal before a NUTS show opens. The show in question? The Frogs by Aristophanes, directed by the incredibly talented Anastasia Dougenis and Zoe Berg. The cast trickled in, toting bags of costumes, makeup, and props, the energy was a calm-high, the music supplying a steady backdrop in the crowded Studio One dressing room.  

The cast dressed in their incredibly eclectic yet cohesive costumes, under the visionary guidance of Costume Designer Cinnamon Howearth, who also plays the lead, Dionysus. Others were donning their makeup slowly – I had the opportunity to help out here, spreading the agenda for more glitter, doing eyeshadow for Samantha Saunders’ Aeschylus, eyeliner for Julian Kumar’s Landlord; little tasks to get my foot in the door before I began my inquisition: 

What’s your favourite line in the play?  

“Right. Bend over. Both of you,” was mentioned twice, as well as “Little pink titty,” leaving me somewhat confused about the premise of the play altogether! Wasn’t this an Ancient Greek story, full of stuffy old poets, and misogynistic gods? I shouldn’t have been surprised, really, given that the Venn diagram of theatre kids and veteran Percy Jackson fans is a circle – when asked for keywords to describe the vibe of the production, I frequently received answers including “Camp,” “Queer,” and “Serving [redacted].”  

I moved out of the dressing room, heading to the kitchen where much of the crew was congregated (eating a delicious cake, baked and decorate with little pink frogs by the beloved directors), including Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Managers Alex Mouhtouris, Susannah Pretty, and Jack Wormald asking: 

What’s your favourite prop or set piece? 

The “pride fan,” and the “severed rubber hand” took the lead for props, while Heracles’ (played by Liam Verity) cottage and the psychedelic underworld were favourites for sets, making me equal parts nervous and excited to see the final product.  

After the last of the cast and crew ate a hurried dinner, (notable choices included microwaveable minestrone soup, many a Yallah Eats order, and a green apple) and the sound designers scrambled to finalise audio, the cast warmed up for their first and final full dress run. Being a former theatre kid myself, I’ve seen my fair share of warm-ups; they started with the standard tongue twisters, vocal warmups, team energy building – then it got weird: the Hokey Pokey (yes, the children’s dance), followed by a team huddle where on three, they yelled “Ribbit!”  

Finally, the dress run began. The opening scene had me completely enthralled, the performances of Dionysus and Mitchell Dihm’s Xanthias were captivating, despite Dom Young’s covert, yet constant, photography – the photos we see promoting shows, and in their aftermath are often not from the performances themselves, but from the final dress rehearsal! The scene following this was the one that made my jaw-drop – if you haven’t yet been convinced to go see this phenomenal production for yourself, I urge you to do so, just to see this spectacle of a dance number performed by the stars of the shows themselves: The Frogs.  


I then came to regret my past transgressions of being impatient during intermissions, when 20 minutes turn into 30, wondering what the crew are actually doing behind closed doors – I saw firsthand, as the crew manhandled heavy backdrops on and off stage, taping fabric to prevent accidents, checking and double-checking if the set was symmetrical. Honestly, I was in awe of their seamless communication, their teamwork, their preparedness. Putting together an entirely new set is no easy feat.  

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stick around to see the entirety of the second Act of the production, where the real antics between Euripides (Beatrice Upton-Oettel), Aeschylus, and Pluto (Abigail Pierce) go down. However, the glimpse that I saw has made me doubly excited to see (and review!) the show, running 7th-11th of November. If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, it’s not too late: head to NUTS’ Instagram or Facebook, or this link: https://events.humanitix.com/nuts-presents-the-frogs-by-aristophanes. A little birdie told me that if the show sells out, the directors have committed to getting frog tattoos!  

Divya is a 1st year Law/Commerce student! She dances and plays netball and violin. She joined Blitz to get involved in uni life and be a part of this really cool team of people!

Blitz Editor

Anandi Ganguly

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