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Being Marta Von Trapp

Giselle Roe as Marta Von Trapp

Joyful actress: Sunnybank parishioner Giselle Roe is one of the newest members of the famous Von Trapp family singers, undertaking the role of second youngest child, Marta, for the Australian production of Sound of Music. Photo: Emilie Ng

HOW does Marta Von Trapp make her big entrance on stage for the world’s favourite musical?

With prayer, of course.

“Well, we say our lines before we say our prayers, and then we say, ‘Jesus, can you please help us so we get our lines and we can do well and we thank you for us getting into Sound of Music’,” first-time actress Giselle Roe, 10, said.

The petite Sunnybank Catholic parishioner is one of the newest members of the famous Von Trapp family singers, undertaking the role of second youngest child, Marta, for the Australian production of Sound of Music.

About four times a week, Giselle joins Australian actors Amy Lehpamer, Cameron Daddo, Marina Prior and Lorraine Bayly on stage at Brisbane’s QPAC.

The musical’s hearty Catholic-centric plot bounces off the hills to a Benedictine Abbey and into a large family’s enormous Austrian home, to Giselle’s delight.

“Well, as there’s a lot of Catholic stuff in the movie there’s also a lot of Catholic stuff in the musical,” she said. 

“It’s all kind of the same because there’s all the nuns and all the sayings and all the singing about God, and in Abbey as well so you can see pictures of God.

“It’s very nice to know that there’s actually a musical about God as well.”

God isn’t just present in the show’s props, but is also with some of the performers.

“There’s one guy in our group and he’s also a Catholic, so we talk a lot about Jesus and we pray before we go on,” Giselle said.

“My mum was talking to his mum and they started talking about Jesus. 

“And we said, ‘So you’re actually Catholic too’.  

“We thought, what if we pray together before we go on.” 

Giselle’s mother Kristen Roe said the entire family of six were praying during the auditions last October.

Their prayers worked, as Giselle was chosen out of 870 children to be one of the Von Trapps.

“It was very unexpected,” Mrs Roe said. 

“I thought we’d just go for the experience, (as) she’s never auditioned for anything before, never been in a show, even an amateur show.”

Three weeks after auditions, Giselle got an email announcing an offer to play Marta.

“Well I got an email but wasn’t allowed to tell anybody for two weeks and it was really hard not being able to tell anybody because I was so excited,” Giselle said. Twelve weeks of rigorous rehearsals followed, not without help from her parents, grandparents and great-grandmother.

Mrs Roe said seeing her daughter on the big stage for the first time was an amazing experience.

“It’s very surreal to see your child on that stage for the first time,” she said. “The tears coming down … and you get nervous when you know her part’s coming up.  

“It’s a very proud moment and all the family and friends are so proud.”

Because of Giselle, Sound of Music has now become a Roe family favourite.

“We have the CD in the car constantly, and the little three-year-old, Alexander, always says, ‘Do Re Mi, Mummy’,” Mrs Roe said.  

“He makes us all join in.”

Marta dressing room

Backstage: Giselle Roe in the dressing room preparing for a Sound of Music rehearsal. Photo: Emilie Ng.

But the new life as Marta Von Trapp won’t last forever.

“We’re all really close now and I feel like we’re family because we talk about our things,” Giselle said.

“I will miss them.”


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