By Sarah Richards
To start off the Halloween season, Pensacola State College will present “The Addams Family Musical.” However, with this interpretation, it will be the crazy and campy family all grown up.
Dr. Whatley, Director of Theatre, says, of this incarnation, “There are some new characters, such as Wednesday’s fiancé and his family, and a host of dead Addams’ family members, known collectively as The Ancestors. There was a superior turnout when it came to casting, so the whole process was very low stress.”
“The Addams Family” is based on Charles Addams’ cartoons in The New Yorker. The multi-generational, extended family seems to behave as if every day is Halloween. The sixties television shows and nineties films depict the kooky, ooky family culturally clashing with the rest of society, as a dark version of “The Brady Bunch.” The result is screwball comedy.
There are 24 actors in the show, comprised of area high school students, PSC students, UWF students, and volunteers from the community.
The cast of zany characters includes Austin Rowe as Gomez, Veronica Lindholm as Morticia, Liz Watson as Wednesday, Justin Jones as Fester, Anna Catherine Morgan as Pugsley, Hannah Chism as Grandma and Mario Cieri as Lurch.
Appearances matter in Hollywood, but not as much in theater. “To me it is almost irrelevant,” Whatley says. “It’s important to remember that dramatic characters are not real people, so there’s no way for the actor in truth to be physically right or wrong for the part. Most preconceptions about how a character should look are based on other actors who have previously performed the part, and no director should ever try to cast an actor as a character based on whether or not they look like another actor.
“The only other source is a description of the character that comes from the playwright, and with all due respect to the writer, they are the writer, not the director. Their area of expertise is the script, the director’s area of expertise is the production. No director should feel compelled to only cast actors that match a description created by the playwright. Hopefully shows like “Hamilton” are making the concept of color-blind casting, gender-blind casting, and age-blind casting more mainstream.”
Though we often learn by example, many times, we learn on our own, utilizing our intuition, for as Dr. Whatley says, “…watching another actor enact your character encourages the actor to do an imitation of that actor rather than creating the character through their own artistic sensibilities, instincts and talents. I prefer that actors create their own performance art, not try to recreate the performance of someone else.”
Veronica Lindholm, who plays Morticia, starts with memorization, then improvisation as far as “coming into the character.” “For songs, it’s pretty easy…melodies kind of help me memorize stuff; I can just listen to it on YouTube. For memorizing lines, I read it a million times until I can’t not know it.
“There’s this really sweet song that Gomez sings with his daughter, Wednesday. It’s called ‘Happy Sad.’ And it’s basically like him saying he’s okay with her growing up, but he’s still sad about it. Every time I listen to it, it makes me cry.”
Even though the show may have sad moments to it, the overall production is filled with witty comedic one liners which stay true to the televised interpretations of the Addams family. The musical also contains several dance breaks with some moves referencing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
To capture the charm, essence, humor and vocals of this PSC production, get tickets at building 8. PSC students can receive a ticket for free if they bring their student ID. Faculty and staff will have to pay $7 for a ticket. Seniors, students and children tickets are $9. The General admission tickets are $11 dollars.
The play debuts October 27th at 7:30 at the Ashmore Auditorium. Other dates are the 28th, 29th and November 3rd through the 5th. Friday and Saturday plays begin at 7:30 while Sunday plays are at 2:30. For more information on the musical call 850-484-1847.