Following the unfortunate cancellation of the professional Australian touring production of The Addams Family, Melbourne audiences are finally being given the opportunity to catch the show – this time, produced by a young, up-and-coming amateur company, OCPAC.
Following the success of last years production of Seussical the Musical, Theatre People spoke to two of the leading women from OCPAC’s newest production, and learned that there are definitely some fun and kooky times ahead for audiences when the show opens on the 27th of September.
With the first sitzprobe taking place on the 22nd of September and technical rehearsals beginning on the 24th, the cast seem unphased by the short amount of time they have to perfect their show, and are quick to praise other cast members and the creative team for their hard work and dedication to creating such a calm space to create. Lucy Ross (who steps into the shoes of the lovely Morticia Addams) commented that, “this cast has worked brilliantly together from the start of rehearsals. I feel as though I have connected with everyone on stage, and we just keep getting better and better.”
Pictured above: The cast in costume, photo by James Terry.
You would think that the reputation of The Addams Family musical, written by Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman with music by Andrew Lippa, based on characters created by Charles Addams, would be enough to scare most people away from the material. The Addams Family short comics, television series, movies and the characters they include have become an ingrained popular culture reference, even to people who have never seen the family visually represented. No matter your limited understanding of Addams Family lore, it seems that most people somehow learn at a young age where to place the famous clicks in the theme tune. This production is Ms. Ross’ first direct experience with the creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky family, whereas Monique Dawes (in the role of Wednesday) auditioned to understudy the role in the professional production and so came to OCPAC with some pre-knowledge of the show. Ms. Ross and Ms. Dawes both seem to understand and have taken control of the massively popular characters they are playing, and look forward to presenting the work they have done in front of a larger audience than their rehearsals have allowed them.
Both women spoke to Theatre People about the iconic characters they are playing and made special mention of their costumes being the finishing touch to accessing the strange mannerisms and mindset of the Addams Family women. “Wearing rehearsal clothes that flow freely and reflect Morticia’s natural wardrobe has definitely been a big help in accessing the character. I’m wearing the traditionally long black wig that defines Morticia’s looks, so I have made sure to wear my hair down for rehearsals.” Ms. Ross also commented that, “heels also help to get me into Morticia’s haughty mindset, so I make sure I don’t go to rehearsals without them.” For Ms. Dawes, props have been the key to allowing her to find the character of Wednesday. “I’m not playing the normal Wednesday character for the entire performance. While I do start out with the dark, pale character that we are used to, Wednesday’s story in this show is that of falling in love and that allows the character to smile more than usual. I’ve really found that props like my cross-bow help me become Wednesday, it’s great to have instruments of torture to play with.”
In addition to speaking to the tight chemistry felt within the cast, both Ms. Dawes and Ms. Ross mentioned that they are particularly looking forward to seeing Sammy Paulin’s performance as Grandma Addams. “It’s amazing to see someone so young playing that part… The makeup and costume design for Grandma is incredible, and she plays the comedy of the role so well that most of the cast struggle to keep straight faces during her scenes.”
The Addams Family musical sure may contain the strangest of characters, but it is sure to entertain even the most normal of theatre goers. To see the talented cast on stage, follow this link to buy tickets, and make sure to like the Old Carey Performing Arts Club on Facebook at this link.