THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Strangely enough, the act of emerging from a dusty old crypt has been one of the absolute highlights of my summer. It has been an unexpected joy to be a member of the Addams family, a troupe replete with wildly funny and highly colorful individuals (don’t let the ghostly white makeup fool you). This bunch of crazy, happy people is most certainly alive and kicking up a powder storm of unabashed joy every night.
Rehearsals for The Addams Family occurred simultaneously with Man of LaMancha, offering the company a great chance to embrace contrasting styles of contemporary and classic fare. While Addams specializes in a lighter tone of slapstick and crisp comedic moments, it provides a surprisingly emotional punch through its heartfelt themes of embracing differences and cherishing family bonds. Our fantastic director, Scott Seidl, emphasized the core message of the show throughout the amazingly efficient rehearsal process, which focused on bold choices and tight pacing. Our insightful choreographer, Marisa Kirby, created a highly specific movement vocabulary that accentuated the quirky style of the family and beautifully complemented the score. We were also led by the fearless Lizzie Hatfield, whose strong musical direction aided and abetted in the sharp delivery of darkly humorous and often poignant lyrics. On opening night, we were reminded to keep words from the closing number in mind for the duration of the run:
Move toward the darkness. Welcome in your pain.
Let each foreign forest offer you its rain.
Only at our lowest can we rise above.
Move toward the darkness and Love.
I have truly loved performing this show; it is such a wonderful send-up of old-school vaudeville combined with contemporary sensibilities and has something for every audience member of every generation. As the Bride Ancestor (I have named her Elizabeth Addams, a wistful gal doomed to a failed engagement and quite a few overdramatic crying spells) it has been a riot to unveil myself at the top of each performance in the throes of a dusty cloud. It has been a great time trying not to choke on the powder as I toss my bouquet and join in the annual family line dance, haha. Everyone on that stage is sincerely having a grand time, and the audience gets swept along with us for a wild ride of a night. Several community members have commented that our close friendships offstage translate well onto the stage, and that is particularly true with this show; we are indeed a family united, our bonds made stronger by embracing our differences and cultivating the best in each other.
When my family visited Bigfork in July, they were able to see the production, and it was so wonderful having loved ones in the audience collectively sharing in the joy of the show. Funnily enough, a visiting couple from Ohio (alumni of YSU and KSU) also attended the show that night and conversed with me pre-show about our shared Youngstown experiences and mutual Penguin pride. Although we had just met that evening, it felt like we were old friends. That evening really highlighted the importance of family for me, being surrounded by caring family members, compassionate visiting alumni, and amazing fellow artists. There really is nothing like family, and though life may seem crazy at times, we must never lose sight of their deep-rooted love.