The story was updated on 3/3 to reflect recent updates.
The University of St. Thomas’ drama department had its spooktacular opening night of the musical comedy The Addams Family on Thursday, Feb. 24, which will be playing in Jones Theater until Saturday, March 5.
The play features senior psychology majors CeCe Faultry and Abby Meyer as Wednesday Addams, who has grown up and fallen in love with a young man, freshman chemical engineering major Janssen Gutierrez’s Lucas Beineke, who comes from a respectable, sophisticated family. Wednesday confides in her father, Gomez Addams, played by senior political science major Michael Banks, and tells him she desires to marry Lucas. She desperately begs him to not tell her mother, Morticia Addams, played by senior drama major Kassandra Garcia. He agrees.
This arrangement soon becomes a debacle, as the idea of keeping a secret from his wife is something Gomez had never done. Garcia’s Morticia soon gets suspicious, which leads to a build up of unambiguous tension. Then, a drastic turn of events takes place as the family is forced to “act normal” while hosting a dinner for Lucas and his family.
Of course things do not turn out the way the family expects: Deep secrets are revealed, marriages hang on by a thread, and proofs of love unfold. Towards the end of the play, we see a drastic change in character for nearly everyone, amusing the audience and creating even more dramatic tension.
Supporting characters include Lucas’ mother Alice Beineke, played by sophomore integrated humanities major Maria Bello, and his father Mal Beineke, played by freshman chemical engineering major James Kong. The rest of the Addams family cast includes senior cellular molecular biology Afaf Mirza, who stars as Wednesday’s younger brother Pugsley, sophomore drama major Max Martel, who plays Fester, senior drama major Ann Ridley, who plays the Grandma and junior drama major Hunter Filipovitch, who plays Lurch. The chorus, known as “the ancestors,” are played by sophomore drama minor Mia Terry, junior drama major Rhiannon Mansanales, senior biology major Duyen Nguyen, freshman psychology major Grady Sullivan, junior finance major Windell Gradiz and sophomore bilingual education major Vanessa Lopez Coutino.
Many key performances brought the play to life. Banks’ Gomez and Garcia’s Morticia Addams stood out for their realistic portrayal of married life. From the moments when Morticia was feeling happy towards Gomez to times she was full of anger and disappointment, Garcia’s tone of voice and facial expressions changed drastically to fit the mood.
When Gomez begs Morticia for forgiveness, Garcia managed to successfully react as angrily as one would expect of a distressed Morticia, which allowed for her to set a tone of anguish throughout the couple’s argument.
“I was able to adopt some of Morticia’s confidence and use that to really sell the character,” Garcia said of her role.
Her vivid acting paid off, as audience members couldn’t contain their gasps and awe throughout many of her scenes.
The set and lighting had a great impact on the play as well, and the use of black prevailed. The set, which was painted black, included an eerie-looking chair with chains wrapped around it, Gomez’s iconic sword, and the main door of their home, all of which were designed to perfectly depict to the audience the Addams’ family macabre lifestyle. Occasionally, the lights changed to red or were dimmed, which gave the set an extra spookish touch and built audience intrigue.
The costuming was also fundamental and perfectly resembled traditional Addams family dress- it was no surprise that they were black. Gomez and Morticia’s elegance, in particular, was portrayed really well through their costumes: the use of lace in Morticia’s dress and Gomez’s fancy suit and velvet-like robe brought out their dark yet elegant style. Wednesday Addams’ had her iconic ponytails and notorious black with white-collared dress and knee-high socks. Meanwhile the use of yellow in the Beineke’s clothing emphasized the differences between the families, which was done well as it created a complete contrast to Wednesday’s character when she paraded on stage with a bright yellow dress.
The makeup, which was done by junior computer science and philosophy major Amy Crull, Sydney Dunlap, Garcia, Ridley and Terry, portrayed each character’s unique image extremely well. Red lipstick, dark eyebrows, thick black eyeliner and pale foundation on Morticia’s face added an extra touch to her elegance. The older facial features of Ridley’s Grandma were so well done it was hard to tell if she was wearing a mask, latex or even makeup at all.
UST’s drama department was able to make the Addams Family play intriguing, and the play overall was quirky, engaging and full of surprises. Most of all, it taught a very important lesson: never keep secrets from your wife.
The play will run in Jones Auditorium for its second weekend from March 3-5. Tickets can be purchased online, with a selection of seats available to choose from the south, east or west of the stage.