PHOTO: Wednesday Addams (Jordyn Laird) gets engaged to Lucas (James McIntosh) but his parents are put off by the unusual Addams family. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)
Jordyn Laird is having to train herself not to smile so much.
The Grade 12 student is finding not smiling the biggest challenge in playing Wednesday Addams, the gothicly smile-less daughter in the Brookswood Secondary School’s Musical Theatre Co. production of The Addams Family.
Still she’s enjoying being part of that family in the neighbourhood that isn’t quite like all the others.
Laird said the Addams family, despite being very different from their neighbours, support each other and love each other.
“The family sticks together no matter what happens,” she said. “People grow and people change, but you always have your core people in your life.”
On the surface, the school chose something frothy and fun replete with songs and elaborate costuming and makeup.
Laird, who wants to study psychology after high school and become a foresensic psychologist working in profiling and forensic analysis, has performed in other BSS productions, including Urinetown, Thouroughly Modern Millie, Legally Blonde, and In the Heights.
“I love to be on stage,” she said. “A lot of people think that it’s for the thrill of being in the spotlight but for me, it’s about getting a reaction out of the audience.”
In this instance, the reaction comes when the audience meets Wednesday, the young women in the unorthodox Addams family. She’s come of age and has fallen in love, even getting engaged to a young man named Lucas (played by James McIntosh).
“Wednesday falls in love with a young man,” she explained. “She keeps a big secret from her family which causes chaos.”
PHOTO: One big happy family – Jordyn Laird (left) plays Wednesday while Devin Venne (right) is Pugsly in the Brookswood Musical Theatre production of The Addams Family. The parents are Brett Dick (Gomez) and Nicole Lanki as Morticia. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)
Brett Dick portrays Gomez Addams while Morticia, his drop dead gorgeous wife, is played by Nicole Lanki. Their children (Laird as Wednesday) and Devin Venne (Pugsly) are joined on stage by extended family – Cole Horvat as Uncle Fester and Ally Ray as grandma. The quirky household also includes Lurch, the butler, (Sheen Wang) and It (Riley Car) whose costume alone is worth the admission.
There’s lots of fun, no lack of gallows humour and the live music. Teacher Sheri Eyre explained that there are many people working to create the “crazy and kooky vibe” for this musical.
“We have 25 cast members, around 10 backstage crew, plus many stagecraft students and parents working on building the set and making props,” she said. “We have an 18-piece orchestra entirely made up of students.”
Derrick Turi and Emily Hamel are handling music while Pauline Dynowski oversees choroegraphy, and Eyre and fellow teacher Gordon Hamilton are in charge of artistic direction.
When it came to creating the production, they sought out inspiration.
“The Addams have a very iconic look. We have looked at the TV show, the movies and also Charles Addams’ original cartoons for inspiration,” she said. “We were able to borrow costume and set pieces from Align Entertainment and Chilliwack School for the Performing Arts.”
As well, Brookswood has several former students who came back to help with technical elements. Mitch Deeming is working out the sound cues and mic changes. Kelly Newman, who is now working as a professional makeup artist, is designing the makeup for the Addams and the Ancestors.
The play runs Feb. 8 to 11 and Feb. 15 to 18. All shows start at 7 p.m. in the Brookswood school theatre, 20902 37A Ave.
Tickets can be had through Brown Paper Advance tickets are $13.41 ($12 plus fees) and can be purchased at the website Brown Paper Tickets (bssaddamsfamily.brownpapertickets.com).
“While the show does celebrate the macabre, it is suitable for all ages. The plot really is about the family as a place of strength and belonging,” Eyre said.
While the Addams are odd, they are also always there for each other no matter what.
“It also celebrates weirdness, which I think is a really cool thing for young people to hear. As we grow up, we want to fit in and belong,” she added. “It shows us that being ‘normal’ is overrated and we should embrace the odd, the kooky and the strange. As Mortica says, ‘Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider, is a calamity for the fly’.”
Laird likes the underlying message of this show.
“We’re not the typical family,” she said. “And a lot of times differences scare people.”
She sees a kind of poignancy in the concept of a family considered outsiders and acceptance of people’s differences, a message that resonates given the current global political climate since the election of Donald Trump in the United States.
“It kind of works with what’s going on right now,” Laird said.
PHOTO: The show features live music by Brookswood students, under the direction of teacher Derrick Turi. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)