Daily Egyptian

McLeod Presents ‘The Addams Family’ in a different light

A new outfit can make all the difference.

The SIU theater department opens its 2015-16 schedule with “The Addams Family,” a musical directed by J.Thomas Kidd, which runs Oct. 22-25 at McLeod theater. The production is based on the Broadway adaptation of the famous cartoon, TV show and series of movies. 

To make it different from other versions, Kidd, along with his costume and make-up designers, decided to alter their version by using a Day of the Dead theme. Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 to remember the deceased.

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The show’s make-up designer, Andie Nicks, a graduate student in costume design from Colombia, S.C., helped create the productions concept.

Everyone in the production is wearing cosmetics of some kind, she said. A lot the of the cast has pale faces, echoing some of the classic representations, but the 12 ancestor characters have unique sugar skull inspired masks. 

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Nicks said this construction makes the play more upbeat.

“To bring in the day of the dead theme when we are so close to Halloween will be a fun little twist,” she said.

Each characters’ mask expresses various aspects of the individual, going as far to display how certain ancestors have died. Because of this, Nicks said designing the play’s layout was a meticulous process.

“There is a level of responsibility you feel to make sure these characters are definitely what everyone knows and loves,” she said.

Libby Mueth, graduate student in theater from Murphysboro, agrees with Nicks. Mueth is a costume designer for the production, with the wardrobe also serving as her thesis project.

“You have to treat it delicately,” she said. “You don’t want to come in with a hot pink Morticia [Addams].”

Mueth’s job as a costume designer involves reading the script, developing a unified concept with other members of the crew and then bringing images and designs to solidify a visual motif.

Various states of decay are represented via make-up and costumes. To create several looks, the crew looked at pictures of dilapidated and abandoned buildings.

“We are looking at exploring how the natural world is taking over,” she said.  

While the show represents some aspects of well-known productions, Mueth said the SIU’s version had to represent the group’s original ideas.  

Asia Ward, a freshman from Rockford studying musical theater, finds the idea of taking an old play and adding new elements exciting and comforting.

“It’s really fun to take something everyone knows and loves and put it on stage, but also have a new twist on it,” she said.

Ward plays one of the ancestors, a former spy from England who died by a firing squad. She said Kidd was very detail and ensemble-oriented. 

The make-up went through many stages and processes to get where it is, Ward said. It began really simplistic, but then escalated and became more complicated. She said making everything cohesive was important to the theme of the play.

“The Adams Family is about family,” Ward said. “Whether you are living or dead, family is family.”

Tickets will cost $18 dollars for adults and $6 dollars for children and students. Kidd will deliver a pre-show lecture at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday discussing horror-influenced pop culture. 

The lecture is free and open to anyone.

Jacob Pierce can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JacobPierce1_DE    

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