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From taking the lead to managing back stage, it's all about the people

The Addams Family Musical lead and stage manager talk about what it's like to be part of the Duchess Park Theatre Company.
Lily Watchell, Duchess Park Secondary School Grade 9 student, takes the lead role of Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family Musical presented until April 27.

Wednesday Addams takes to the stage during Duchess Park Secondary School Theatre Company’s presentation of The Addams Family Musical until April 27.

Lily Watchell, Grade 9 Duchess Park student and narrator during last year’s Game of Tiaras spoof, is this year’s lead.

“She came out of nowhere last year, spent the whole play on stage and was really impressive,” Jackie Friesen, drama teacher, said.

The Duchess Park Theatre Company, with Shelby Meaney and Jackie Friesen at the helm, held mock auditions last year, asking students to sing a song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, because how else are you going to find out if you have enough students who sing to pull off a musical?

This is Watchell’s first musical and she’s one of the most dedicated students to the production, helping with painting parts of the set and showing she’s a jack-of-all-trades, Friesen added.

There were 11 people who auditioned for the lead role.

“I was pretty clueless up until the very end,” Watchell laughed.

“It’s pretty great. I don’t have any singing experience outside of school but I like to think that I am better now than I was at the beginning of rehearsals.”

Friesen is nodding her head in agreement at this point.

“But yeah, it’s pretty awesome,” Watchell said. “This role is a lot more work than the role of narrator last year but I’m happy for it.”

Watchell said she will keep participating in drama at Duchess but she’s not sure about what will happen after graduation.

“I have learned so much since we started – acting and working with the soundtrack for the show – and I think everybody knows so much more than they did at the beginning of the show. There’s so much more to learn when the show is a musical.”

On the other end of the spectrum to being in the spotlight is Piper Dougherty, Grade 12, stage manager. She was Belle last year and wanted more of a  backstage role during this year’s production.

“If I was hit by a bus tomorrow she could take over,” Friesen said. “She’s the one that knows the show just as well as Shelby and I do.”

Last year Dougherty took an interested in film.

“I’ve done speech arts basically my whole life so I’ve been performing every single year since I started when I was like six years old,” Dougherty explained. “So I wanted to see what it was like behind the scenes. So I signed up for crew. And they could’ve put me anywhere backstage because I was just happy to be there and then they asked if I wanted to do this (stage manage) and I said ‘I am so down’.”

The stage manager position for the musical offers a glimpse into what it might be like on a film set.

“I am looking into going to film school and being a director of movies so this felt like a good way to gauge if I would enjoy that or not,” Dougherty said.

She has spent time behind-the-scenes on a film set and thought that was pretty cool.

“But I don’t know if I’m totally invested in it yet,” Dougherty said.

“It’s really nice to walk into the theatre and people are saying ‘Piper, do you know where this is? Do you know where that is?’ I’m needed and yes, I know where that thing is!”

For both Dougherty and Watchell it’s all about the people they are working with that makes being part of the production something truly special.

“We spend a lot of time together and you get to know everyone pretty well,” Watchell said.

It’s pretty special when you find a group of people who are all invested in one thing and it’s all fun.”