FFHS staging classic comedy

Nicholas Donaldson

Fort Frances High School students will be taking on a classic movie monster with their adaptation of the Gene Wilder/Mel Brooks comedy “Young Frankenstein.”
The show opens tomorrow night and runs through Saturday at the Townshend Theatre.
Showtime is 7 p.m. each night and tickets, available at Northwoods Gallery & Gifts and the door, cost $7 for adults and $5 for students/seniors.
Grade 11 student Katelyn Bruyere will is in the lead role of Freddie Frankenstein, Victor’s grandson and the part played by Gene Wilder in the 1974 film.
“Freddie is a young American scientist,” Bruyere noted after Sunday’s rehearsal.
“The play starts off with him lecturing, but he finds out he has inherited land from his grandfather and he must travel to Transylvania to claim it,” she explained.
“Over the play he kind of goes a little crazy.”
Grade 10 student Cassidy Martin is taking on the role of Frankenstein’s monster, who she says is very misunderstood.
“They get scared a lot, and don’t understand why people don’t like them and get angry really easily,” she noted.
Both admitted they have seen parts of the famous movie but never the whole thing.
Bruyere said she’s been trying to incorporate some of Wilder’s performance into hers but Martin is going a different route.
“I didn’t want to get influenced by it because Mr. Michaud has changed it quite a bit,” she remarked.
The director, FFHS teacher Dany Michaud, adapted the play from the movie script, but removed a few things to cut down on time and take out some of the more risque parts.
“There are still a few scenes that stayed true to the movie script and imply some ‘not so PG’ material, but nothing that really pushes the envelope too far,” he assured.
“There are some jokes that the older audience will enjoy but the younger audience won’t understand,” echoed Bruyere.
In fact, Bruyere thinks people are going to really enjoy the twists they’ve put into it.
“Even though it is based on the movie, it is quite a bit different,” she reiterated.
“We’ve been able to add our own jokes into it and make the play our own.”
Bruyere and Martin agreed the play offered something for everyone–regardless of whether or not they have seen the movie.
“People will like a lot of the quirkiness and a lot of the characters,” Martin said.
Martin also mentioned the “prisoner” scene where she, as the monster, breaks free and attacks fellow cast member Roman Spuzak.
“He makes it really realistic and it scares me a lot because I don’t actually throw him, but he makes me feel like I’m throwing him,” she explained.
Other than the on-stage moments, Martin said her favourite thing about doing the play has been growing closer with the cast.
“You make a lot of new friends and it’s really nice to meet new people in different grades,” she noted.
Bruyere agreed, adding it’s been nice being able to work with some of the Grade 7 and 8 students who now attend Fort High.
“Even though they are new to this, it was fun being able to mentor them and just meet them because they are the kids we are going to be working with for the next few years, hopefully,” she reasoned.
Both actors also admitted there’s been some difficulty with accents throughout the cast.
“I’m glad that my character is American because I can keep my accent,” Bruyere laughed. “But almost everyone has had their trouble with accents.
“Now we are getting used to them and settling in,” she assured.
For her part, Martin said she’s been having trouble with her “monster” voice, especially because she also is in this fall’s musical revue.
“I’ve hurt my voice because I have musical revue practice, which is usually higher singing, and then I have this and I strain my vocal cords,” she explained.
“I need to drink some tea,” she quipped.
But despite a few problems, both said they’re very confident and excited for the show, and encourage everyone to come out for some laughs and a show that will suit the Hallowe’en season.
“It’s totally going to be worth coming to,” Martin pledged.
“Everybody’s worked really hard and we hope that a lot of people come,” said Bruyere.