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Father and Son Set to Give ‘Monster’ Performances in ‘Young Frankenstein’

By ANGYE MORRISON

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Father and son duo Brooks and Brandon Adams will bring the lead characters to life in the Averitt Center’s production of “Young Frankenstein” this month on the Emma Kelly Stage.

“Young Frankenstein” is scheduled for October 13-15 at 7:30 p.m. and October 16 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at www.averittcenterforthearts.org or by calling (912) 212-2787. .

For Brandon, who just completed his second year at Georgia Southern, this will be his seventh production with his father and their fifth at the Averitt. Brooks has appeared in 35 productions at the Averitt since 2012. He says some of his favorite roles include Daddy Warbucks in “Annie,” Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” and Corny Collins in “Hairspray.”

Brooks’ wife, Danielle, also shared the stage with them and is choreographing the current production. Their daughter Darien is also an actress and dancer, and their son Jake was a stagehand in some of his father’s shows.

For this month’s production, Brandon will take on the role of Dr. Frankenstein, while Brooks will play the monster himself. He calls the show a high watermark for the two.

“We were both cast in ‘Young Frankenstein’ in 2016, but outside issues forced the show to be canceled until this year. The original movie is one of my favorite movies, and Brandon and I enjoyed it many times,” he said.

To act, Brandon says he just fell into it after watching his dad.

Brooks Adams and his son Brandon rehearse a scene from “Young Frankenstein”.
– photo by SCOTT BRYANT / Staff

“I saw him do all these shows, and I liked it, but I didn’t get it all at first. I couldn’t see myself doing that,” he said.

But during his high school years at Statesboro High, he joined the drama class, taught by Eddie Frazier, and he ended up doing several shows and he found he liked it. He says that eventually his dad “kind of forced” him to try a show with him. He got a role in “A Christmas Carol”.

For Brooks, it all started with “The Nutcracker.” Darien was dancing in the show, and he was asked to play a party parent, and he said he thought he could handle standing still and letting people dance around him. This led to other roles, which he said were purely accidental.

“The first time I went on stage, I was 40 years old. I had never done anything like this before. And I haven’t stopped since,” he says, smiling.

Both men really enjoy performing on stage.

“There’s a very strange thing in my brain,” Brandon said. “Everyday things terrify me. It does not mean anything. I might walk into Subway and they ask me what kind of bread I want, and I stumble over my words. But every time I work on a piece, all that noise in my head, it calms down.

Acting, he adds, makes sense to him and is “just natural”. He also enjoys the sense of community and camaraderie between the actors.

“It’s the easiest way I’ve ever come across with anyone,” he added.

For Brooks, it’s become a great way to deal with his anxiety. He says he has trouble being one-on-one with people.

“But on stage, give me a room full of 350 people, and I feel more connected there than anywhere else,” he said.

Getting into a character – really inhabiting that character – is a process he really enjoys.

“When you’re on stage and you’re doing something funny and people are laughing, it’s kind of a rush,” Brooks said.

Brandon says that sometimes when he’s preparing for a role, well, he doesn’t.

“Sometimes I just look at the script and part of my brain just says I know what this character is like. And then at some point I accidentally memorized all my lines, and then it’s time to move on,” he said.

Other times, he says he spends a lot of time with the script and researches previous performances of the role.

“I just really get inspired, and I take bits and pieces of whatever I can find and then I say, OK, here’s what I’m going to do,” he said. “Everything that comes out is my own brand of Frankenstein monster.”

Young

Brooks Adams, left, and his son Brandon discuss costumes with director Eddie Frazier, center, following a rehearsal for the Averitt Center for the Arts production of Young Frankenstein.
– photo by SCOTT BRYANT / Staff

Father and son spend a lot of time together watching movies and their actors.

“We really look at the characters, what they do and how they’re played. We follow actors and actresses to see their performances, what they do and how they do it,” Brooks said.

As for his take on Frankenstein, “My monster is going to be my monster,” he said.

Brandon says that for his role, it’s a bit tricky.

“It’s Gene Wilder’s role, and I’m just borrowing it,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to make an impression of him because he thought it would be disrespectful. “It’s about finding the balance between what he does and applying it to myself.”

Brooks calls Peter Boyle in that same Mel Brooks movie starring Wilder a masterclass in acting, and he adds that Brooks is a genius writer and director.

“He makes us laugh, but he put a lot of work into this role,” he said of Boyle. “Yes, it’s a comedy, but there’s also a lot of substance to find and plug into. It allowed me to play with my own angst, and I’m going to try to humanize the monster a bit.

Of their fellow cast members, Brooks says they all seem to love the original film as much as he does.

“It’s a cast, I would say, of just people who love this script, who love this movie and want to do it justice. This time around, everyone wants to be there, everyone wants to do their best and it shows,” he said. “We’ve got some heavyweight talent that just wanted to be a part of this thing.

The bottom line, both men say, is that they hope audiences appreciate their take on the classic.

“Hopefully they appreciate us for what we brought to the table,” Brandon said. “It’s just a little beyond, oh I have to rewatch ‘Young Frankenstein’. It will be, I have to rewatch it with these people and they have been worth it.

Brooks agrees.

“I hope we will make (the experience) richer; I hope we will improve it. I hope people enjoy it and I hope people come back to the Averitt Center based on what they see,” he said.

The rest of the main cast includes Eric Mims (Igor), Isabel Vicens (Inga), Ashley Horton (Elizabeth Benning), Christie McLendon (Frau Blücher), Alan Tyson (Inspector Kemp), Jamey Saunders (The Hermit), Bunyan Morris ( Betram Batram) and Thom Mortimer (Felix).

Catch “Young Frankenstein” October 13-15 at 7:30 p.m. or October 16 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at www.averittcenterforthearts.org or by calling (912) 212-2787.

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