Students take on classic play

Theater department produces ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ with unusual time constraints


Ian Jones

Junior Crosby Dold plays Essie Carmichael, an aspiring ballerina who is tragically, rhythmically challenged.

By Luna Stephens

The cast of “You Can’t Take It With You” faced the normal challenges of putting on a play but with a shortened production schedule.

With one week less than normal to produce the 1930s play, the cast came together for four performances Oct. 8-10.

“It was hectic because it always is,” director Jamie Johnson said. “People are busy and everyone has their own schedule so trying to juggle schedules is kind of hard, and there’s always the pressure of getting everything done because you have people coming. You have the night set, everyone’s going to be there, so you just you got to work right up to the wire.”

The play had a shorter timeline than usual because the production date had to be moved up, but the cast worked hard to make up for it.

“There’s been tough parts here and there,” said Tehreem Chaudhry, who played Mrs. Kirby. “But we’ve really made it through.”

The play is well-known and older — first performed on Broadway in 1936 — which Johnson said is different from anything the program had done in her two years as director.

“It was different than anything that we did last year,” Johnson said. “First off, just that it was very old and had a lot of lines… and the set was different too because we built a full box set for a house.”

The play featured two very different families, the Sycamores and the Kirbys. While the Sycamores were undoubtedly crazy and unexpected, the Kirbys were much more put together. Both families collided when Alice Sycamore and Tony Kirby fell in love.

“Essentially it’s about romance and fireworks,“ said Jesse Belt, who played Tony Kirby. “The Sycamores, they’re kind of a crazy family but they’re down to earth, and she falls in love with Tony, who is the son of a rich family who’s really stuck up.”

The unexpected love forces the two families to find a way to get along, and the Kirbys grow to learn from the Sycamores’ happiness.

“Each person in the [Sycamore] family kind of has a weird personality,” said Nicole Berkley, who played Alice Sycamore. “Then there’s Alice who is the normal one and she’s getting married and her fiance’s family is so much different from hers, and she doesn’t think it’s going to work.”

In the end, everything came together, Johnson said.

“I was so proud of the cast,” she said. “We had kind of a short timeline because we had to move the date of the production, so they worked really hard and my feeling by the end of it was just that I was incredibly proud of how hard they all worked.”

Johnson has already started work on planning the next play, “Godspell,” a musical that will feature a small cast. Auditions will begin soon.

“We just kind of go from one to the next,” she said.