“You Can’t Take It with You” is as eccentric a play as the family it portrays. Combining communism, chivalry, fireworks, and wall street, this play spans the spectrum of human emotion and experience in general. It takes the star-crossed lovers archetype and sets it against a backdrop so unconventional that it results in a surprisingly profound message in the end.
The entirety of the three acts are performed within the setting of the Vanderhof-Sycamore-Carmichael family home, with the traveling circus of characters cycling through during the various scenes. In short, the play tells the tale of a young couple deeply in love, tragically kept apart by their radically different families. Alice Sycamore, the only “normal” member of her family, is madly in love with the son of the president of the company she works for. The man in question, Tony, hails from the very wealthy Kirby clan, and spends the majority of the play trying to convince Alice that their love can overcome whatever filial barrier stands between them.
LFHS’s performances took place this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights in the RMA. Despite the heavy thunderstorms that rolled in on the final night, the (somewhat waterlogged) crowds still came in droves to see the latest addition to the LFHS theater department’s impressive resume. Led by a seasoned cast of upperclassmen, the three performances went off without a hitch.
Unless you’re a theater buff, odds are good that you hadn’t heard of the play before its debut at LFHS. When asked what made this particular play stand out, senior Elizabeth Clayton (if you saw the show, you might know her better as Alice Sycamore) said, “ It really has such an important message—to not be so obsessed with the things of the world, things that we can’t take with us—thus putting the whole thing together was such an honor.”
And while it may seem a simpler performance given that the set stayed the same throughout the entirety of the play, the amount of rehearsal time and production it took to put it all together says otherwise. Senior Peter Sullivan, in addition to wowing the audience with his xylophone skills while playing Ed Carmichael, added that, “The show was a lot of fun to put on, but behind the scenes it was a really difficult one to pull off. The whole show is chaotic and fast paced, and we had to get the timing perfectly or else it wouldn’t work. We accomplished this by doing each scene over and over again until we almost went crazy.”
And as far as those iconic stage kisses go between Alice and Tony, junior Jacob Koefelda maintained that he didn’t tell his family about them beforehand.“I wasn’t exactly sure how to casually bring that up, so I figured that I would wait and let them find out on their own,” he said. “My cousin came up to me after the performance and said, ‘Jake, I think you just scarred your mum for life!’ My parents remained silent.”
All actors credited the directing skills of Mr. Pulio as a large factor in the play’s success, in addition to the community the cast formed through countless hours spent in rehearsal. Elizabeth said, “While playing Alice Sycamore was a bit difficult for me, as I am not used to playing the happy love interest character, my fellow actors supported me and made the experience so much better! Mr. Pulio is also an amazing director. While he can be really hard on us, it’s because he really cares and wants to push us to do our best.”