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Theater club “takes” the stage

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The satirical comedy “You Can’t Take it With You” debuted at the Skyline Theater Nov. 7, to an enthusiastic reception. The deadpan delivery and good timing of the comedy caused a permanent grin to remain among the faces of the audience throughout the play.

The well-seasoned director Kevin Simmers – drama, pilates, and yoga instructor at Skyline College, took on the daunting challenge of putting the acclaimed play together in a mere six weeks and managed to successfully adapt the heartfelt and funny nature of the script. Simmers’ choice to “break the 4th wall,” which in modern theater means breaching the imaginary barrier that separates the audience from the actors by openly and directly addressing the public, was ideal for showcasing each performer’s individual talents.

“Well it’s one of the great classic American plays, I was a little intimidated, because it’s a great American comedy but you have to be careful, a comedy can be sometimes more difficult to direct than a straight drama,” said Simmers, “I picked this play, because I wanted the students to have a ensemble of an experience with a large cast.”

“It is apparent that Kevin put careful thought into the show when challenging his actors and shaping both their talent and the comedy as a whole into a gifted performance full of laughter and hours and hours of hard work” said student Jerry Agcaoili.

The facetious jokes and witty quips that characterize and add to the amusing nature of Kaufman and Hart’s piece. The core of the story revolves around the conflict between two dissonant households during the Great Depression. The frivolousness of monetary wealth arises during an eventful dinner between the Sycamore’s and the Kirby’s. With the goal of introducing her boyfriend Tony Kirby to her family, the Sycamore’s level headed daughter Alice, acts as catalyst that encourages both residences to love and accept each other despite their background.

Among the varied members of the family living in Manhattan’s Upper West Side; there’s the typewriting matriarch driven by her creative impulses, an amateur ballerina by the name of Essie Sycamore, and her husband Edward Carmichael, a multifaceted Trotsky inclined musician who is influenced by tax-evading and heart-driven Grandpa Martin Vanderhof.

In contrast the uptight Kirby family who are visibly unsettled by their son’s choice of partner. Both families are thrown together and forced to leave aside their prejudiced notions following an unexpected encounter with the IRS.

The Pulitzer Prize winning drama showcased actors of varying experience levels. Erin Perry, in her debutante role, played Penelope Sycamore, while experienced actors Martin James Kuhn and Ben Rampley played Boris Kolenkhov and Grandfather, respectively. They enhanced the hilarity at the nucleus of the play and raised the quality of the ensemble as a whole with their formidable presence. Throughout the duration of the show the cast members commanded the stage with flowing conversation despite there being room for improvement in regards to diction.

“The actors were really into character, they represented the times really well not only through use of adequate costume design but also through very good use of dialect” said audience member, Jennifer McAdams, “I thought that the grandfather’s performance really brought the play together.”

 

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The student news site of Skyline College.
Theater club “takes” the stage