Despite the fact that You Can’t Take It With You is set in 1936, the production put together by this batch of third year students from Dawson’s theatre program still manages to strike a very modern chord with its audience.
The play, which was written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart and won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama at the time of its release, revolves around the story of Ms. Alice Sycamore’s amorous endeavors. When the play starts out, Alice is being called upon by a fine gentleman, Mr. Anthony Kirby, the vice-president of the prestigious firm where she is currently working. Despite being overjoyed by this prospect, Alice can’t help but voice one major concern: how will her beau, whose family affairs have everything to do with Wall Street, contend with the likes of her family’s eccentricity.
The Sycamores of Manhattan are, to say the least, unconventional for their time and the audience will know it right off the bat. A fascination for fireworks, an outspoken playwright, a forlorn dancer: this eccentric family is a puzzle of characters with each one more comical than the next. The Kirbys are parodied as bland, conservative characters which serve the purpose of reminding us of the need for passion in our everyday lives.
A series of unfortunate events has the Kirbys showing up early for dinner and things are thrown, quite literally, into chaos. Needless to say, hilarity ensues.
The play presents audiences with themes and questions which are still very relevant today: What do we prioritize looking to the future? Do we opt for the job that will make us happy, or simply the one that will most likely bring us success?
The cast of the play is made up of young talented actors, lead by Julia Borsellino in the role of Alice. Zachary Guttman also deserves a particular shout-out, playing the vastly entertaining patriarch of the Sycamore clan.
The costumes were well-done in that they helped make the remarkably young crowd of actors seem quite a few decades older than they actually are. This is a considerable challenge considering that half of the characters range from 50 years and older. The choice of music, a jazzy, swing-like soundtrack that lingers in the background, also helped create a dreamy atmosphere.
There was an unmistakable enthusiasm present throughout the production. Cheers to a production that leaves spectators with both food for thought and a heartwarming sense of being at home.
You Can’t Take It With You runs Jan. 31 – 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.