SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ -- It’s that time of year again, when the SPF HS students in the Drama Club take on the challenge of playing unusual roles. This year’s production, directed by Kale Thompson, a music instructor at Terrill Middle School, will be the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “You Can’t Take it With You.”
The show revolves around the eccentric Sycamore family, which features a Grandpa who has never paid income tax, a father who creates fireworks in the basement, a mother who writes bizarre plays, among various other extended family members. The plot thickens when one of their daughters, Alice Sycamore, becomes engaged to Tony Kirby, a young man from a successful, “normal” family.
“It's been a fun challenge because we've been reworking this show," said Thompson. "The biggest change is that there was gender blind casting. It changed the whole dynamic of the show.”
The character of Grandpa (also referred to as Martin Vanderhof), for example, is typically portrayed by a male, yet in this production he will be portrayed by junior Caitlin Bourke.
“It was difficult because not only did I have to portray a character from a different time period, but I also had to change everything about myself as a person, my voice, my mannerisms,” Bourke said, reflecting on the process of playing a role opposite her gender.
“I had to think a lot about the background of the character, how her hobbies related to her family and friends. Once you have a good background of a character, it's easier to interpret. She finds the bright side of weird situations, which can be funny at times for the audience,” indicated sophomore Raina Jablon about the process of getting into character. Jablon portrays Penny Sycamore, the unconventional matriarch of the Sycamore family.
The unique family’s antics will be something to look forward to, as many of the actors have expressed.
“You’ll see lots of fireworks," suggested Nathaniel Redmount, a junior who portrays Paul Sycamore, the father of the Sycamore family. "There’s plenty of being loud and having fun in general, and displaying the importance of having an enthusiastic outlook.”
All in all, the story can promise a lovable message, as illustrated through Tony Kirby’s willingness to accept the Sycamores despite their many flaws.
“Throughout the play, Tony sees not how strange these people are, but the love they have for each other in such a carefree way,” explained Ryan Lopez, a junior who portrays Tony Kirby.
There will be three performances: a Friday, December 2nd show at 7 p.m., a Saturday, Dec. 3rd matinee show at 2:00 p.m., and a Saturday night show at 7:00 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for ticket sales with nighttime shows. Tickets can be purchased for $8.00 online through the following link: http://m.bpt.me/event/2705115