Charming, dysfunctional, madcap foray into comedic love

Web photo.

The MHCC theatre department is opening its spring play, “You Can’t Take it with You,” this weekend, and I got the opportunity to sit in while the cast and crew did a run-through of the show. The play tells the story of a girl named Alice Sycamore who is from a very wacky, eccentric family who falls in love with Tony Kirby, the son of a Wall Street company executive.

While the two are very much in love, Alice doubts whether Tony’s family would be able to get along with the antics of her family, considering that the Kirby family is of a strict, conservative background. The Sycamores are certainly the opposite, as they are much more of a diverse, free-thinking family whose philosophy values an unrestricted way of living life.

Audiences will get to know each unique family member, and the comedic way they all communicate with one another. At the helm of the numerous atypical personalities in the household is Martin Vanderhof, who is more commonly referred to as Grandpa. His character best embodies the values of the Sycamore family, seeing as he was once a successful businessman, but decided to leave his job solely to relax and enjoy life.

The crowd can also look forward to watching distinctly humorous characters such as Boris Kolenkhov, a Russian who escaped to America before the Russian revolution and expresses his concerns for world politics with his unmistakable accent. For many of the Sycamore family members, their main goal is to make sure everyone is happy, no matter what it is they do.

The original play premiered back in 1936, and has since become a very popular comedy in the theater community.

Given the time of its release, the work reflects the Great Depression era of the United States, and the plot includes plenty of references to the setting. Viewers will immediately be transported to the historical period through the detail of the set, the props, and the music. From their first  glance, they will notice the old-fashioned furniture, typewriter, printing press, and the definitive dining room setup, all of which the characters interact with throughout the show.

MHCC’s production will be performed in the Studio Theatre, which has a smaller stage that is cozy and intimate. Despite the dated setting, this play actually features a lot of dynamics that can be found relatable today. Through the opposing philosophies on living life from the two families, and the love bond that is questioned due to differing upbringings, this play contains themes that resonate beyond the comical performances.

“You Can’t Take It With You” can be seen starting tonight at 7:30 p.m. It repeats at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, and then 7:30 p.m. May 18 through May 20.

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