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GHS Performing Arts stages a comedy classic

The cast of “You Can't Take it With You” gets into their zany characters by acting a little crazy on stage. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
March 21, 2012
Gilford High School's Preforming Arts Department presents George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's comedy "You Can't Take it With You" as its 2012 spring play, running three nights, Thursday, March 22 through Saturday, March 24 at 7 p.m.

Director/Producer Matt Demko explained during a rehearsal for the show last week that the story focuses on a seemingly crazy family, the Sycamores, that does not fit into the social norms of the time in which the play is set (the late 1930's). The Sycamores' daughter, Alice, played by Heather Hunt, and Tony, son of the seemingly normal Kirby family, played by Chris Weeks, fall in love. The two families meet, and madness ensues.

According to Weeks, the Kirby family is wealthy and close minded. At first, Weeks said, the families do not get along because of the vast philosophical differences between them, but they eventually learn to accept each other.

As for his character, Weeks said he tried to relate to Tony, as Tony was born in a different time from his parents, and is a little more accepting of others. Weeks said he tried to put a lot of emotion in scenes where he confronts his father Mr. Kirby, played by Roland Dubois.

Allie Taylor, who plays Mrs. Kirby, said her character is very proper, a bit stuck up, and tends to judge everyone. Taylor explained that at first, Mrs. Kirby is totally against her son marrying Alice, as she wants a rich wife for her son. Taylor said Mrs. Kirby eventually comes around.

She said it was fun to play a character with a very different personality from her. Taylor said her character gets mad a lot and she enjoys "blowing up" on stage.

Taylor said that overall, the role is one of the easier she has played, but she found it hard to stay in character.

"Sometimes, it's hard to keep a straight face," said Taylor, referring to her character's serious demeanor. "I can't smile. I have to stay stuck-up."

Demko and some of his cast and crew have been pulling double duty, juggling with alternating rehearsals between the spring play and the play for the State Drama Festival. Weeks described this as an "actor's nightmare," as he and his fellow actors had to study their roles for two simultaneous productions, which will be his ninth and tenth productions at GHS.

While Demko said this was stressful for cast, crew and the production team, he said things were beginning to mesh.

"Everyone is starting to enjoy it now," said Demko. "They are getting comfortable, and starting to get the jokes. There is a lot of personality on set."

Demko praised his student Assistant Director/ Producer, Shannon McQueen. Demko said she usually is on stage for shows, but decided to learn a different aspect of theater for her final GHS show. He also thanked his hard working Technical Crew, led by Scott Piddington and senior Bryson Eddy.

While there is only one set and no scene changes, Demko said the Tech Crew tracked down authentic furniture and props for the time period including a cast iron printing press.

Eddy said they searched around and found just one down the street, at the Thompson Ames Historical Society in the Grange building.

Overall, Demko said the show was a lot of fun, and is popular with many high schools and colleges because it is a family show with an unusually large number of speaking roles for a non-musical.

Tickets are $6 at the Gilford Village Store.

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