Play offers lessons to take with you

The Fall season of Theatre TCU is coming to an end, and what better way is there to do so than with a “bang?” George S. Kauffman and Moss Hart’s 1930’s classic “You Can’t Take it With You,” which opens Nov. 15, does just that.

The show was sold out after two days and there have been requests for more performances.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning romantic comedy offers the message that people have the tendency to take life too seriously and don’t take time to enjoy it.

Harry Parker, chair of the theatre department and director of the show, said, “It’s important that we are reminded to relax and have fun; that message is always in style.”

The play shares the story of the Sycamores, an eccentric yet loving family.

“The family has adopted the philosophy that they should spend time doing what makes them happy,” Parker said.

To accomplish this, the family engages in activities ranging from pointe dancing in the living room to building firecrackers in the basement.

“It’s a very funny play,” Parker said. “It’s a play young people should hear. It encourages that they make decisions based on correct priorities while they are still young.”

The performance of “You Can’t Take it With You,” the first play performed on the University Theatre stage, comes at an auspicious time.

“In 1949,” Parker said, “(the theater) was called The Little Theatre. In 1965, it was called ‘The University Theatre,’ and it has stayed that way until this fall.”

Saturday evening’s performance, which is not open to the public, will also include a ceremony renaming the facility The Jerita Foley Buschman Theatre.

The enthusiasm surrounding the show seems to circulate through the entire company, resulting in an overwhelming group effort.

When asked why the show intrigued her, costuming professor and designer LaLonnie Lehman replied: “The first thing is the enthusiasm of the director. Then, it’s because it is such a wonderful play among a warm period.”

Such enthusiasm is a requirement when doing a show of such a large scale.

“We needed a long rehearsal period, due to its many working parts,” Parker said. “There are more people on stage and the show is heavy on props. We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time.”

Understandably, a production of this magnitude and style requires a breathtaking and unique set, which is being provided by scenic designer Nancy McCauley.

This extravagant two-story set becomes the dwelling for the many strange belongings to a very strange family.

The cast and crew have also put a great deal of work into costume design for the production.

“The costumes reflect what they would be wearing in their own living rooms in that period,” Lehman said. “Color is a medium I like to work with most. Each character has a personality I think I’ve developed through color.”

Despite the different areas of the production that each of the company members are working on, their efforts will find their way to the same place on opening night. To stay updated regarding extra performances, contact the Theatre TCU Box Office at 817-257-5770.