Casting for characters

Quirky play has down home message

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By Melissa Elkins
For Blount Today

The characters on stage are a little kooky, ranging from a snooty, upscale city couple to an odd grandpa at the head of one of the oddest families imaginable. Should the cast be just as quirky?

Leslie Capozzoli, Maryville High School drama teacher and director of the upcoming drama "You Can’t Take It With You," has assembled a cast that may not be "quirky," but do bring to their roles in the upcoming comedy unique character and diversity.

And Capozzoli does twice, with two full casts of students for the comedy that was written more than six decades ago but remains relevant today.

In the play love stems from diversity and creates conflict for a young lovesick couple. Maryville High School drama students will be performing this Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman original on Nov. 11 and 18, at 7 p.m. Performances will also be held on Nov. 12 and 19, at 2 p.m. Two separate casts consisting of Drama II students will be acting in the shows.

"You Can’t Take It With You," tells the story of Alice Sycamore who falls in love with the young, attractive yuppie son of a
rich banker. Alice’s family, however, doesn’t look quite as good on paper as does the family of her boyfriend, the Kirbys.

Alice’s relatives all live together, an extended family all under the same roof, and their livelihoods include fireworks
manufacturing and running a printing press out of the parlor. The Kirbys, who are invited over to the Sycamores’ for dinner one night, are shocked and appalled by the cheap dinner prepared for them and the strange behavior of the Sycamores.

They cannot seem to grasp why their son is in love with a member of this family.

Grandpa Vanderhof, the patriarchal character, has adapted the very philosophy that gives the play its title. Realizing, with the wisdom only a grandfather-figure could possess, that the material items you accumulate in life don’t mean so much in the end, he portrays the message that there is more to life. You can’t take earthly possessions with you, and what really matters in life is fulfilling your dreams and spending time with your family.

Each performance has a student director and stage manager in addition to the instruction of Capozzoli. Capozzoli chose this play because she has directed it before and also performed in her high school production of it.

"The student director and casts in each class are very different," says Capozzoli. "It’s amazing to see the difference between the two different classes. It’s a whole different chemistry. It’s a whole different play."

The cast brings to the stage a wide range of interests and talent, ranging from football and basketball players, to the art/drama students to the highly academic students as well. The diversity of the participants involved in the drama program helps make the play a more interesting and flavorful production.

"It’s a timeless story," Capozzoli said. "It’s been a fun process, and I’m really looking forward to it."

With characters reminiscent of The Addams Family and The Munsters, it’s hard not to laugh at the strange quirks and habits of the Sycamores when interacting with the seemingly normal Kirbys.

This year marks Capozzoli’s second at Maryville High School as a drama teacher. She taught drama at West High School for 14 years and also taught at schools in New York and Arizona.

Josh Caraway, one of the students playing the role of Grandpa Vanderhof, said acting in this production is "a great opportunity for high school kids to get into a character." He described his character as a crazy, old man who wants to live life to the fullest.

"I’m really proud of everyone in the play, and everyone stepping up to the challenge, and hopefully we’ll have a good show," Caraway said.

Caroline Anglim plays the role of granddaughter Alice Sycamore, the young girl who falls in love with the son of a rich man and is worried that the families will clash. Anglim said her challenge in her role is creating the tension between the two families through her character. According to Anglim, the title of the play says it all. "Valuables and possessions aren’t what matters in the end; it’s family," Anglim said. Anglim is no stranger to the stage, however she usually performs in the
Appalachian Ballet Co.

Tickets for "You Can’t Take It With You," are $7 for adults and $5 for students. The play will be held at Maryville High School
Auditorium on Nov.11-12 and Nov. 18-19.

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