The Hollis Brookline Theatre Department delighted audiences on November 20 and 21 with two performances of the Pulitzer-winning play You Can’t Take It With You. Ticket sales reached a record high for a fall play in the last fifteen years. The first production for Matt Barbosa, HB’s new choir and theatre teacher, and Greg Parker, a social studies teacher at the Middle School, couldn’t have gone better.
“I’m very, very happy with the show,” Barbosa said. “I’m very proud of the work the kids put in… It’s a lot to unpack this style of script and do it well, because comedy is all about timing, and I think the kids…did a good job of portraying the speed and pacing of the writing of the script but also the seriousness that lies underneath.”
You Can’t Take It With You chronicles the rational Alice Sycamore (played by Ava Occhialini ‘17), who tries to prevent her fiancé Tony Kirby’s conservative family from getting to know the true, outlandish behavior of those in her own home. Her carefully crafted plan unravels when Tony brings his parents to the Sycamore’s unexpectedly, and wild antics ensue as tension builds to a breaking point. The show rounds out with a wonderful message from “Grandpa” Martin Vanderhof to his younger kin: do what makes you happy, no matter what others may think.
Watching the production, it was evident how much passion and love both the directors and the talented students put into the show. The quirky characters were cast perfectly, making for fabulous onstage dynamic.
Lauren Moura ‘17 greatly amused the audience as Essie Carmichael, the dim-witted ballet dancing sister of Alice. In almost every scene she could be spotted pirouetting and sashaying across the stage, all while delivering innocently hilarious one-liners.
Joey Schunemann ‘18 brilliantly played the “Grandpa” of the Sycamore family, keeping the audience in stitches with his perfect portrayal of a stubborn, wise old man.
Other standout performances came from two newcomers to the HB stage: Dylan Silcox ‘17 as Mr. De Pinna, the awkward fireworks enthusiast and family friend, and Aaron Velez ‘17 as the romantic Tony Kirby.
“A good show can never be put on without a cohesive cast, and we came together exceedingly well. I could never have asked for a better group of people to acquaint myself with for my first year in Hollis Brookline,” said Velez.
Barbosa, Parker, and the students of the HB Theatre Department kicked off the 2015-16 theatre season with a huge success – one that is most likely a preview of the other wonderful productions to come this year. A big congratulations to the cast and crew on a fantastic show.