Franklin — Franklin High School's production of "You Can't Take It With You" will feature more than enough crazy characters to fill the stage, especially since they're presenting the classic comedy with two full casts.
This year, according to director Richard Gould, a large number of students auditioned for the school's fall play. Opting to include more students and utilize even more talent, he and Kevin Nettesheim, the show's other director, split the show into two separate casts.
"When there were first auditions, there was a bunch of people that went out. And after that, (the directors) had realized that, wow, we have a lot of talent here ... and we want to share this amount of talent with everyone and create two casts," said freshman Grace Jazwiecki, who plays a character named Donald.
This is the first year FHS has put on a show with two different casts, with a total of about 40 student-actors, and the second year they will be performing in the new Saber Center. Each cast will perform in two of the four shows, presented at 6 p.m. Nov. 9 and 10, and 7 p.m. Nov. 11 and 12.
Twice as crazy
The play "You Can't Take It With You," by George Kaufman and Moss Hart, is known for its wide variety of quirky characters, further immortalized on the silver screen in 1938 by renown actors James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore and Jean Arthur.
So throughout the past few months, the directors have dealt with double the eccentric Russian dance instructors, pyrotechnic fathers, and clumsy ballerinas.
This wide variety of characters fit into the Sycamore family, whose idiosyncrasies lead the play to be filled with fireworks, fine art, and farce. Everything is as fine as it could be in the Sycamore household until Alice Sycamore gets engaged to Tony Kirby, whose family is far more straight-laced. When their two worlds collide, chaos ensues.
This chaos is one of junior Vincent Alcala's favorite parts, as he gets to interact with the Kirby family.
"I walk up to him — his name is Mr. Kirby — and I say, 'Oh you would make an excellent wrestler. Look, you're built for it!' And I grab him and I sweep his legs from underneath him and he goes down, and I get on top of him and people try and pull me off," said Alcala, who plays the family's Russian dance instructor Boris Kolenkhov. "It's really a great scene."
Unique to actors
Though performing the same play, each cast has a different approach to the show, as the directors like to let the student-actors explore their characters and make them their own.
"We try to incorporate the actors' ideas and the actors' desires into what we do," Gould said. "If we feel it works well, we let them do it. We let the actors invest in the play itself."
In the end, FHS has two plays that are both exactly the same, yet entirely unique. And members from each cast say that they've worked hard to put on a play that they all love.
"Each cast is doing the show just a little bit different," said sophomore Megan Murray, who plays Duchess Olga Katrina. "We've put so much effort into it already and I feel like the casts are ... still connected in the way of we've all fallen for this play. We all love it."
Tickets to the show are available for purchase online now at the Saber Center's website, franklin.k12.wi.us/saber-center, or at the Saber Center's box office, 8222 S. 51st St. Student tickets are $8, adults $10, and tickets for seniors 65 and older $6.