Winifred School revives classic 1930s play “You Can’t Take It With You”

Charlie Denison

From left, Alice Sycamore (played by Lorianne Stulc) and Tony Kirby (played by Braden Urion) embrace during rehearsal recently. Alice introduces Tony to her wacky family, which is where the trouble starts.

Photo courtesy of Marietta Boyce

Winifred School teacher and co-stage director Marietta Boyce was certain she’d found the right play.

“I had a lady pirate play in mind that sounded like fun, but when I was on a drive to Lewistown to take my daughter, Dyauni, to an orthodontist appointment, she made me think twice.”

Dyauni asked Marietta, “What’s the message? What’s the moral of this story?”

“I was impressed and thought she had a good point,” Marietta said. “I also thought Mrs. Cantu, her English teacher, must really be doing a good job.”

After some thought, Marietta ditched the pirate play (which she said would have been a lot easier), choosing to go with the 1930s classic comedy, “You Can’t Take it With You,” made famous by Frank Capra’s adaptation starring Jimmy Stewart as Tony Kirby and Lionel Barrymore as Grandpa Martin Vanderhof.

“The message of this play is something I really like,” Marietta said. “No matter how hard you work, you can’t take it with you, so enjoy every day and live life to the fullest.”

The story of the heartwarming play starts with Grandpa Vanderhof, played by Raymond Levick. Vanderhof and his family, the Sycamores, don’t live by the rules, as they “march to the beat of their own drum.” None of them work. They collect snakes, build fireworks, write plays they never publish, take ballet lessons and do other “wacky” things.

All is well until Alice Sycamore, played by Lorianne Stulc, falls in love with Tony Kirby (played by Braden Urion), who comes from an affluent, well-to-do family and doesn’t quite understand the ways of his fiancee’s family.

Nineteen Winifred students are involved in the production, and they are enjoying being a part of it, Marietta said. Some students are really paving the way, such as Jada Wichman, who plays Donald the handyman.

“On the second day of practice, she had an accent down and got quite a reaction,” Marietta said. “By the end of the week, everyone had an accent.”

Some accents worked, some didn’t.

“We had to encourage Grandpa to lose the accent and slow down his talking,” Marietta said. “He’s done a good job lately of coming into his character. He’s more laid back and even found some wing-tipped shoes.”

Marietta said everyone involved in the production is doing a good job stepping up, including Kaylie Carlstrom as Penny Sycamore, Rex Duncan as Anthony Kirby and Anna Slivka as Mrs. Kirby.

Three of the four foreign exchange students are also involved in the production, as are Marietta’s daughters, Dyauni and Brietta.

Putting this three-act comedy together has not been easy, as the Winifred students are very involved outside of school, be it track, Business Professionals of America, FFA or a freshman trip to Washington D.C. (which Marietta chaperoned).

“I’m grateful to have Jamie Wickens as a co-stage director,” Marietta said. “We’ve tackled a lot together, and she really stepped up while I was on the trip.”

Marietta said she has a good feeling about the play and looks forward to sharing it with Winifred and other Central Montana communities.

All are invited to come to the Thursday’s 12:30 p.m. matinee and Saturday night’s 7 p.m. performance, which includes a prime rib dinner special beforehand.

For more information or to get tickets, call Winifred School at (406) 462-5349.


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