When West Washington English teacher and drama club sponsor Kayla Seybold was a student at Salem, she performed as Alice Sycamore in ‘You Can’t Take It With You,’ directed by Richard Trueblood.
“There are photos from the show hanging outside the Salem Middle School auditorium still,” she said in an email. “I remember loving this show then, and I love it now.”
This week, she brings that play to life with her own students for the community.
“It’s been a really cool experience to watch these characters from my high school theatre experience come to life for my own students,” Seybold said. “I’m not sure what it is, but something feels like it has come full circle when I direct a show I performed in as a kid. Live theatre is something special. There’s nothing else like it. Being able to pass along something I love to my students is really rewarding.”
“You Can’t Take It With You” is the story of the zany Sycamore family and their eccentric friends.
“The mother writes dozens of plays that never get published,” said Seybold. “One daughter believes she is a ballerina. The father and his friend build fireworks in the basement. The second daughter, Alice, is the only normal, level-headed one.”
And it’s Alice, played by Sammy Nance, who ends up engaged and brings her fiance and his parents to dinner, desperately hoping her nice, quite, calm dinner goes as planned, but her fiance arrives on the wrong night, “seeing the Sycamore family in all their crazy glory.” Seybold said there will be explosion effects, smoke, colorful lighting and lots of laughs.
“It’s a truly funny show,” said Seybold. “I find myself laughing at rehearsal every night, even though I’ve seen the show a hundred times. The kids have been putting in a lot of hard work. This isn’t an easy show to perform, and has really pushed several kids out of their comfort zones. Two students have to use Russian accents throughout the performance, and that’s just not easy. They are doing a great job. Plus, most of these kids are involved in several other extracurricular activities. We have athletes, band members, dance team members, FFA members, BPA members, and kids with jobs. Not many people realize just how much work a play can be, and these kids work hard for drama club and everything else they do.”
Seybold credits Dennis Tankersley and his construction classes, who have built the sets and have built drama sets in the past.
“It is a pretty cool thing to have so many different groups at school working together for the plays,” she said. “Many of those construction students haven’t had any exposure to theatre before, so they get first-hand arts experience while building our sets.”
And if you can’t make it to the play, you can still take part in the West Washington drama club fun. The club will be performing a dinner theater program at Christie’s on the Square on Dec. 7 at 6 p.m.
“We will be presenting a series of short Christmas-themed skits and a single one-act play throughout the dinner,” said Seybold. “We will also have a silent auction going on before the dinner-show and during intermission.”
She said the idea for the show came from the need to fundraise to support the program and get students who may not have had as much stage time to “get their feet wet.”
“Interest in theatre and our drama club has grown so much over the past few years that we really needed to add a third performance to our schedule in order to accommodate all the students wanting to participate,” said Seybold.
“We are also performing ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in the spring, which is a huge undertaking financially and technically. A fundraiser/show seemed like the best idea to meet all our growing needs. Doing the fundraiser show gives some of our newest members a chance to get “their feet wet” on stage and allows us to build our funds for all the costumes, sets, and props we will need for the spring.”
About 30 students will participate in the Christmas fundraiser, about 75 percent of the total drama club. Seybold said preparations for the Christmas program haven’t been as strenuous yet due to rehearsals for ‘You Can’t Take It With You,’ but students have been working on their own.
“Some of the small skits are monologues, so those students are essentially responsible for creating and making their character on their own,” said Seybold.
She added silent auction items and door prizes include things like gift baskets with various themes, like movie night, Christmas cookies, wrapping paper, board games and more.
“Steve Gorman, a manager at Christie’s, really helped me get the idea together,” said Seybold. “Steve and I have been friends for years and I’ve participated in events at Christie’s with him in the past. In high school, I was in a play with Steve and it was such a success we did an encore performance a few months later. Those events have always been a great success, so I feel confident this one will be too. The restaurant really is a great venue for dinners and other events.”
Tickets are limited to 90, so be sure to reserve yours as soon as you can. The last day to purchase tickets will be Nov. 30. You can purchase tickets from any drama club member or by contacting Seybold at the West Washington High School office at 812-755-4996 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost for tickets is $25.