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Play takes on family values through comedy

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 17th, 2013

Watsonville High School drama students work through a dress rehearsal Tuesday of the comedy, "You Can't Take it With You." (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE — What happens when a quirky, crazy family has dinner with an uptight, sophisticated family?

Comedic gold is born and will come to life when Watsonville High School’s drama department performs “You Can’t Take it With You,” opening today at the Henry J. Mello Center and running through Sunday.

The play, which is a Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy written in the 1930s by George F. Kaufman and Moss Hart, follows two families, the Sycamores and the Kirbys. Taking place in 1936, Tony Kirby, played by Watsonville High senior Juan Alcantar, falls in love with Alice Sycamore (Watsonville High senior Liz Gomez).

But when the two families have dinner together, the Kirbys forbid the marriage between Tony and Alice. However, Tony will not give Alice up.

Director Kip Allert said the play is popular with high school drama teachers, due to its strong family values and “outrageous” characters.

“This play is awesome,” he said. “It’s really family-oriented, which is a real Watsonville theme.”

The comedy features more than 15 performers, in addition to a back stage crew consisting of students. A few students from Pajaro Valley High School perform in the play as well.

Alcantar will be performing on stage for Watsonville High for the first time. After watching previous productions from the school, he decided to try out for “You Can’t Take it With You.”

“I saw the actors and thought, ‘I can do that,’” he said.

Alcantar described his character as a romantic who is not “stuck up,” which he said he could identify with.

Maria Martinez, a junior at Watsonville High, plays the maid Rheba, a character she said gets along with the families and “cares about everyone.”

Having performed in three previous plays, Martinez said she enjoys learning something new each time around.

“We all connect with each other as a cast,” she said.

Andrea Castillo, a sophomore at Watsonville High, plays Penny Sycamore, who paints and writes plays, but is terrible at both.

Castillo said this character is a perfect fit for her, because she is “very much like her.”

“I can’t paint either,” Castillo said.

She has performed for Watsonville High before, and said she keeps coming back because “it’s a lot of fun.”

“You get attention in such a positive way,” she said.

Noe Tapia, a senior, plays Grandpa, a character who hunts snakes and doesn’t believe in income tax.

Having performed previously, Tapia wanted to build upon his talent.

“It gave me that experience,” he said of his last performance. “I really liked it.”


“You Can’t Take it With You” opens today at 7:30 p.m. at the Henry J. Mello Center, 250 East Beach St., Watsonville. It will also run Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday at 2 p.m. Advanced tickets are $5 and tickets at the door are $7. Advanced tickets can be purchased from a cast member, Crossroads Books at 1935 Main St., Watsonville, or www.watsonvillehs.net.

For information, contact Allert at kip_allert@pvusd.net.

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