Love, family issues in new SHU play
The university’s first theatrical performance of the school year will be the rendition of screenplay writers George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s “You Can’t Take It With You.” Directed by Dr. James P. McGlone, a Seton Hall theater professor, the play is a classic comedy that focuses on love. The story in short: girl meets boy, girl falls for boy.
In the play Anthony “Tony” Kirby is establishing a government-sanctioned monopoly by buying all the land surrounding a competitor’s factory to force him out of business. His only barrier is Grandpa Martin Vanderhof, an eccentric who refuses to sell his home. Grandpa’s granddaughter Alice, a stenographer from a family of individualists, has fallen in love with Tony. When Tony proposes to Alice, she is ecstatic. Unfortunately, Tony’s mother’s stuck-up ways dampen Alice’s enthusiasm and Tony fears that Alice’s family will clash with his. Chaos ensues, as neither family is quite prepared for the other.
Alice is played by sophomore Megan Hanson, a broadcasting major with a concentration in TV, and a double minor in public relations and theatre.
“Alice is the female ingenue in the play. Essentially, Alice is the only normal one in her family,” Hanson said. “She loves her family dearly but they’re all a bit eccentric, and she feels hesitant about exposing them to her fiancé, Tony. A few people understand her family and the way they choose to live.”
When she auditioned for the role five weeks ago, Hanson said she wasn’t sure which role she wanted.
“When you audition, you may have a certain role in mind that you’d like to play, but essentially you just audition, and the director places you where he sees fit,” Hanson said. “I did have interest in playing Alice only because I had never played the role of the ingénue before. And honestly I wanted to test myself to see if I could take on a role like this.”
Freshman Kristen Velloza, a newcomer to the stage at Seton Hall, knew she was going to audition, but no idea when. During University Day, she decided to visit the theatre table and was encouraged to come out and audition.
“I don’t know what that has to do with my major, but I feel like speaking is a big part of diplomacy,” Velloza said. “So you have to be able to speak in front of large audiences. Acting helps me build confidence by performing and speaking to people.”
Velloza said that she never got the character roles.
“But it’s fun for me to play those roles because they’re not real life people; they’re just there to make people laugh. It’s cool to be someone else,” she said. “The director gave me tips on how to play an alcoholic, it was like alcohol 101.”
Freshman Pat Daly replays a childhood memory when he steps into the role of Ed Carmichael, the son-in-law of Grandpa Martin.
“Ed is always happy and willing to help out and I feel like that encompasses me very well,” Daly said. “Ed is a funny guy, but he’s very misunderstood. He likes to play music and efficient love for printing. Unfortunately, his zeal at the printing press gets him in trouble sometimes because he prints things without thinking about it.”
Daly, a diplomacy major, is a newcomer to the stage. Auditioning for the first play of the year was a spur of a moment decision influenced by a friend of his.
“I’ve never done a play before,” said Daly. “My friend Bill who’s playing Paul asked if I wanted to go audition. So I thought I’d go and meet some cute girls and I ended up getting this part.”
Senior Rob Huryk, who plays Kolenkhov, said that while this wasn’t his favorite play, he’s learning to experience the new challenges in Seton Hall Theatre.
“I usually have a lot of fun, but this show isn’t very fun for me,” Huryk said. “I love comedies though.”
Kolenkhov is a ballet teacher straight out of Russia who has a thirst for higher artistic ability. He views everything as if nothing is up to his standards.
Sarenia Hertilus is the only stage manager administering the play, and is a veteran when it comes to Seton Hall Theatre. This is her second year as stage manager and as a senior, she has decided theatre is what she wants to do for the rest of her life.
“I don’t get overwhelmed with having all the weight on my shoulders because it is my job. I plan on doing this for the rest of my life so it’s nothing new to me,” Hertilus said.
Velloza added, “I am very excited about this production, and I hope that a lot of students and faculty hear about the show and attend one of the performances. We’d love and appreciate good crowds.”
The play will be performed in the Theatre-in-the-Round in the Bishop Dougherty University Center on Oct. 23, 24, 30, and 31 at 8 p.m. and on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 at 2 p.m.
Toneisha Friday can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.