Screwball comedy is recipe behind new NKHS play

POULSBO — One family member collects snakes. Another makes fireworks in the basement. A third, upon finding a typewriter left in the house, takes to writing plays.

POULSBO — One family member collects snakes. Another makes fireworks in the basement. A third, upon finding a typewriter left in the house, takes to writing plays.

It’s the eccentric and free-spirited Vanderhoff family, the centerpiece of North Kitsap High School drama’s new production, “You Can’t Take It With You.”

The play features a grandfather, played by Caleb Penn, who gave up a career on Wall Street in order to relax — he now spends his time visiting zoos, attending commencement exercises, and, yes, collecting snakes.

When granddaughter Alice, played by Lisa Bates, falls in love with her boss’ son (Nathan Pierett), the Vanderhoff family comes crashing together with the straight-laced Kirby family.

Accidental arrests, the IRS, and a drunken actress all get introduced into the mix, which director Sharon Ferguson and the cast agree will spark plenty of laughs.

Ferguson said she chose the screwball comedy for several reasons.

“There are a lot of parts for developing actors,” she said, “and it’s a lot of fun. It was written in the 1930s, but it hasn’t dated.”

The play was written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, and was made into a movie by Frank Capra in 1939.

It features a large cast that drew a big crowd at auditions. Seventy-seven potential actors tried out for the play’s 19 roles.

One of the ones who made it, Lisa Bates, is glad she did.

“It’s humorous,” she said of the play. “All of the parts are equal, so everyone gets to show their stuff.”

“It’s entertaining for all ages … I think everyone will enjoy it,” Bates remarked.

Caleb Penn, who plays the grandfather, was pleased with the play as well.

“It’s unexpected,” he said. “You can’t predict what’ll happen next.”

Of his on-stage family, he said, “It’s a wacky family, but you can tell they love each other.”

“If you like to laugh, it’s a good play to see,” Bates added.

The cast also includes Jennie Slosson, Bittina Larson, Jacob Ritley, Scott Shawcroft, Chris Tallon, Amanda Fuller, and John Morgan.

It will be performed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2, 8 and 9.

Admission is $5 at the door.

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