Something to “Take with You”By MOLLY SHOULTA
GC News Bureau
The end of October will open the curtain to the Georgetown Maskrafters’ production of “You Can’t Take It With You,” a play surrounding the Great Depression in the 1930s. This is the second time the play has been at Georgetown; it appeared 25 years ago as well with some familiar faces involved in production including Ed Smith, now a professor with the Theatre and Performance Studies department, his wife Betsy, and Garvel Kindrick, now the College’s Vice President for Enrollment.
This time around, however, Dr. Smith’s son, Ethan, is under the direction of George McGee. “It’s always interesting,” Ethan explained. “You have to create a character in your head and be able to change them when the director tells you to.” He also spoke of the challenge but reward it is to work with the other actors, trying to shape the play’s time period and characterization just right. The play opens in the living room in the home of Mr. Martin Vanderhof, known as Grandpa, which the playwright explains could be used for myriad entertainments: “meals are eaten, plays are written, snakes collected, ballet steps practiced, xylophones played, printing presses operated—if there were room enough there would probably be ice skating.”
The colorful family’s living condition is shaped by the fact that Grandpa walked away from a life in business simply because his passion for his work was no longer there. So for the time being, the family lives in a house, free to do whatever they wish. The plotline follows the blossoming love story of Alice and Tony through three acts. While Tony’s family strives for riches and seems to follow the societal current of materialism, Alice is a Vanderhof, though still the most normal of them. Their love story seems impossible. As the families convene for the first time over dinner at Grandpa’s house, their differences are all too obvious. Each sees the flaws in the other’s way of living.
For the couple to truly find happiness in their upcoming marriage, it only seems appropriate for one of the families to bend to the other’s standards to ensure the happiness of their children. But the family that finally realizes a need for a shift in priorities is quite unexpected. Even amidst the greatest financial crisis in American history, the Vanderhof family enjoys the moments with each other rather than chasing after wealth. After all, as Grandpa states to Mr. Kirby, Alice’s father, “You’ve got all the money you need. You can’t take it with you . . . Don’t you think there ought to be something more, Mr. Kirby?” The play sparks the minds of theater patrons to explore this idea of what the “more” may be and asks if this generation is missing out. Since this “more” has slowly but surely once again become materialistic, it becomes much easier to blame a weakened economy, a war, or politicians for the unhappiness befalling millions.
This season, “You Can’t Take It With You” and “The Music Man” may be the country’s most popular productions. Director George McGee believes this is because both describe a simpler time where smaller houses and cutting back were necessary for survival; he explained that today is “the closest we’ve come to the Great Depression.” But even at this, McGee also believes the play offers a sense of hope. He praises the writers, believing Hart and Kaufman offer a comedic aspect to a matter not easily or appropriately laughed off. The New York playwrights know their craft well and in turn pace the script appropriately for strategic plot and diction. As the scenes unfold, so does the message, portraying the need for simplicity and understanding of nothingness.
Above all, McGee believes the play instills a sense of hope, reassuring the audience that life is not about having the biggest bank account. “For the last 20 years,” he explained, “We’ve been collecting as many toys as possible. But these toys don’t mean happiness. It’s learning to enjoy other’s company as a simple joy of life.” The first weekend of the show is Oct. 30-Nov. 1 followed by four more dates—Nov. 5, 6, 7 and 8—all in the Ruth Pearce Wilson Lab Theatre. Curtain time is 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the campus bookstore, $3 for students and $5 for adults. For reservations, call 502.863.8134. For more information, call 502.863.8162.
From Headliners: Diane BirchBy MOLLY SHOULTA
Every musical artist opens for someone. But the day they headline must be something near heaven. For some it takes years and for others, a single tour launches them to stardom. On Oct. 13, a small lady with a big voice opened for Mat Kearney at Headliners in Louisville. Though I was antsy for the main event, all of a sudden, I was unconcerned with the headliner as Diane Birch belted her first note.
She started out with “Forgiveness,” a sultry ballad with some 40s flair. Throughout the night, her energy never died. “Valentino” spoke of her imaginary friend as a teenager with a fun repetitive beat and the jazzy “Choo Choo” got everyone dancing. Her debut CD, “Bible Belt,” shows her love for all different music styles, mainly stemming from New Orleans jazz and doo-wop. But, listen for some southern gospel rooted harmonies mixed in as well. She undoubtedly has the voice suitable for every genre. Birch’s live performance was absolutely spectacular as her interaction with the audience. While tearing up the piano, she showed her talent was far above what many popular artists of today can claim. Look for Diane Birch to headline soon. There is no doubt this girl will not be the second name on the ticket for long.
Zombieland makes a killingBy FRANCIS NELSON
“Zombieland” is a laugh-a-minute thrill ride whose intention is never to scare you, just to gross you out here and there. If you’re squeamish, I suggest arriving at the theatre ten minutes late, as most of the first few scenes are of zombies enjoying their meals, which is the only real reason the movie is rated R. That and Woody Harrelson, playing Tallahasse, decorates many of his sentences with some colorful words keep the movie from the PG-13 section.
The movie isn’t as violent as the preview might make you think. Aside from the climactic showdown at the end of the movie, Harrelson handles the zombies with ease, so any fight scenes are over quickly, which is how it needs to be. If you ever find yourself squaring off with one of these undead, get rid of them fast so you can get out even faster. Zombies are like politicians. If you see one in the area, there are bound to be others close by.
“Zombieland” is a cross between seeing a few pages of the main character’s diary and a few pages from a how-to book on surviving zombies acted out. The movie opens up a few days after a zombie apocalypse occurs when mad cow disease mutates and takes a serious turn for the worse. Jesse Eisenberg plays the main character (as well as the narrator) who managed to survive the zombie attack by following several of the same rules he used for avoiding people before they became zombies. Very much an introvert, he decides to leave behind the little Texas town he’d been living in while going to college and see if his parents are still alive in Columbus, Ohio.
Woody Harrelson plays a no fear, no nonsense, nothing to lose zombie killer, the exact opposite type of the sissy, run away, wet yourself character Eisenberg plays. Eisenberg’s sarcasm and Harrelson’s non-witty one liner responses (“Do you want to find out how hard I can hit you?”) to his sarcastic sardonic banter at its best. There is also a small amount of romance in the movie as well, but it’s done guy-style not chick-flick style. You won’t find the female lead in a typical romantic comedy saying things like, “You got the guts of a guppy, but I could hit that,” and that’s about as mushy as the movie gets. I’m still up in the air about what exactly she meant by, “I’ll give you the intentional walk to first.”
None of the characters go by their real names in an effort to keep from getting attached to each other just in case someone needs to be put down. Instead, Eisenberg and Harrelson call each other by the cities they are headed to, Columbus and Tallahassee, respectively. The two females they meet up with, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), are sisters heading towards Los Angeles. Zombie purists may not be entirely pleased with this film because not only are the zombies victims of a disease instead of just being undead, but they also don’t have that slow shuffle we’re used to seeing. You can’t simply escape them by walking briskly. They can sprint, even if they couldn’t sprint in their human days.
Even though “Zombieland” doesn’t follow classic rules, it does introduce several rules of its own for surviving an attack, four of which are given to you right off the bat. Others come out during the course of the movie. All of these rules come with a visual aid to make sure you understand what’s going on. You’ll walk out of the theatre feeling prepared if something does happen. The movie is filled with many laughs. My favorite line was when Tallahassee says to Columbus when he starts to nag Tallahassee for not wearing his seat belt, “I can tell right now I’m not going to like you.” The movie is designed to make you laugh, not scare you, and it does so very well. I’ve always enjoyed Harrelson, and he didn’t disappoint. When I first wrote this review, I only gave it four stars, but since the movie was so good, that I actually dreamt about it, I’m giving it an extra half star.