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Westfield's Director's Notes

Kaufmann and Hart’s "You Can’t Take It With You" tells the story an American family. Well, actually, two American families. At first the Sycamores seem crazy, but it is not long before we realize that if they are crazy, then the rest of the world is even crazier. In contrast to these delightful people are the unhappy Kirbys. The plot shows how Tony, the attractive young son of the Kirbys, falls in love with Alice, the beautiful ingénue of the Sycamore family. He purposely decides to bring his parents to dine at the Sycamore home when no one is expecting their arrival. The shock sustained by the Kirbys at seeing how the Sycamore family truly lives, shows Alice that marriage with Tony is out of the question.

The Sycamores, though sympathetic to Alice, find it hard to realize her point of view. Meanwhile, Tony, who believes the Sycamores’ way of life is right and his own family is wrong, will not give up in his pursuit to marry the two families together. The end of the play finally converts the conservative Mr. Kirby into the happy madness of the Sycamores. To add to the insanity of the Sycamore house, there are a plethora of strange activities of certain members living there. Including an ex-grand duchess making a living as a waitress, old men manufacturing fireworks in the basement, a curious son-in-law running a printing press in the parlor; and a sister who offers regular ballet lessons in the living room, set to the music of a xylophone. Finally, at the head of the household is Grandpa Sycamore, who continues to avoid the IRS, because he no longer believes in paying income tax. All these crazy characters and zany situations help to the set the stage for playing one of America’s most popularly performed stage comedies "You Can’t Take It With You."