The Southern Miss Department of Theatre is beginning its semester of plays with Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy “You Can’t Take It with You” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22 at Martha R. Tatum Theatre.
Referred to as “one of America’s happiest comedies” by the theatre department, the play features two vastly different families and the romance between their children in 1936 New York.
“I think [the play] has become a sort of, for the theatre community, a classic, but it is so relevant to today,” visiting professor of acting and movement Burton Tedesco said. “There are a lot of moments [of] sincerity, meaning and weight that shouldn’t be glossed over and lost.”
Sophomore theatre major Moses Williams describes the play as “lighthearted and fun.”
“[Being on stage] is perfect,” Williams said. “When you have control of the audience, and they’re listening to every single word you’re giving out, it leaves you speechless.”
Tedesco said students have been working on the play since last semester. The designers began working on the set and costumes in September.
“This is like another part-time job for them,” Tedesco said. “I don’t think students outside the theatre departmentreallyrealizetheamount of extra dedication needed.”
Once the cast was finalized in the fall semester, actors learned their lines during winter break and returned to campus a week early for rehearsals. The rehearsals were held four hours a day for five days a week.
Despite having a busy schedule, Williams enjoyed preparing for the play and encourages students to attend.
“You don’t know what it feels like until you are there,” Williams said. “Once you are there, you’re like, ‘How come I haven’t seen this before?’”
Tedesco will be making his Southern Miss directorial debut on Thursday when the play opens.
“One of the things I love most about directing is that every actor comes in with a different process,” Tedesco said. “So, as a director, I feel like I have to figure out how to communicate differently with each one of them, take what they’re bringing into rehearsal and sort of help craft and mold it to fit the overall story.”
Senior theatre major Daniel Morrow, who plays Ed Carmichael, said that every audience member will be able to learn a valuable lesson from the characters.
“It has some really important messages,” Morrow said. “I think anyone can come see the show and take something from it in an enjoyable way. Nothing is forced down your throat. It’s just a comedy with a lot of really good things.”
“You Can’t Take It with You” will be playing Feb. 22-24 and March 2-4. Tickets will be $8 for students, $10 for faculty, staff, veterans and senior citizens and $14 for the public.