You Can’t Take It With You………#248 (the 90’s)



Gary was somewhat surprised when Doris Hermon, a fellow EMT on the Kiowa Ambulance Service approached him about joining the cast of the Borderline Theater in their upcoming stage presentation of, You Can’t Take It With You.   Doris having performed in many of the local borderline theatre productions since its conception.  She bestowed that a featured part in the play required someone to play a xylophone, knowing that Gary as a musician had played the piano and vibes.  The play was a three act play by Moss Hart and George S Kaufman and also produced as a movie in 1938 starring Lionel Barrymore,  Jimmy Stewart and Ann Miller. With Doris’s continued insistence, Gary was led to believe he would have a minim of spoken lines, hesitating, then finally agreeing to be present for an introductory assembly of the cast at the Kiowa Community Center.


With his arrival,  Gary being greeted by many acquaintances and introduced to others that have participated in past play presentations, soon discovering his part in the play was the last to be filled.   Tot Babcock,  an elderly little lady was the director,  a charter member of Summer Theatre of Emporia State University,  having acted and directed many plays at the college level.  Members of the cast included many from Kiowa and Hardtner,  Kiowa Hospitals Dr. Marcia Drewry’s husband, David Worsdell.  Bob Sterling, the owner of Yur Place and the Sterling Barn catering service, in Hardtner,  Bob having the primary role played by Lionel Barrymore in the film production.



Other’s in the cast included Tommie Jo Hyde,  a clinic nurse who lived in Kiowa,  Lisa Wahl, a dispatcher for the Harper county sheriff’s department,  Bob Thomas, a rural mail carrier in Hardtner,  Gene Geist, an assistant professor of education at North Western Oklahoma State University in Alva and a member of the Borderline Board of Directors.  Also included in the cast was Bruce Bryan,  manager of tuckers farm store,  Donna Dyar,  a substitute school teacher and Krista Hill Pollack,  who would be playing  Gary’s wife Essie in his role as Ed,  plus others complimenting the cast.


The first rehearsal was an introduction to the play’s premise and an assembly of the full cast,  Dramatist Play Service script books were distributed to each cast member.  Gary discovering that Doris’s description of his part as Ed, having just seven or eight lines was in error,  finding over 47 speaking lines in the play.   A bonus for the rehearsals was having Bob Sterling in the cast,  his ownership of Yur Place restaurant and the Sterling Barn catering facility found him arriving for each rehearsal with boxes filled with morsels of sandwiches and snacks.



Weeks of rehearsals began for the three act play,  the stage props being acquired,  Lloyd Jacobs and Leon Eckert providing the stage construction,  Mildred Farney and others assisting with costumes.  Doris’s husband Ed Hermon, also an EMT on the ambulance service ,was the sound and lighting technician.  He and Gary  traversing to South Barber High School in Ed’s pickup to garner the music departments xylophone that they had generously loaned,  a key component to Gary’s character and the play.  Gary, at first somewhat hesitant to the progress,  but once the cast was conversant to their lines, was astounded to see the continuity of the scrip beginning to coalesce like a well written musical score,  each actor an instrument providing its articulation.   The cast spending the latter days of rehearsal ameliorating the interfacing concert of the script,  the cadence of the play crucial to its conception being fulfilled.


The three act performance wasn’t without incident.  If a performer forgot or failed to give the correct lead in line, it left the next performer in Limbo, waiting for their cue.  Gary discovering it was better to memorize,  not just the lead in line, but several before it,  enabling him to be prepared.  Behind the curtain off stage was Tot with the total script to cue a cast member if they had a lapse of remembrance.   The total on-stage cast numbered 19, with the director,  stage manager,  lighting and sound technician and 9 others contributing to the pre-performance activity.  Gary’s role as Ed Carmichael was to deliver his wife’s Essie candies,  operate an antique  printing press,  play the xylophone so Essie , performed by Krista Hill Pollack whom had taken ballet, could leap and pirouette across the Stage.

The scheduled run of the play was for consecutive Saturday and Sunday performances,  with the final Sunday  a dinner theatre presentation,  all performances playing to a capacity audience.   At the conclusion of each presentation, a curtain call stage introduction of the performers,  followed  by the cast lining the seating exit to greet and be greeted by those in attendance.

Gary enjoying the experience of once again ascending a stage after a twenty year vacuity,  not exactly the musical foray as in years past  but a satisfying introduction to the endeavor of theatre.  The Border Line Theatre production of 1937 Pulitzer Prize Play, “You Can’t Take It With You”  was yet another consummating episode on a journey down the road of life.



One Response to “You Can’t Take It With You………#248 (the 90’s)”

  1. papillonsj2013 Says:

    Hi Gary…I totally loved this one! Great job…loved the photos…the set…the costumes. Wish I could have been there to enjoy it in person. A couple of years ago I was in a play here…had no intention of being in it. Was coerced to read for a part after someone dropped out due to illness. They were already 5 weeks into rehearsal. I am so glad I did this. The play was the Octet Bridge club…about 8 sisters who got together to play bridge. Act I in the 30’s Act II in the 40’s. It was empowering and a blessing to find I could memorize the lines and I got up to speed. But it was more than that…it had great meaning for me and there is one scene where I cried and sobbed naturally every single time in rehearsal and on stage. It touched me for personal reasons. I really need to write about it. Thanks so much for sharing this Gary! Hugs, Sue

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