You Can’t Take It With You

This past weekend I saw the play You Can’t Take It With You at the Regent Theatre.

Here’s part of the plot synopsis:

At first the Sycamores seem mad, but it is not long before you realize that if they are mad, then the rest of the world is madder. In contrast to these delightful people are the unhappy Kirbys. Tony, the attractive young son of the Kirbys, falls in love with Alice Sycamore and brings his parents to dine at the Sycamore house on the wrong evening. The shock sustained by Mr. and Mrs. Kirby, who are invited to eat cheap food, shows Alice that marriage with Tony is out of the question. The Sycamores find it hard to realize Alice’s view. Tony knows the Sycamores live the right way with love and care for each other, while his own family is the one that’s crazy…

Believe it or not, I was actually in this play when I was in high school. It was my only foray into the theatre. I played “The Man” (or “G Man”), the lead federal agent who comes to investigate Ed’s pamphlets and ends up arresting everyone. If I recall correctly, the key for me was to have a part that didn’t require a lot of memorizing lines. Whenever you play “The Man” or some other character with no name, you have a good shot at limited lines! In any case, when I did the play and took on the character of “The Man”, I asked the director if I could fire the cap gun, and she eventually let me do that on the last night of the show. Funny memory. BTW: the actor who played “The Man” in the Regent production did a great job with it, far better than I ever did. (Although I did notice he didn’t actually fire the gun. But it was not the last show of the run, so you never know what he might do!)

The point of the play is that it is important to do what you love. It is about rethinking expectations others have for you, especially in the area of just making money for the sake of making money, particularly if you do not enjoy the work you do. I know many people who have spent years in business or another field that they really don’t like but they do it for the money. I think there is something to be said for the underlying message here: that, if possible,  try to position yourself in a job that you delight in, something that you personally find satisfying. From a Christian perspective, work is done to honor God, and so what is done is not as important. Christians can value so many occupations, and Christians are instructed not to measure a person by their appearance or wealth but by their worth as made in the image of God. There is an intrinsic dignity in being human. As far as work itself: The key is how a person does his or her work and toward what end – to bring honor and glory to God.

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