XENIA — A recent Beavercreek High School graduate has advanced from actor to director in the Xenia Community Area Theater.
Kylee Pauley, 17, has taken the director’s chair for the community theater’s final show of the 2017-2018 season, “You Can’t Take It with You,” which opens Friday, May 25.
Pauley had told the theater’s board she wanted a chance to direct any play this season. Cheryl Dern, a member of the theater committee, which selects not only the plays, but also the directors, expressed confidence in the committee’s choice of Pauley for the Pulitzer-prize winning play by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.
“She had asked (to direct) and we knew she had extensive background in theater,” Dern said.
So the committee said yes.
Pauley said she wanted to do any play, but “this (‘You Can’t Take It with You’) just dropped in my lap.”
She said one of the play’s characters, Martin Vanderhof, aka Grandpa, reminded her a lot of her own grandfather, the late Patrick Elliot.
“It’s my grandpa talking to me,” Pauley said. ” We were close.”
But Grandpa Vanderhof is just part of the appeal of the three-act comedy. It tells the amusing story of two families of different lifestyles brought together by love.
Alice Sycamore, Grandpa’s granddaughter, comes from a do-your-own-thing kind of madcap family, while her fiancé, Tony Kirby, is the son of a Wall Street businessman and his high-society, strait-laced wife. The two meet at the office and a romance ensues.
Of course, eventually the two families are obliged to meet. When they do come together it’s, well, fireworks.
A performer since childhood, Pauley has advanced her thespian skills in the theater group in the past three years. She was awarded the OCTA (Ohio Community Theater Association) Merit in Acting award for her portrayal of Gwendolyn Fairfax in “The Importance of Being Ernest” in 2017.
She served as assistant director to Tony Copper, who directed “The Odd Couple — the Female Version” at the end of the last season.
For the Hart/Kaufman play, Dern has been impressed by Pauley’s ability to control the play’s large cast (16) and extract from them what she wants from the performance. Dern acknowledged the challenge Pauley bears but recognizes, “she’s dedicated.”
“I’m all about it,” Pauley said of the theater. She will attend Ohio University to study theater arts in August.
But for now she is directing the actions of a 16-member cast who range in age from early 20s to early 70s.
“We’re working as a team,” Pauley said. “The chemistry is awesome. We’re all in this together.”
The opening night gala begins 6:30 p.m. Other show times are 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, May 26 and June 2; and 3 p.m. Sundays, May 27 and June 3 at the theater, 45 East Second St. Tickets for opening night including the gala are $20. Other shows are $17 for adults and $14 for seniors and students. Members receive a 10 percent discount. For more information or tickets call 937-372-0516 or visit www.xeniaact.org.
Dean Shipley is a member of Xenia Area Community Theater.