ENJJPT plays for laughs, charity

Kirsten Roscher, wife of German Maj. Edgar Roscher, and Salvatore Cirillo play the roles of Alice Sycamore and Tony Kirby respectively during the ENJJPT Players production of “You Can’t Take it With You.” The production raised more than $5,000 that was donated to two local charities, Interfaith Mission and First Step of Wichita Falls. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Tonnette Thompson).

Kirsten Roscher, wife of German Maj. Edgar Roscher, and Salvatore Cirillo play the roles of Alice Sycamore and Tony Kirby respectively during the ENJJPT Players production of “You Can’t Take it With You.” The production raised more than $5,000 that was donated to two local charities, Interfaith Mission and First Step of Wichita Falls. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Tonnette Thompson).

Martin Vanderhof, played by Capt. Chris Van Vliet, is the grandfather and focal point of “You Can’t Take it with You,” a play put on by the ENJJPT Players, a theatrical troupe made up of Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training personnel. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Tonnette Thompson).

Martin Vanderhof, played by Capt. Chris Van Vliet, is the grandfather and focal point of “You Can’t Take it with You,” a play put on by the ENJJPT Players, a theatrical troupe made up of Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training personnel. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Tonnette Thompson).

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- There are members of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program who have a notable hobby in their spare time - performing theater plays for charity. 

The ENJJPT Players, an amateur acting troupe consisting of instructor pilots, students, dependents and wing staff personnel from the 80th Flying Training Wing, staged their modern-day interpretation of Moss Hart & George S. Kaufman's "You Can't Take it with You" at the Sheppard community center April 5 through Saturday. More than 400 people attended the four-night run. 

Proceeds from the performances went to Interfaith Ministries and First Step of Wichita Falls. 

"It's a comedy from the 1930s, during the Depression years, updated to 1990s North Texas, with references to Sheppard," said Dr. Arvilla Taylor, director of the ENJJPT Players and professor at Midwestern State University. 

The play centers around grandfather Martin Vanderhof, played by Capt. Chris Van Vliet, and his extended family of children, in-laws, grandchildren and non-relatives living under his roof. While he bides his time playing with snakes and outwitting the IRS, one of his granddaughters realizes her family of playwrights, flamenco dancers and firecracker inventors are people she should be proud to introduce to her new fiancée. In the end, love and family bonds conquer all. 

"The actors are great. Some have had a lot of training, but the others have caught on quickly. They're a really fun group. I enjoy hearing the mix of different accents when they perform," Dr. Taylor said, referring to the 16 American, Canadian, Dutch, German, Greek and Italian members of this year's troupe. 

The ENJJPT Players donate about $4,000 per year to various charities. So far, more than $16,000 has gone to Interfaith Ministries in the last 13 years. The money is used to help senior citizens pay for prescriptions. 

At the end of the April 6 performance, Jean Halter, executive director of Interfaith Ministries, presented a framed photo to Lt. Col. Eric Bogaards, the senior national representative from the Netherlands, who served as the point of contact for the play and also portrayed the fiancée's father, Anthony Kirby, in appreciation of their work.
This year's staging of "You Can't Take it with You" raised approximately $5,100 for Interfaith Ministries and First Step. 

"I am very happy with how the play went," Colonel Bogaards said. "Our goal was to make more than usual this year, and we met it. This went very well." 

"This is just my way of giving something back to the community," said Dr. Taylor.