Classic play runs Thursday through Saturday
PAM CLIFTON, Contributing Writer
Harvey and Elwood are best friends. But Harvey is a bit mischievous. He’s also a six-and-a-half-foot rabbit. He is a Pooka, a fairy spirit in animal form.
And Elwood is the only one who can see Harvey.
This classic show “Harvey” is a famous Jimmy Stewart movie and an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play written by Mary Chase in 1944.
“’Harvey’ is such a special show and an absolute classic,” said Mineral Area Fine Arts Academy Theater Director Jason Carr. “It has wonderful characters and covers the entire emotional spectrum.”
He said there are plenty of happy, sad and humorous moments.
“This is the type of show that really challenges the performers, in that it doesn’t have a ton of witty dialogue, but it creates a lot of opportunities for the actors to react in ways that make it funny or interesting.”
He said, “I think the audiences are really going to enjoy this show.”
“Harvey” takes the stage this week: Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 15 at 6:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sept. 16 at 3 p.m.
The show is about two and a half hours and includes a 15-minute intermission.
Performances will be in Mineral Area College’s Fine Arts Theater.
According to Carr, there are still tickets left for each show. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at MAFineArts.org or purchased at the door.
Anyone who has attended a previous MAFAA production will likely see a few familiar faces in “Harvey.”
Carr said he’s particularly proud of this cast because he “set them all to the task of creating a character, and they have definitely followed those instructions.”
As director, Carr feels proud when he watches rehearsals and “sees something click with a performer or the entire cast and seeing the moment they are no longer thinking about what their lines are and instead being the character they have created.”
The “Harvey” set is simple and small in size. When Carr designed it, he wanted the show to be “right in the audience’s face so they get a better feel of the reactions and characters and not get caught up looking all over the stage at a bunch of things that aren’t relevant to the show.”
“Harvey” takes place in two different settings, so the crew made rotating walls with different settings on each side.
Carr said the biggest challenges with this performance was getting the entire cast together for rehearsals.
“There will always be challenges with people having real lives outside of the theater,” he said. “There will always be vacations, schedule conflicts, sickness, etc. We always seem to overcome all of it and help each other get caught up.”
One thing Carr especially loved with this cast was seeing the group come together to overcome adversity.
The “Harvey” cast includes Joseph Browers, Elwood P. Dowd; Lyn Ruess, Veta Simmons; Ryley Heady, Myrtle Mae Simmons; Andrew Russell, Dr. Lyman Sanderson; Brittany Tripp, Ruth Kelly; Lukus Dement, Dr. William Chumley; Brian Womble, Judge Omar Gaffney; Christon Hahn, Wilson; Donna Hickman, Ethel Chauvenet; Shelley Bishop, Betty Chumley; Malachi Windle, EJ Lofgren (Cab Driver); and Ashlyn Webb, Miss Johnson (Maid).
Crew members include Jason Carr, director; MacKenzie Gamble Kramer, stage manager; Annette Gratton, assistant stage manager; Jason Carr, set design; Darrell Cureton, cast/crew and Zabien Gusman, set construction; cast/crew and Zabien Gusman, set painting and décor; cast/crew and Zabien Gusman, running crew; Donna Hickman, promotion and public relations; Joshua Politte, light design; Annette Gratton, lightboard operator; and MacKenzie Gamble Kramer, sound effects.
Carr credited Darrell Cureton for being “such an important part of the theatre department for a couple years now. He’s always there when I need him, whether it’s to help with things I can’t do by myself, drive a load of us through a parade, or saving us in an electrical emergency during a performance.”
Auditions for “Meet Me in St. Louis” are Sunday, Sept. 24 at 2 p.m. in MAC’s Fine Arts Theater.