Theatre students, ready to showcase their work, will be putting on the production “Harvey” for this year’s fall play.
“Harvey,” an unusual comedy written in 1944 by American playwright Mary Chase, is a different style of play than what has been performed in previous years. With the production premiering last night, the theatre program has spent late nights at school preparing for the show. Remaining performances will be tonight and tomorrow.
“Harvey” is focused around a man named Elwood P. Dowd, who wholeheartedly believes that his best friend is a six-foot tall rabbit. He lives with his equally eccentric sister Veta, who tries to have him committed to a local sanitarium where they meet the director of the home, Dr. Chumley.
Junior Daniel Lowman, who is playing Elwood, said that compared to the somewhat darker and more serious fall plays previously performed at Roberson, a comedy like “Harvey” will be a nice change.
“I think it’s going to be really refreshing for people who have come and seen shows in the past, to have this sort of new experience,” Lowman said.
With quirky characters like Lowman’s, casting for the show was an important process. Theatre teacher Sarah Leary, who chose “Harvey” as this year’s production, believes that the actors who were cast have what it takes to pull off a show like this.
“These characters are just so far removed from the people we would see in everyday life. Sometimes their actions are so wild and unwarranted that getting that out of people in auditions was difficult,” Leary said. “However, I’m really confident in the cast that we have right now. They did a stellar job in rehearsal.”
Due to renovations which will take place in the theatre this winter, the production date was moved up from the usual time frame of mid November. This has left less time for rehearsals, stage building and line memorization, causing the process to be more stressful, according to Lowman.
Senior Sierra Ackerman is co-directing “Harvey” alongside Leary as her practical experience for her Graduation Project. Ackerman has been participating in theatre ever since her first role in the student-directed production of “Julius Caesar” during her sophomore year.
“Because two of the roles I had were in student run plays, I saw how much fun that was and how much they (student directors) learned and grew from that, so I really wanted to do that [myself],” Ackerman said.
Leary said that the time constraint has made things a little more difficult. However, she thinks that audiences will have no difficulty in getting into the story.
“It’s a classic show and it appeals to some of the older audiences, but it’s also a show where the humor is still applicable. Teenagers and younger people can still come and get a good laugh,” Leary said.