Harvey Play The play was first presented in the early 40s. It is also set in this time period. It is a very care-free, take your mind off of your worries comedic work. The main character, Elwood P. Dowd, has a invisible friend, a pooka named Harvey, who accompanies him during his daily activities.
A pooka is a mythical creature who appears here and there, where ever it pleases, and to whoever it pleases. In this case, the pooka has taken the form of a rabbit who is six feet, one and a half inches tall. Mr. Dowd lives in a large mansion with his sister, Veta Louise Simmons, and her daughter Myrtle May Simmons. Mr.
Dowds family does not see Harvey at first, but they Elwood interacting and talking to Harvey. They become extremely worried about him seeing an imaginary rabbit and him spending all of his time with someone who doesnt even exist. As difficult and humiliating as it is for her, Veta Louise is forced to take Mr. Dowd to Chumleys Rest, an psychiatric facility on the outskirts of town where he can receive treatments for his problems. This faculty was founded by renowned psychiatrist William R. Chumley, MD.
Dr. Chumley only sees few cases when time permits. Veta Louise, as any good sister would, only wants the best for her brother and insist that Dr. Chumley handle this case personally. His assistant, Miss Kelly, denies this request, but reassures Veta Louise that her brother will receive top quality attention.
She is referred to Dr. Lyman Sanderson, MD, a doctor who also practices out at Chumleys Rest. Veta Louise describes her situation and Elwoods case to Dr. Sanderson, but as she is doing so, she becomes hysterical. Dr. Sanderson suspects that Veta Louise is the one that is suffering from some sort of mental illness and that she is projecting her problems onto Elwood, but he plays it cool so she wont suspect that he has figured her out.
He excuses himself from the room for a moment, to get an orderly to help him with this crazy women. They get her locked and put in the hydro-room in an effort to calm her down. It isnt until later that Chumley figures out the truth that a “sane” woman has been locked up and Mr. Dowd has eluded them. This is one summary of a scene from “Harvey”. I wasnt able to actually see the play for myself, because I worked behind the scene for the play.
I saw enough of it from where I was to write an educated critique on it. The story-line and plot of the play are very good and I believe that the playwright would have been well pleased with Campbells production of this play. First thing the audience noticed when they entered the theater was the elaborate set. The set was put together well and extremely realistic. The first set was of the library in the Dowd mansion.
The other set was in Chumleys rest in a reception area. My favorite set was the library. That is the one that I help construct and set-up during the actual play. During the construction of the set, I assisted in the painting and prop placement work that was needed to complete a realistic appearance of a library. It is also my favorite because it was the more life-like set. I also liked the offstage areas for this scene, because they added to the realism of this set.
During the play, I moved the desk from behind the sofa and moved the flap on the moving wall, so that the library scene couldnt be seen on stage while the play was at Chumleys Rest. Also, toward the end of the play, Harvey goes on stage through a door. I was in charge of the opening and closing of the door. Those were my contributions to “Harvey”. As for the cast of the play, I believe the characters were well represented, considering the small amount of actors available at our school.
My favorite cast member was Dr. Chumley himself. He was full of his character and full of life every night of the play. He played a good doctor and I believe that the Chumley he presented was the Chumley that the playwright had envisioned. Elwood Dow was also well casted.
His appearance and his mannerisms were very similar to the actor who played this part in the movie “Harvey”. The character that I thought could use a little work was Duane Wilson. He didnt act like he was really an orderly. He acted with very little life and he rushed all of his lines, like he was straight reading off of a script. All and all, the casting was exceptional. Another thing I noticed and liked about the play was the use of lighting to add emphasis to certain props (like the portrait of Elwood and Harvey). The lights were also used to change the look of the scene. Toward the ending of the play, different lights with different colors were used to portray a dark, lonely Chumleys Rest.
Campbells production of Harvey was well done. The set, props, and costumes made the audience feel like they were in the forties. Through the nightly duration of the play, anyone watching the play could get engulfed in the characters and fall into there lives. Considering that the purpose of this play when it was written was to help people escape there problems, this production would have brought a smile to its playwright, just as it did all who attended it. I was my pleasure to play a small part in this presentation of “Harvey” and if at all possible plan on participating in Campbells theater programs in the future.