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    • AJ Marks ’18 and Phoebe Cardenas ’17 rehearse a scene from Harvey. (photo: Nia Simmons ’18)

Hilltoppers Hopped Into Harvey

Saloni Jain '19, Assistant Entertainment Editor
The Hopkins Drama Association just wrapped up another successful production: its spring play,  Harvey
 
The storyline from this comedy production begins with an old-money family giving up hope with neither of the adults working. Elwood Dowd (Andrew Marks ’18) and his sister Veta (Phoebe Cardenas ’17)  were the two adults in this play. Veta is a widow and has a daughter named Myrtle Mae (Emily Calderone ’18) who is of an age to be married, hopefully to someone rich. 

However, since Elwood’s “mental capacity seems to breaking down,” Elwood believes that his best friend is a six-foot tall white rabbit named Harvey, played by Mathematics teacher Clay Hall. Elwood and Harvey go everywhere together and Elwood loves to introduce Harvey to every person they encounter, including the society people Veta is trying to warm up to. 

As a result, Veta decides to put Elwood in a sanitarium so he will not embarrass Veta and Myrtle Mae. While Elwood is admitted, the psychiatrist makes a mistake and admits Veta as the mental patient while Elwood is permitted to roam free. “Comedy ensues as the doctors try to put everything right,” is how Michael Calderone described the rest of the play.  

Harvey has two primary settings: Veta and Elwood’s family house and the sanitarium. Cardenas explained the benefit of having only two sets. “Since there are only two sets for the entire show, they’re all very detailed and cool.” The whole production takes place in the Midwest during the late 1940’s. 

One of the challenges to the production Harvey  is the set change between locations on the Lovell Stage. Calderone said, “Both locations are equally important. The Lovell stage is not very expansive or technically forgiving. Therefore, we have to be creative with how the scene changes. We have two distinct locations represented in each of the two acts. It’s not like we can do Act 1 at one location and do a full change over during  intermission and then start Act 2.”

Another challenge the cast faced was figuring out how to play the characters while keeping the comedy theme. Jamie Donovan ’19 (Dr. Chumley), explained how he overcame this: “I play the no-nonsense, Harvard-educated doctor, which made me worry a bit about how to make him a comedic person in the first few weeks. But after rehearsing with the rest of the cast, I realized I didn’t really have to worry too much because all of the characters in the play stand out from the rest because we’re all so different. All I needed to do was act pretentious and not pronounce the “R” in the word “Harvey” to stand out from everyone else and get a few laughs.”

Nia Simmons ’18 (Mrs. Chauvanet) expressed the benefits of working with a diverse cast. “Being in Harvey has been a fun experience for me. It is a unique situation because people were not allowed to be in both Legally Blonde (the fall play) and Harvey, so a lot of new actors and younger students had the opportunity to be part of the play and prove their acting skills which I think is great.” 
Phoebe Cardenas ‘17, (Veta), added, “It’s just been so fun. The cast and the show, itself were both very fun, very lighthearted.” 
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