Santa Clara Performing Arts Foundation Key on Arts Blog
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At the end of February, the Santa Clara Players opened its first show of the new year with Harvey, the story about a six-foot one-and-one-half-inch invisible rabbit and the man who can see him.
Elwood P. Dowd is the only one who can see Harvey - that is, until his sister Veta admits that she, too, has seen the rabbit and knows that Dowd isn't as crazy as everyone would like to believe.
However, Veta and her daughter, Myrtle Mae, are trying to climb the social ladder and admitting she sees the giant rabbit won't help her status. So, instead of allowing Dowd and Harvey to live in peace, she decides to have him committed to the sanitarium as a way to rid herself of that pesky Harvey forever.
But, what happens when Veta gets committed instead of her brother? Is she tortured and poked by all of the gadgets inside the facility? Is it a place she wants her brother to live?
There comes a point where the doctors tell Veta about a special shot they can give Dowd - a shot that, once taken, will rid them of Harvey forever. Dowd will become perfectly normal and just like everyone else. No longer will he be kind and generous to everyone he meets. Instead, he will turn into an angry, bitter person and won't have time to stop and smell the roses.
Dowd doesn't want to take the shot, but he's so eager to please Veta that he agrees. It just so happens that when Veta finds out what happens after the shot, she's not so sure she wants to lose her sweet brother, even if it means Harvey will be around forever.
There's plenty to like about this show. Steve Corelis is a wonderful Dowd, bringing a bit of innocence and genuineness to the character.
Steve Lewis is fantastic as Dr. William Chumley. He throws out some great facial expressions to really sell his role.
Even a smaller character like Mark Rosen as Duane Wilson (the orderly) is quite good. The character comes off as a little, for lack of a better word, dense, and he's always willing to use brute force to make the patients listen, but there's something (almost) charming about him.
The only criticism is that it's not exactly a funny play. There are a few one-liners that go over quite well, but overall, there isn't much to laugh at. Serious (or mostly serious) plays are fine, and there's nothing wrong with them, but don't go in expecting to laugh out loud the entire 2.5 hours. Instead, go in expecting to enjoy a lengthy (you're definitely getting your money's worth) show with a little heart and soul.
Harvey continues tonight through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The show wraps up next Thursday, Friday and Saturday with its final three performances (all at 8 p.m.). Visit http://scplayers.org/reservations/ to purchase tickets.
Key On Arts
An occasional blog of the Santa Clara Performing Arts Foundation.