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SIC Theatre presents "Harvey" February 22-23

February 21, 2014

Harvey is coming to Southeastern Illinois College’s George T. Dennis Visual & Performing Arts Center Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. 

Harvey is a 1944 classic American comedy by the American playwright Mary Chase. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1945, and has been adapted for film and television several times, most notably in a 1950 film starring James Stewart.

In the play, Elwood P. Dowd (played by Dylan Comer of Carrier Mills) is a warm and friendly man who claims to have an unseen (and presumably imaginary) friend, Harvey, whom he describes as a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall rabbit. Elwood introduces Harvey to everyone he meets. His social-climbing sister, Veta (played by Harrisburg’s Salena Russell) increasingly finds his eccentric behavior embarrassing.  She decides to have him committed to a sanitarium to spare her and her daughter Myrtle Mae from future embarrassment.

When they arrive at the sanitarium, a comedy of errors ensues. The young, handsome, and flirtatious Dr. Sanderson (Sean Partain of Harrisburg) commits Veta instead of Elwood, but when the truth comes out, the search is on for Elwood and his invisible companion. When Elwood shows up at the sanitarium looking for his lost friend, Harvey, it seems that the mild-mannered Elwood's delusion has had a strange influence on the staff, including sanitarium director Dr. Chumley (Braden Downs of Benton).  Only just before Elwood is to be given an injection that will make him into a "perfectly normal human being,” does Veta realize that she'd rather have Elwood the same as he's always been — carefree and kind — even if it means living with Harvey.

“The most challenging part of this particular show is keeping it believable while having to work with a main character that’s not really there,” said Salena Russell, who plays Veta.

The comedy is presented under the direction of SIC director of theatre, Allan Kimball, and student assistant director/stage manager, Rachel Stearns from Anna.  Other cast members include Cassandra Watkins (Harrisburg), Shay Wood (Shawneetown), Jason Green (Golconda), Justin Leinenbach (Eldorado), Kristy Fox (Carrier Mills), Skai Tso (Galatia) and Aaron Lazaro (Rosiclare).

“The play was written in a time when we were looking for feel-good comedies in the 1940s and early 50s.  It’s a story about believing in things you don’t necessarily see,” said Kimball.  “Elwood sees only the good in a society of people that don’t.  In the end, we all realize it’s better to see life through the eyes of Elwood, and we should all have our own little ‘Harvey’ that we can believe in.”

Costumes are the creations of Janet Hart’s fashion design class at Harrisburg High School, while John Hart of Hart’s Music in Harrisburg is providing sound for the show. The show’s set design and lighting are the products of Kimball’s stagecraft and technical theater class at SIC.

Tickets are $8 general admission, $6 for students, staff and seniors.  Seating is first-come with tickets available at the door.  For tickets in advance, contact the box office at 618-252-5400, ext. 2486 or 2487 or boxoffice@sic.edu.

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