Celebrating ‘nice’

'Harvey' will be performed at WHS this weekend

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Far right, Veta Louise Simmons (Robyn Pfeifer) implores her brother, Elwood P. Dowd (Austin Lindsey), to please take medication so that he will quit seeing Harvey, a large imaginary rabbit, everywhere he goes.

An affable man and his imaginary friend will grace the stage at Washougal High School during the production of “Harvey” this weekend.

The Pulitzer prize winning play, written by Mary Chase, premiered on Broadway in 1944 and ran until 1949. It was also made into a movie, starring Jimmy Stewart.

It is about Elwood P. Dowd, a likable man who claims to have a pooka, in the form of a large rabbit, as his constant companion. Since no one but Ellwood can see the 6 foot, 3 inch bunny, it is assumed to be his imaginary friend. He introduces Harvey to everyone he meets, much to the embarrassment of his social-climbing sister, Veta Louise Simmons.

She decides to have him committed to a mental institution, to spare her daughter Myrtle Mae and their family from future embarrassment.

However, once Veta and Ellwood arrive at the sanitarium, a comedy of errors ensues, and the doctors commit Veta instead of Elwood.

WHS Drama Director Kelly Gregersen said he chose “Harvey” because of its rich history.

“I really like to do one show a year with a history,” he said. “This is one of the most produced pieces since it came out. As famous as this play was, it was a great choice. It was also one of my mom’s favorite movies.”

The 12-person cast is definitely smaller than most recent WHS productions, but it also provides a unique opportunity.

“This group really gets to focus on the play and each other,” he said. “It’s fun to be able to do that.”

Senior Austin Lindsey plays the role of Ellwood.

“He is a very happy man, content with everything, and makes the best of every situation,” he said. “Usually the characters I play are jerks, so it’s nice to portray a good guy. I get to show the audience my nice side instead of having people think I’m a jerk.”

Junior Robyn Pfeifer plays the role of Veta.

“She’s his older sister who can’t stand Harvey the rabbit,” she said. “She gets herself into a lot of trouble, before learning to accept Ellwood the way he is.”

Pfeifer added that she enjoys her character.

“She is fun to play with her voice and her mannerisms,” she said.

“Harvey” will play at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $5 for adults, and $3 for students.

The 2011 Grad Night Committee will host a pasta dinner and auction at 5 p.m. Saturday, so those who wish to do so can buy dinner before the show. The cost is $7 and includes, pasta, salad, bread and a beverage.