I managed to attend “Harvey” this weekend. This was my fifth viewing of the story on stage. I doubt that anyone needs an overview of the story…if you were smart enough to use a computer and find this story you are informed enough to know the storyline. In brief, an imaginary (or maybe not) white rabbit happens to befriend the main character.
The Tennessee Stage Company’s Founding Artistic Director, Tom Parkhill, plays Ellwood P. Dowd. Parkhill is simply a delight as Ellwood. Although I’ve seen the play several times, I’ve never seen anyone that was such a clear match for the character.
Ellwood’s view of life can be summed up with one simple statement: “My mother told me that ‘…in this world, Elwood, you must be Oh So Smart! or Oh So Pleasant!’ For years, I was smart. I recommend Pleasant. You may quote me.”
The production is directed and designed by Brandon Slocum. Much of the success of this production lands squarely on her shoulders.
The cast does a great job at times, and misses the mark at others. I had a hard time warming up to Carl Thompson as Dr. Sanderson, but by the end of the night I was convinced he had been on the mark all evening. Beth Loftis does a fantastic job in the short time she is on stage as Mrs. Chumley, other cast members could take a cue from her animation and expression during the times when she does NOT have lines. Her reactions are as expressive as her delivery of lines.
It’s hard to find time to get everything done this time of year, but this is worth the effort. The Tennessee Stage Company will present the Pulitzer-Prize-winning play “Harvey” Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 14 to 17 and Nov. 21 to 24.
Performances will be given at 8 each evening, with matinee performances at 3 p.m. both Sundays.
General admission costs $12, and tickets for students and seniors ages 65 and older cost $10. For reservations, call (865) 546-4280. Seating is limited.