Laughter Returns to MHS’ Stage with Fall Production: Harvey

BY ABBY DODSON

This fall, the cast and crew of Mariemont’s play, Harvey, gear up for the “most lighthearted production” to grace the stage here in a long time. Excitement and anticipation mount as the tight-knit group shifts into the crunch time before their shows on November 16th, 17th, and 18th.

Play rehearsals are underway! (PHOTO BY COX)

The whole team commented on their excitement for the humorous story and refreshing genre of this year’s show. Whitney Weiss, who plays Nurse Kelly, says that Harvey is “actually really funny.” 

In the past, productions like Twelve Angry Jurors and Arsenic and Old Lace endured more intense acting, and the whole team was ready for this breath of fresh air.

Student director Emily Cox says that the show is, “surprisingly relatable.” “It’s really a story anybody can enjoy, from little kids to adults,” Cox says. 

On the outside, it’s a comedy, but when you dig deeper, Harvey tackles some heavy themes. According to male lead, Daniel Keyes, “it’s about an imaginary bunny, but there are underlying tones about family and the importance of family.”

He also later mentions that the show comments on mental illness. But, he does say that the production is, “funny for it’s comedic timing,” an acting challenge he looks forward to.

As for the characters, Keyes stars as Elwood P. Dowd, a twofold character. Keys is expected to voice and interact with an imaginary bunny as well as play Dowd himself. He commented, “I have to be an actor and portray this whole other character”. But Keyes is ready for the lead role, claiming that it’s in his wheelhouse, “I grew up playing imaginary games.”

The Harvey Program for the November production. (GRAPHIC BY DODSON)

The cast explained that there were early struggles with a new position: student director–a role filled by Emily Cox, who stepped down from the stage to take the administrative position. Cox says, “It was hard to balance being this position of authority because it was awkward to tell people when things need to change.” 

Keyes explained that this may be because she was a peer. Weiss says that, “It was hard to figure out who was in charge of what.” 

However, these struggles were short lived,  thanks to the small group that participates in the play. Keyes explained that the group was close enough that  they could, “talk about struggles” and that it was “easier to work things out,” as compared to the large group that participates in the spring musical.

As a whole, the cast emphasized the comedic qualities of Harvey, and talked about how exciting this lighthearted story is. Weiss, a senior, is excited to return to the stage, and says, “I am excited to be doing the play again before I graduate.”

Cox says, “I am most excited to see how how we pull it together,” and says her role as director is especially thrilling, since she’s like an outsider looking in.

As for Keyes, he knows that the fall is a busy time. But he says that this talented group will “really come together in [these] last few days.”

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