Backstage Review: ‘Harvey’ at Reno Little Theater

~By Norm Robins~

Elwood P. Dowd is certifiably insane but not by happenstance. He is that way by choice. It’s the only way he can cope with an insane world. Sane people act insane in an insane world. Dowd did that for 40 years but gave it up for a sane world of his own creation. As he tells us, “…I wrestled with reality for forty years, and I am happy to state that I finally won out over it.” And in Dowd’s reality one must be “…so smart…or so pleasant. For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.” He is the most pleasant person imaginable.

Dowd has a friend, a 6-foot 3 ½ inch white invisible rabbit named “Harvey.” It is called a pooka. He is the only one who can see the rabbit or talk with him. That’s nuts. It is so nutty that when his sister tries to commit him to a sanitorium it lands not him but her on the funny farm. Oops! Where oh where is this plot going?

Here are some photos by “TL Solutions”, provided to us by “Reno Little Theater”.

Dowd, played by Kirk Gardner, is a gentle soul of good breeding and impeccable if somewhat superannuated manners. His deference for the other person can’t be missed. He has a seemingly endless inventory of calling cards that he gives to everyone and anyone as a form of ritual. He invites everyone he meets to join him for a drink at Charlie’s or one of his 14 or so other watering holes. He invites them to dinner at his house. He stands when there is a lady in the room standing and sits only after she has been seated. He is the quintessential gentleman.

Here are some photos by Bob Conrad of This is Reno. Bob graciously offerd to share some of his photos with us as we did not photograph “Harvey.” Thank you, Bob and This is Reno.

His sister Veta, played by Judy Davis Rounds, is accused by psychiatrist Sanderson played by Vincent Rodriguez of projecting her own madness on brother Dowd when she tries to have him committed. Sanderson thinks he sees through this conjured up ploy, and commits her instead. The rest of the characters get caught up in the rabbit/no rabbit madness in hilarious situation after hilarious situation. Who knows, maybe it’s better to buy Dowd’s take on things and enjoy the peace it brings? Dowd certainly does.

“Harvey” is a story of acceptance and explores the definition of the expectations of “sanity.” This production of “Harvey” has a cast who bring this question to the audience in a funny and delightful way.

Dana Nöllsch

If you are in the mood for an evening of whimsy, beautifully warm, welcoming whimsy untainted by reality, you must see this play. If you are not in such a mood, so much more the reason to see it. It would do you a world of good. After seeing this play you will have a heart brimming over with happiness and good feelings. Oh happy day!

“Harvey” plays a Reno Little Theater through Oct 20, 2019.

For more information on dates and time check out Reno Little Theaters website: http://renolittletheater.org/

“Harvey” was written by Mary Chase and directed by Stacey Spain.

Cast:

Myrtle Mae Simmons……………Karly Chandler

Veta Louise Simmons…………..Judy Davis Rounds

Elwood P. Dowd…………………Kirk Gardner

Miss Johnson……………………Ruby Cole

Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet…………..Julie Douglass

Dr. Chumly………………………Myron Freedman

Ruth Kelly, R.N…………………Kaitlinn Young

Duane Wilson……………………Ryan Corrigan

Lyman Sanderson, M.D………..Vincent Rodriguez

Betty Chumley……………………Terri Gray

Judge Omar Gaffney……………Patrick Crabb

E. J. Lofgren……………………..Jonathan Gastelo

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