by Mary Chase
This is Andy Marchant's sixth show with the Tower Theatre.
Previously directing experience at Tower consists of The
Trial, Terrorism and Sherlock Holmes. Previous acting experience was as the anorexic, much younger Shelley in Bloody Poetry, and the brief
Bilton in Major Barbara. Previous directing experience outside of Tower includes Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Tragedy of the Prince of Denmark, Gormenghast (SEDOS), Alfie, What the Dickens?, A Number, The Arsonists
The director writes :
At its centre are a charming gentlemen and his well-meaning sister, both of whom provide a burden to the other.
It has the tone of a screwball comedy, but behind that it is a cynical tale about approaches to mental health, alcoholism and delusions, coping with depression, and Celtic Mythology
Veta Louise Simmons lives with her brother Elwood in the house bequeathed to him by their late mother. Veta, and her daughter Myrtle Mae are aspirational social climbers, but Elwood presents as a problem to this. Though he is pleasant and generous, he makes a habit of frequenting bars and befriending "unsuitable" people - the most unsuitable of all being Elwood's best friend, a 6 foot 3½-inch-tall invisible rabbit named Harvey.
Harvey is a fantastic contradiction of a play. It is undoubtedly a warm, quick witted screwball comedy, with cases of mistaken identity; awkward situations with embarrassing relations; and wistful reflections on living life well. But it also takes an unorthodox look at mental health, and the coping mechanisms of the individual, the family around them, and the society they live in.
There are two different locations in the play. The first is The Dowd Library, home to telephones, doors to other areas and a giant fireplace over which a portrait hangs. The other is Chumley's Rest, a sanatorium for troubled folks.
The characters are :
There are several roles of various sizes in Harvey. I would be hoping to cast without doubling up (if actors were open to taking smaller roles). Ages listed are from absolute minimum to completely open :
Veta Louise Simmons - Female, Lead role (40s+) She has a deep affection for her brother, despite his faults, but has hopes for her daughter and is an aspirational social climber. The role is a big one both physically and comedically.
Elwood P. Dowd - Male, Lead role (40s+) : A sweet natured man, with sage advice for anyone he meets, but with it, an alcoholic. He has been damaged by something, although it is never explicitly said. Requires an actor who can interact with a giant invisible rabbit.
Myrtle Mae Simmons - Female, Supporting (20s+) : Veta's daughter, similarly a social climber. She wants to find herself a husband fast, but finds it hard with Elwood around. Not to mention Harvey. Never mention Harvey.
Wilson - Male, Supporting (20s+) : An orderly at Chumley's Rest, quite prepared to get physical in the course of his duty.
Lyman Sanderson, M.D. - Male, Supporting (20s+) : A young, brilliant and good looking psychiatrist. Also a little proud and arrogant.
William R. Chumley, M.D. - Male, Supporting (40s+) : Lead psychiatrist at Chumley's Rest. Happy to take the back seat with actual work. May have a few issues of his own
Judge Omar Gaffney - Male, Supporting (40s+) : A friend of the family.
Ruth Kelly, R.N. - Female, Supporting (20s+) : A nurse at Chumley's Rest who becomes fond of Elwood and his philosophies.
Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet - Female, Featured (50s+) : An old friend of the family who Elwood is keen to introduce Harvey to.
Betty Chumley - Female, Featured (40s+) : Dr Chumley's wife who encounters Elwood in the home.
E.J. Lofgren - Male, Featured (30s+) : A seasoned cabbie, familiar with the kind of people who are driven to Chumley's Rest.
Please read the play before auditioning - a copy is available from the Tower Office or from the Director. They will also be able to send you a pdf file of the extracts that will be used during the auditions.
We are looking for the following :
If you are interested in any of these roles or in being involved in the show in any other capacity please contact the Director, Andy Marchant.