REVIEW: Theatre Black box production of ‘Harvey’ provides a welcoming connection with the audience


Courtesy of SCHS Drama Dept

(left to right) Junior Maxwell Pearl, Senior Anirudh Tanugula, Junior Anita Sagar, Senior Laine Russell, Junior Sean Wainzinger, Senior Antonio Davila and Senior Sean McBride preform in "Harvey."

A bright personality and love for his friends. Six feet tall. Rather large ears. This is Harvey, the six-foot-tall rabbit and star of the Theatre Production Class’s Black Box production, “Harvey,” directed by senior Madison Kohls.

Usually, SCHS’s drama department has two productions – a fall play and spring musical –  that are held in the main theater and open to all students to audition. This year, however, the Theatre Production Class hosted two Black Box plays that were performed by the students in the class. “12 Angry Jurors” played on Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27, followed by “Harvey,” performed on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4.

“Harvey” began with Myrtle Mae Simmons and her daughter Veta Louise Simmons complaining about Myrtle’s brother Elwood P. Dowd, played by senior Rudy Tanugula. Elwood was causing problems for the family with his best friend Harvey, a large rabbit. Only Elwood can see Harvey and communicate with him.

Myrtle decides to take Elwood to a mental hospital, but Dr. Sanderson, played by junior Maxwell Pearl, becomes very confused while she explains her brother’s condition. Dr. Sanderson then believes Myrtle is the person with a disorder and admits her into the hospital.

The entire exchange was very comical, and laughs echoed throughout the crowd. Dr. Sanderson’s confused facial expressions were helpful in understanding the scene and added a layer of color.   

There were entertaining moments throughout the show, but in some parts, the dialogue dragged. The actors made up for this by projecting and speaking clearly. Sitting in the back row, not a word was unheard, even without microphones. Being in the smaller room was also enjoyable because it was more personal, giving the audience a closer connection with the thespians.

Tanugula played the part of Elwood well as his voice and mannerisms were believable. Natalie DeSousa, who played Ruth Kelly, a nurse in the mental hospital, also gave a fantastic performance. She delved deep into her role and was dramatic but not too overpowering.

The Black Box production of “Harvey” was very entertaining and was a nice addition to SCHS’s Drama Department, bringing diversity from the usual fall and spring plays with a fresh performance.