Driftwood Players

"Harvey" May 1976

By Mary Chase, Directed by Bill Davis

Robert Hannan: (Elwood P. Dowd) Phyllis Shrauger: (Veta Louise Simmons) Valentina Pearson: (Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet)

Phyllis Shrauger, Geri Offrink: (Myrtle Mae Simmons)

Robert Hannan, Geri Offrink, Phyllis Shrauger, Valentina Pearson

Marina Zabiaka: (Ruth Kelly, R.N.) Lance Abelsen: (Lyman Sanderson, M.D.)

Pictures by
Robert Kegel

From The Daily World, Saturday, May 1, 1976

'Harvey' - you'll be tickled and touched

World Staff Writer

        An evening with "Harvey" is like a visit with old friends. Not only because the whimsical comedy has been around for so long that most of us over 30 have seen it at least once, not only because the Elwood P. Dowd of the Driftwood Players production last night was Elwood P. Dowd for the Willapa Players 19 years ago -- but because the gentle humor and the friendliness of the main characters seems to rub off on the audience.

    So when you go to see the production in the Driftwood Playhouse, prepare to be amused, tickled and touched, to come away wishing more people were as crazy as Elwood P. Dowd -- and maybe, just maybe, halfway believing in giant invisible white rabbits.

    ELWOOD P. DOWD'S ingenuous friendliness, his gentle illogic and his matter-of-fact acceptance of unreality are portrayed seemingly without effort by Robert Hannan, who in real life is a very logical judge. But then he's had a lot of practice  -- he played the same role nearly two decades ago on Willapa Harbor.

    He has the perfect foil in Phyllis Shrauger, as Dowd's fluttery, perennially distressed sister Veta Louise. Shrauger, with many stage roles behind her, is able to extract the maximum in laughter from the audience and make her Veta Louise a sympathetic "villain."

    And then there's a newcomer to the Driftwood stage, Earl Johnson, who did Dr. Chumley to perfection. Portraying convincingly a somewhat pompous, overbearing psychiatrist who definitely does not believe in invisible white rabbits, he was just as effective in showing that every man has his own secret dreams.

    IN THE RATHER small part of an elderly judge, Jim Ball was outstanding. Ray Phillips' wild-eyed sanatorium attendant makes one wonder how a doctor decides who to put in the white coat and who should go in the strait-jacket.

    Geri Offrink was not very sympathetic as Elwood's niece, but she wasn't supposed to be. She was supposed to be shrill and shallow, and she was. Marina Zabiaka and Lance Abelsen were amusing as the nurse-doctor romantic interest. Jane Clarke's well-meaning Mrs. Chumley made the audience appreciate Dr. Chumley's secret dreams.

    Valentina Pearson and Jack Shrauger made their bit parts memorable, as they have in many Driftwood plays. Loretta Bowman filled out the cast as the family servant.

    A BOUQUET to Bill Davis for direction with a light touch as befits whimsy, and kudos to Jim Brown and Mike Sturm for stage settings that carried us back to the 1930's, and to Jan Wolfe for managing the crew that moved it all around at the right times.

    And what can we say about "Harvey," the hero of the play? We can't describe him for you, for everyone has his own private "Harvey." But if you get to the Driftwood Playhouse in Hoquiam at 8:15 tonight or the nights of May 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22, we believe you'll come out knowing at least what Elwood P. Dowd's invisible Harvey looks like. 

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