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Crowds enjoy 'Harvey' performance

By By Adrienne McKenzie
The Greater Escambia Council for the Arts put on a show full of laughs and intrigue this weekend with the performance of "Harvey."
GECA acted out the play written by Mary Chase at First Presbyterian Church in Atmore Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Co-director Sherrie Hursh said the play went well, but she was slightly disappointed with the attendance.
"It went very good," Hursh said. "But, we still need support from the town for the arts."
Residents and guests of Escambia County have two more opportunities to show their support for GECA as the actors and actresses will perform "Harvey" at The Ritz on Nov. 15 and the Brewton Country Club on Nov. 17. Both performances are scheduled for 7 p.m.
"Harvey" provides many giggles to the crowd, according to Hursh.
"If anybody is looking for an evening of wonderful laughter, you won't be disappointed," she said in an interview last week. "It's a wonderful comedy."
"Harvey" is a play that was written by Mary Chase and it won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1945.
The story is about Elwood P. Dowd who has an imaginary friend in a 6 and a half foot tall 'pooka' in the form of a rabbit named Harvey.
A pooka is by definition 'a mischievous spirit in Irish folklore.' In the play, Harvey the invisible rabbit is Dowd's best friend. Dowd's sister Veta Louise Simmons is tired of Harvey and his antics and decides her brother needs to be placed in a sanitarium.
When Simmons and Dowd arrive at the sanitarium, the doctor decides she is the one who needs help and commits her instead of her imaginary rabbit-loving brother.
When the truth finally comes out, people begin looking for Dowd and his invisible friend. Through a series of events, the doctor begins seeing Harvey and the sanitarium orderly is not so certain he isn't real either. The orderly, Duane Wilson, is curious as to what a pooka is and looks up the definition, which reads, "Pooka. From old Celtic mythology. A fairy spirit in animal form. The pooka appears here and there, now and then, to this one and that one at his own caprice. A wise, but mischievous creature. Very fond of rum-pots, crack pots; and how are you Mr. Wilson?" This definition provides the thought that Harvey may actually be real.
The remainder of the play is acted out through various laughs and special moments between the brother, sister and Harvey.
The GECA cast of "Harvey" includes Angelique Owens, "Myrtle Mae Simmons;" Sharon Poulsen, "Veta Louise Simmons;" Phil Johnson, "Elwood P. Dowd;" Ellen Johnson, "Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet;" Samantha Zundel, "Nurse Ruth Kelly;" Troy Pierce, "Duane Wilson;" Jonathan Owens, "Dr. Lyman Sanderson" and "E.J. Lofgren;" Norm Boyd, "Dr. William R. Chumley;" Pam Dees, "Betty Chumley" and Mike McMorris, "Judge Omar Gaffney."
"Harvey" is directed by Hursh and Sharon Poulsen. Those in charge of the set construction include, Mike McMorris, Phil Johnson, Ellis Beachy, Leonard Hursh, Sharon Poulsen, Pam Dees, Sherrie Hursh and Angelique Owens. Sherrie Hursh is also in charge of the lighting and Ellen Johnson in charge of sound.
GECA members thank First Presbyterian Church, Atmore mayor Howard Shell, Robert C. McMillan, the Brewton Country Club and Marsha's Menagerie.
For more information, email gecarts@hotmail.com or call 368-3899.