Harvey - September 30 - October 03, 2021

Munster High School


Harvey  in 2021

Harvey has been a play that has intrigued me for some time now.  As a comedy set against the backdrop of mental illness, there is some risk of audience members perceiving the show as making fun of those who suffer.  However, looking at time and place really helps to bring the true message of the story into focus.


The show takes place in the 1940s, when mental hospitals like Chumley’s Rest tried to make the public believe that their relatives were being well cared for.  Even the name “Chumley’s Rest” makes one think of the place as more of a resort than a mental hospital.  But the discussion of what the patients endure paints a different picture.  


Enter Elwood, Harvey, and the rest of the Dowd clan.  Through this story, Veta comes to realize that Elwood’s obsession with Harvey is not worth giving up the charming man that her nephew is.  The cab driver tells us that no one who leaves Chumley’s Rest is ever the same.  And even Chumley himself seems to connect with Elwood, especially after his own run-in with Harvey!


So what are we to make of it all?  By the end of the play not everyone agrees with the decision that Elwood and Veta make.  In real life in 2021, not everyone sees mental illness the same way.  Though times have changed, the sentiment towards mental illness has not.  Playwright Mary Chase seems to have been a bit ahead of her time in the ending she has written.  


I hope that you all enjoy this show.  Our students have had fun in exploring this famous script and working to embody the characters in it.    A special thank you to the students and their parents who allow them to participate in theatre.  For many of us, theatre is who we are, not what we do.  Finally, thank you also for coming out to our first live performance in 20 months!  It is good to have you all “Back in the Seats”!


--R. Palasz



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