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Paynesville Press - May 29, 2002

Actors to stage comedy production

By Ryan Flanders

Harvey actors The Paynesville Area High School Theater Department is snickering again. Their latest play, "Harvey," will have audiences holding their sides.

The action takes place this Friday and Saturday evening at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission to the new auditorium is a bargain basement $3 for adults and $1 for students.

This play involves a great deal of trouble making by the character of Harvey, who is not played by a member of the Theater Department, but rather is a six-and-a-half-foot imaginary rabbit.

Elwood P. Dowd (Josh Johnson, far left) introduces his imaginary friend Harvey (a six-and-a-half-foot rabbit) to (left to right) Ethel (Cahlean Klenke), Veta Louise (Sami Tierney), and Myrtle Mae (Maureen Flanders).

Sound ridiculous? That's exactly why this make-believe character creates such a scene!

Sami Tierney, who has been performing in different milieus for as far back as she can remember, offered her take on the play: "It's about a bunch of psychopaths and a big white rabbit... with a couple little trysts."

The play is a case of mistaken insanity, which creates ordinary situations under zany circumstances, and makes for hilarious interplay between the characters. When Elwood P. Dowd (Josh Johnson) speaks of his bizarre imaginary friend, his sister Veta (Tierney) contrives to put him in a sanitarium to save her daughter Myrtle Mae (Maureen Flanders) and the rest of the family from embarrassment.

Instead, the hysterical Veta is the one who the doctors determine looney, and the quirky comedy follows.

"It's a fun play with lots of subtle humor," said Flanders. "And some that's not so subtle," she added with a grin.

This will be the first high school drama production in the new auditorium. Susie Swyter was thankful to have a dedicated facility for both the play itself and for rehearsal.

"We get to practice the blocking where we're going to perform, which is very helpful. We don't have to scramble at the last minute to get used to the stage," she said with the look of a knowing veteran.

The students, directed by Ken Vork, have been rehearsing every weeknight for two hours for over a month.

The play promises to be a riot, so head on over to the auditorium to check it out—if for no other reason than to see someone break a leg!

Cast of Characters
Ruth Kelly, R.N.: Jenna Berry
Judge Omar Gaffney: Mark Braun
Myrtle Mae Simmons: Maureen Flanders
Elwood P. Dowd: Josh Johnson
Lyman Sanderson, M.D.: Andy Jones
William R. Chumley, M.D.: Chris Kern
Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet: Cahlean Klenke
Duane Wilson: Peter Schreifels
Betty Chumley: Susie Swyter
Veta Louise Simmons: Sami Tierney
Directed by: Kenneth Vork

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