Harvey will be played from September 21 at Roundabout Theater.
Summary : Elwood- Jacques Gamblin — is a sweet wacko flanked by an imaginary friend, a six-foot-tall white rabbit, whom he calls Harvey. In the hushed comfort of the Simmons’ house, Elwood’s madness disrupts the oily mechanics of bourgeois society and its habits. Head to the asylum, passing through labyrinths of misunderstandings and hilarious twists, in a fantastic fresco with sets fallen from the sky or emerging from the backstage.
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Iconic Broadway play since its creation in 1944, Pulitzer Prize for its author Mary Chase, Harvey twists the codes of comedy, mixes childish cruelty and wonder in a humanist epic, a rhythmic ode to difference.
” Mary Chase takes us, in every sense of the word, from a cramped living room to a modern private clinic. With talent, she alternates enormous laughter, tenderness and suspense, to tell the extravagant story of Elwood P. Dowd and his rabbit. So the play navigates between burlesque and wickedness, madness and generosity, loneliness and sweet empathy. And especially, Chase creates Elwood, a lunar and disturbing character, fearing neither spells, nor cruelty, nor the unknown. An active dreamer who lives an “on the side” life and who wants nothing more than to take Harvey for a drink, at Charlie’s, where they have their habits…” – Agathe Melinand
►►► Extract :
- Sanderson : Good… Everything will be easier since you cooperate… Sooner or later, Dowd, you have to accept reality.
- Elwood : Reality ? I’ve fought reality all my life, Doctor, and I’m glad I finally won. Well, I’m going to have to leave you, we have tons of things to do, Harvey and I.
- Kelly : And what are you doing ?
- Elwood : Well… We go around the bars, we have a drink, we put coins in the jukebox. Often, people look at me and they smile, they say: “Sir, we don’t know you, but you seem awfully nice. It warms the hearts of Harvey and me. We were alone and suddenly we have friends. They join us, they sit with us, they drink with us, they talk with us, they tell their hopes and their failures, their loves and their hates. Everything is exaggerated because no one is measured in a bar. So, I introduce them to Harvey who is what matters most to me. When they leave, they are very impressed, they rarely come back. It’s jealousy, my dear. Even in the best of us there is a bit of jealousy… It’s a shame…
- Sanderson : And why did you call him Harvey?
- Elwood (proudly): That’s his name.
“It’s a comedy that leaves power to the imagination and dreams, while grating with all its twists… Harvey addresses the themes of difference, tolerance and loneliness… A lot. Mary Chase points to an unbearable world where incommunicability weighs. The friend Harvey is a factor of optimism which tumbles in this shrunken society…” Laurent Pelly
Text : Mary Chase
New translation: Agathe Melinand
Staging: Laurent Pelly
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Harvey at the Théâtre du Rond-Point from Sept 21 to Oct 8, 2022