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IMG_2212Who doesn’t like the acting prowess of Jimmy Stewart.  From the early days of black and white film, this legendary actor brought us to tears, laughter, thoughtfulness and patriotism.  His winsome way has never stopped winning loyal fans from decade to decade.

Stewart starred is many major films.  He is included in the lists of iconic actors who have shaped the notoriety of Hollywood.  His talent is legendary.

Yet, his role in the film Harvey is eventually mentioned in the words of those film historians and fans of the silver screen.  That is the role that has defined this often repeated story.  A man with many talents and opportunities has an invisible six-foot three-point five-inch tall rabbit as a constant companion.

His family is quirky.  A niece and sister carry on a plot to have him committed to a sanitarium.  They are embarrassed and uncomfortable with what they perceive as odd behavior.  Of course they interpret what they do not like to who they are not liking.

Zach’s in Austin has a showing for this charming stage performance.  We loved it.  Elwood P. Dowd is played by a wonderful talent, Martin Burke.  From the moment Burke enters the stage, his countenance, laughter and conversation win your funny bone and endears him to your entertainment tastes.

He is perfectly believable and whoever can convince an audience that he is in fact having a conversation and relationship with a 6’3.5″ invisible rabbit has to have some talent.  Before long you are convinced that people whose lives are run by self-centered prejudices are all too common.

This play is entertaining.  Then, the themes linger long.  Can pleasantness ever be valued as much more desirable than “normalcy?”  Does not the cheer and encouragement that a pleasant brings much more beneficial than the judgmental imposition of the narrow prejudices of the socially acceptable?

Veta played by Laura Lane is a versatile talent.  Her initial limitations and comic skills and of course her role as the one who believes but plays a traditional part is outstanding.  Do people really hide what they experience in life because of the mores of societal acceptance?

This performance at Zach’s is amazing.  It is well worth seeing, experiencing and contemplating.  Bravo!

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography