September 25, 2018
Story and photos by Brandon Steinert
The Barton Community College Theatre Department will present “Harvey” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 and 6, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Fine Arts Auditorium on campus. Tickets are $5 at the door; students admitted free.
“Harvey” is a 1945 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about Elwood P. Dowd, a mild-mannered pleasant man who claims his best friend is a pooka, an Irish folklore creature which is considered to be bringers of both good and bad fortune, in the form of an invisible six-foot-one-and-a-half-inch-tall rabbit.
Sophomore in Theatre Jessica Pfortmiller plays a supporting role as Nurse Kelly, one of the medical staff at a sanitarium whose love interest is one of the doctors at the facility.
“I love how fast-paced ‘Harvey’ is,” she said. “A lot of older shows are slow and drag on, but Harvey keeps the audience on their toes because they don’t know what’s going to come next. It’s just full of surprises.”
Pfortmiller said she has been in about 10 plays in the two years she has been attending Barton, and that theatre and acting helped her come out of her shell.
“Back in middle school, in fifth grade, I was a shy little kid,” she said. “But, I thought theatre was the coolest thing and I became obsessed with musicals. Then I stepped out and gave it a try and loved it. It has helped me grow in my confidence.”
While theatre helped her play a bigger role in life, it also helps her escape reality when the pressure is on.
“School is stressful, but no matter what’s going on in my life, I can go and be another person on stage,” she said. “I don’t have to think about assignments that are due; I can just be another character and take a load off.”
Pfortmiller said she hasn’t decided where she’s going for her education after Barton, but would like to be involved with theatre somehow for the rest of her life, whether through teaching or community theatre. In the meantime, her focus is on Harvey and helping her castmates make it the best it can be.
“I would encourage everyone to come see it,” she said. “It’s a lot of laughs for five dollars.”
Theatre Director Dr. Richard Abel said the plays are open to community participants and students alike, which allows students to interact with performers from all walks of life.
“We are open to everyone and I want everyone to be involved in my plays,” he said. “I want community members, theatre majors and non-theatre majors at Barton, high school students and junior high students all to be involved.”