Tell us how you came to The Western Stage. What positions have you held here over the years?
In 1980, I was teaching at CalArts and looking for something to do in the summer when CalArts is closed. At that time Western Stage was a summer only operation. I sent out inquiries and Tom Humphrey called me back and asked me if I could come up to Salinas for an interview. The Western Stage at that time was run by Ron Danko and Stan Crane. I was subsequently hired as the ticket office manager. I did that for two consecutive seasons and I also directed “The Tavern” in 1983.
That year, Ron Danko decided he wanted to step down as Artistic Director and Tom Humphrey replaced him, and Hartnell College chose to expand the Western Stage a full year program. Tom asked me if I would be interested in running the front of house operations in the new program. I accepted. The next year the Executive Director of the expanded Western Stage quit and I was appointed to that position. I served with Tom Humphrey through 2000 when I chose to retire. Tom left a few years later to head the Drama Department at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Jon Selover replaced him. In 2008, I felt I had enough of retirement and was searching for work again and was rehired by Western Stage to fill two part-time positions; supervise the Ticket Office and be House Manger.
When did you start writing?
I wrote my first play when I was eleven years old and the reception was such that I never wrote anything for the theater for over twenty-five years. I resumed writing when I was stage managing in New York in about 1970. I wrote a short play about the good intentions of producers and the damaging effects their choices had on the playwright and the production of the play.
What do you find most challenging about writing for the stage?
I don’t find it challenging at all. It is a joyful experience.
What inspires you? Any common themes/ideas that appear in your works?
The search for friendship in the modern world is a recurring element in many of my plays.
What are the three plays being read next weekend? Any particular reason for choosing those titles?
The three plays are:
Why Norman Finklestein Doesn’t Call is a play I wrote almost thirty years ago. It was originally a short fifteen page play produced at Theatre Forty in Los Angeles. I was never satisfied with it because it was limited to two characters. I always believed that there were more characters needed to fill out the action. I have written them in this version which is over sixty pages long. Basically, it is a quirky romantic comedy about two people who had a successful one-night fling ten years earlier who are reunited when they occupy adjoining apartments.
Walter Comics was inspired by my desire to say something to young people about the finality of death. It is written in a form analogous to a newspaper comic strip. In it, a teenage boy has killed himself in an apparent accident. And because it was an accident he doesn’t think he has to lie down and be buried like everyone else. Believe it or not, it is a comedy.
Changes in Chicago is a short play about the significant places in one’s life that have disappeared in the relentless struggle for progress. An old man is stopped by a woman motorcycle cop on the spot where he experienced the wonderful memories of his youth, but now all the structures in which those memories had been created have been demolished.
You are also a director. What are some of your favorite past projects you’ve directed?
“A Piece of My Heart” and “Trojan Women” are among many, many fond memories.
If you couldn’t work in theater, what would you do instead?
Imitate Picasso – paint and create like there’s no tomorrow.
If you could have coffee with any character from this weekend’s readings, who would it be?
I don’t know how to answer that, except to apologize for not making their parts bigger.
Come see Harvey’s staged readings in the Studio Theater at Hartnell College, Saturday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 26 at 2:00 p.m. Admission is FREE!
Three stories, three casts, three directors – ONE delightful performance!
For more information about A Weekend With Harvey or SpringFEST 2017, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.