By MICHELLE SCHMIDT
Goodwin, 54, got connected with the Lewiston Civic Theatre through a summer program in 2000 that his now-grown children were part of. He had only performed in small plays and skits at school and church when he was younger, but once he got a taste for community theater, he was hooked.
It’s not much of a surprise that Goodwin ended up in theater: He loves movies and has a degree in video production, but he found working from home for Hewlett-Packard as a network engineer was preferable when it came to paying the bills.
Here are Goodwin’s thoughts on theater and directing the play “Harvey”:
On what he loves about theater:
“There are different parts that I love. I love being able to act, to create a character. As far as directing, I like getting a vision for a particular story, putting my stamp on a particular story that speaks to me.”
On the relationship between video production and directing plays:
“Growing up I loved movies, but what I love about movies is watching what the director has done, the decisions they made along the way. I did that on a smaller scale with my videos. It’s the same skills in theater, you have to know how to direct people and create that vision in your mind and pass it on so actors can bring that together.”
On what’s great about the show “Harvey”:
“Growing up, it was one of my favorite movies. It is such a fabulous little story about reality and being nice to people and what is one person’s version of reality versus your own. It’s a poignant story. The comedy is derived really from the story and the dialogue, so I get to bring out those funny aspects. It’s a magical little show, it’s really fun.”
On the main themes of “Harvey”:
“Probably the biggest theme is people hiding their feelings, people pretending to fit in. Elwood, the main character, he’s just given up on that. He accepts Harvey for what he is. Life’s better if you’re just being who you are, if you’re not being afraid of it.”
On the difference between directing “Harvey” with a cast of 10 and “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” a show he did last year with a large cast and dance and music numbers:
“You can really focus in on each person a little better. When it’s a big cast, it’s hard to give a lot of specific instruction. Here, I can actually get in and ask, ‘What is your character thinking here?’ It’s more involved with the actual actors.”
On a memorable stage mishap:
“There’s been a ton of those over the years. But one stands out as the worst. I was acting in ‘A Christmas Story.’ I was playing the Old Man and was doing a lot of similar scenes so I was having a hard time keeping track of where I was. My mail, a prop, would have cues for me. The night before we opened, when friends and family are in the audience, I came in without my mail and I was so lost. I ended up doing four scenes all at the same time. … I can look back on it and laugh, but I was terrified that night.”
On the challenges of directing:
“Part of it is getting on the same level as the actors, so they understand their lines and deliver them in a way that the message comes out. It can carry meaning or it can fall flat, so it’s finding that balance. It’s about finding what’s really going on, bringing that through, not just through words, but facial expression. When I direct a show, I always tell the cast that it’s a collaboration. I don’t have all the best ideas. I want them to find their character. That seems to work well.”
Schmidt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (208) 305-4578.
If you go
What: “Harvey: A Comedy in Three Acts”
When: Thursday, March 27, through April 13; Thursday through Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinee time is 2 p.m.
Where: Lewiston Civic Theatre at 805 Sixth Ave. in Lewiston
Cost: $14/adult, $8/children 12 and younger, $11/students with ID, $12/seniors. Purchase tickets by calling (208) 746-3401 or online at www.lctheatre.org.
Additional info: The theater is holding a food drive for the Community Action Food Bank through the run of the show.
Synopsis of “Harvey” (Rated PG)
The story is centered on Elwood P. Dowd, a good-natured, mild-mannered eccentric who is known in all of the cafeterias and saloons in his small town.
Elwood is polite and cheerful and always friendly toward any strangers he might encounter, and he has just one problematic character trait: His best friend is an invisible 6-foot-tall rabbit, Harvey.
Wherever he goes, he brings an extra hat and coat for Harvey, and he buys theater tickets and railroad tickets in twos so that they can go everywhere together.
His sister and her daughter try to have Elwood committed to the local sanitarium, where the behavior of the prominent psychologist and his staff raise the age-old question of who is more dangerous to society: the easy-going dreamer with a vivid imagination or the people who want him to conform to the accepted version of reality.