Take Her, She’s Mine: Harvard in the ’60s

April 8, 2011

As Harvard students, rushing around campus from dawn to dusk, we can easily forget the many students that have come before us and the trials and tribulations they must have faced in their respective eras.  Thankfully, Take Her, She’s Mine, mounted in the Adams Pool by director Madeleine Bennett (’11), addressed this problem.  A zany comedy about Harvard and Radcliffe in the 1960’s, it was the perfect start to a Saturday night.

Bennett’s directing was true to the time period in which it was written—from the sparse yet effective set to the classic music, it felt like the sixties from the minute the audience entered the theater through the door on stage left.  The set changes throughout the play re-affirmed the period using music choices and funny vignettes for the audience enjoy.  These set changes were both well-rehearsed and enjoyable, and they added to the polished, fast-paced atmosphere that pervaded the entire production.

The story centered on Radcliffe freshman Mollie Michaelson (Jaqui Rossi ’12) and her struggles to find her identity in college.  A sweet California girl, she leaves behind an overbearing father (Ari Brenner ’14), a well-meaning but distracted mother (Brianne Holland-Stergar ’13), and an overlooked little sister (Susanna Wolk ’14).  At Radcliffe, Mollie is influenced by promiscuous friend Sarah (Kate Meakem ’14), and falls in with a pack of trust-fund brats at Harvard, including bad-influence boyfriend Donn Apley (Alex Roux ’10).  However, Mollie eventually becomes associated with a less antagonistic love interest, Jack Hurlbut (Andy Boyd ‘14), and goes abroad to protest.

Jaqui Rossi was the standout in this cast.  Her portrayal of Mollie was easy, natural and sweet, so that even when she arrived home for Christmas dating Donn and putting on airs, she was likeable and relatable.  Tony Sterle (’10) gave another memorable performance as Emmett Whitmeyer, a younger student who harbors a high-school crush on Mollie.  His portrayal of youthful unrequited love was heart-wrenchingly truthful enough to invoke an audible “aww” from the audience in one of his entrances.  As Mollie’s friend Sara, Kate Meakem produced a convincing performance, hitting on everyone from Mollie’s boyfriend to her father with apparent ease and adding an unexpected depth to the character.  The casting of Mollie’s California family, however, wasn’t quite as strong.  Brianne Holland-Stergar was hit or miss as Mollie’s mother—at times, her timing was spot-on, but at others, she seemed over-the-top.  Mollie’s father, played by Ari Brenner, managed some tender moments, but his performance was obscured by the vulgar “old man voice” he seemed to put on.

Take Her, She’s Mine was a quirky comedy, full of uncomplicated laughs, often at the expense of Adrian Arteaga ’14, who wore either a dress or next to nothing as the Michaelsons’ pool boy.  But, as Bennett alluded to in her director’s notes, it also makes a statement about the plight of women at Radcliffe in the 1960’s—for example, Mollie’s father informs her that her purpose in college is to find a husband.  Statement or no statement, though, Take Her, She’s Mine was an enjoyable comedy worth seeing.

The Harvard Art Review Theatre Board


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