Five Friday Questions with ‘Diana of Dobson’s’ star Helen Harvester

Helen Harvester Erik Stuhaug

Before there was Eliza Doolittle there was Diana of Dobson’s: a young woman, overworked and underpaid with little chance of success, until her chance comes by way of an unexpected inheritance. Written in 1908 by Cicely Hamilton, Diana of Dobson’s is as fresh and relevent today as it was then. We recently chatted with Helen Harvester, who plays the plucky young shopgirl, about living rooms, oysters, and Lisbeth Salander.

What’s your favorite thing about your character?

Diana is fearlessly eloquent. She has a polished, well-reasoned retort for every situation and is unafraid of the consequences of speaking her mind.

What’s the best role you’ve ever played?

Hands down, Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story. I’ve been lucky enough to play her twice. I love her carefully hidden vulnerability beneath her headstrong facade. 

What’s your dream role—realistic or not?

I love the classics. I would love to play Hedda Gabler. As a dream role that doesn’t exist yet in play form, I would totally go for Lisbeth Salander.

The place you run your lines?

My living room, though I usually have to cram it in on the bus.

Your favorite place to see theatre in Seattle?

If we are speaking Seattle proper, then On the Boards. But Harlequin Productions in Olympia is doing some of the best work in the area. They are absolutely worth the drive. Productions are gorgeous and their seasons are always varied and exciting.

Your favorite park in Seattle? 

Discovery Park, where it opens up into fields. It reminds me of running through tall grass as a kid.

The best thing about being a Seattleite? 

Summer. And the oysters.