Smash Hit

A few blocks down Massachusetts Avenue one of the best farces to be produced in many years is showing nightly before a packed house. Opening night at the show was not the sensation that one might expect, for at the time there was no indication that the play would have such a run. It has already put ten performances behind it and threatens to continue indefinitely.

There is no real lead in the play. Top roles are shared by nine men, all of whom happen to be members of the Cambridge City Council. Their acting is well nigh flawless. The plot is centered around the futile and ludicrous efforts of a City Council to elect a mayor from among the members of the Council. To date they have held 319 ballots, and no one has been chosen, though at a point early in the balloting one of the actors had four votes and needed only his own to make him mayor of the city. Fortunately he was too modest to vote for himself. That would have spoiled the whole performance.

There have been some charges that the entire plot was lifted from one of the early Mack Sennett comedies. The good boys (stamped by the CCA) are battling the bad boys (Micky Sullivan's cohorts). But the good boys can't agree upon a plan of action, so they are thwarted at every turn. Eventually, just when it seems sure that the bad boys have won the day, they will be confused by some daring stratagem, and virtue will reign triumphant--maybe.

The final touch of irony is added by the fact that even if some ones does eventually get elected mayor, it will be a hollow victory. For Cambridge has a City Manager type of government, commonly known in Massachusetts as Plan E. The Manager is the persons who really runs the city; the mayor glories in his title and draws down an extra thousand shekels a year.

Promoters in other cities have been watching the production with great interest. Perhaps they plan to institute similar productions all over the country. And well they might. An election marathon has infinitely greater possibilities than six day bicycle racing. It is a much funnier and far less tiring form of indoor sport.