New Theatre Workshop: 7
At Agassiz Theatre
The New Theatre Workshop finished its second year of activity last weekend with a solid if not outstanding program of two plays. The first was Stanley Palombo's new look at the Oedipus story, Oedipus and the Sphinx, which appeared in the recent issue of the Advocate. A translation of Lorca's Don Perlimplin by Ricardo de la Esperiella concluded the entertainment. Neither, obviously, offered anything startlingly original; both were nicely executed and moderately entertaining.
Palomobo's poem gained in the presentation. Robert Beatey as Oedipus, and Elinor Fuchs as a sympathetically obscure Sphinx delivered their lines with a casual dignity which saved the play from any traces of pomposity. The language was pleasantly straight-forward and graceful, and the theme of Oedipus before the crossroads was interesting enough to carry the piece.
The idea behind Don Perlimplin did not come through as clearly as it should have, but I cannot say whether this should be laid to the actors, the translation, or the original. The performances seemed to be uniformly well-handled and the language clear, yet if the actors understood the final meaning of the play they were not totally successful in transmitting it to the audience. Colgate Salsbury as Don Perlimplin was fine as an elderly gentleman who marries in confusion and falls in love with his wife after she has betrayed him, but his subsequent transformation to cleverness and understanding is a surprise in the light of the earlier characterization. Miss Fuchs appeared again as Marcolfa, the servant, and did her usual good job. Mary Anne Goldsmith as Belisa's mother was brief and entertaining, as were Ann Arensberg and Lucia Stein as elves. I suspect Wendy MacKenzie, although charming enough in the part of the bride, was partly responsible for the failure of clarity at the end of the play. Nevertheless, it came off pretty well, and Don Bourne's sets and Bill Meador's music added considerably to the production. These last two plays of the season provided a pleasant relief from the rigors of reading period and added two respectable feathers to the cap of the Workshop group.