This week Tufts offers two verse dramas by the distinguished poet, Archibald MacLeish.
The Music Crept By Me Upon The Waters is a sophisticated comedy involving five couples who have retired from the banalities of business world to a tropical "Paradise."
The Tufts production preserves the compactness of the play and gives it a uniformly paced smoothness. It also conveys the play's balance of emotional intensity, gaiety, sophistication and simplicity.
Priscilla Foley skillfully portrays Elizabeth Stone's variety of emotions and dignity. Betty Black and Henry Mann decrease the smoothness of the performance by muffing lines; but Linda Gitter as Helen Halsey adds brashness, and Robert Dargie's Col. Keogh and Constance Walsh's Sally add color, humor and vitality.
The Trojan Horse, a tragedy based on the Fourth Book of Homer's Odyssey, tells how the Trojan people, cowed by fear, transport the Trojan Horse into their city, thus ensuring their own destruction. More than mere tragedy, it is an ironic and powerful parable, with a profound significance for Americans, because the attitudes that cause the Trojans to accept the horse parallel certain attitudes existing today in America.
MacLeish uses the ancient legend to criticize the tactics used by Senator Joseph McCarthy, in his Congressional investigations. He warnes Americans that "in adopting the tactics of the enemy and in branding as traitors those who try to reason with us, we haul within our gates the agent of our own destruction. Americans, as well as Trojans, can mistake a monster for a God ..." forgetting that patriotism must involve intelligent questioning, rather than passive acceptance or conformity.
Fred Blais as the Old Blind Poet, has a pleasingly sonorous voice, and Paul Fithian, as the Third Councilor, the embodiment of Senator McCarthy, is bombastic, verbose and dynamically forceful.
MacLeish's poetry is tremendously powerful and his heightened richness of speech creates a very moving play, which is well worth seeing for its language as well as for its acting.