The playwright Jean Giradoux had a knack for treating heavy philosophical subjects in a light way. In L'Apollo de Bellac, being performed in French at Winthrop House this weekend, it's the classical theme of beauty that's the target. As the play opens, the Greek god Apollo comes to earth with the mission of teaching a woman the secret to any man's heart: Tell him he's handsome, Apollo says; no matter how ugly, any man will believe that. It takes little social consciousness to predict that this open sesamegets the woman into more trouble than she asked for and eventually into the arms of Apollo himself. And it should take little knowledge of French to appreciate the warmth and humanity of this production. Performances are tonight and tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the door.
A slow, calming atmosphere of ritual and myth pervades the Loeb Ex this weekend. Hali by G.V. Desani, a four character play that is perhaps more like a quiet reading than a show, is the traditional Hindu story of a beautiful nature boy and his representations of family, love, and emotional life. With a voice reminiscent of Kahil Gibran, Desani quiets the emotions and stills the action to bring to the audience that famous peace. Performances are tonight through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee Saturday at 3. Free tickets are available at noon the day before the performance at the Loeb box office.
The scandal of London in the 1920's was the young poet Edith Sitwell. She paraded around town dressed in exotic costumes and wearing gigantic sapphires on her fingers. She wrote "positively outrageous poetry" and she went around discovering poets, like Dylan Thomas, who were thought to be even more scandalous than herself. According to director Peter Sellars '80, Facade, "An Entertainment," the sparkling musical parody which William Walton wrote for Sitwell's poetry has "no plot, no characters." Then why did Sellars decide to stage this extravagant new production of poetry, puppetry, mime and dance and why did the Loeb (whoever is actually running it these days) decide to let him. "It was just irresistible," Sellars says. At its first performance in 1923, Facade caused such a ruckus that the fire department was called in. It's not yet certain that this weekend at the Loeb things will be that much calmer. Performances are tonight through Saturday at 8 p.m. and next weekend too.
At the center of the new Quincy House production of A Midsummer Night's Dream is the lush poetry of Shakespeare and images of reverie and nightmare, woven together carefully, like a spell. In Titiana's bower, the fairies, who also appear as the courtiers and in two choreographed scenes at the beginning and the end of the show, develop insect-like personalities and the dark underside of Puck is revealed. The elaborate production has been sealed together by the people who brought The Beggar's Opera to Adams House last year. In the stage's flood of dark blue light, lie back and be wooed. Performances are tonight through Saturday at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $2.50 and can be purchased at Holyoke Center or at the door.
Across the street, meanwhile, at Lowell House, Puck is also recognizing mortals for fools. Song is the key note here with Benjamin Britten's full-scale opera of A Midsummer Night's Dream being staged in all its glory. Performances also begin tonight and run through Saturday at 8:30 p.mm.