The first public performance of the Pi Eta play, "The Alcayde," was given Saturday evening in Brattle Hall before an enthusiastic audience. The music is by F. E. Barry '97 and the libretto by G. Stephens, Jr., Gr. The plot and cast of the opera has already been published in the CRIMSON.
The play is well worth going to see, being a decided improvement over last year's performance. The plot is good, but it is worked out in the conventional comic opera style. The dialogue contains few novelties and becomes rather monotonous toward the end. Moreover the play does not seem to be evenly balanced, all of the action excepting the denouement itself coming in the first act. For this reason the second act fails to retain the interest of the spectator, and seems almost an anti-climax.
Barry's music is decidedly good. Farina's entrance song, the tricycle song and the trio are perhaps the best numbers in the opera, and show decided originality. But in his effort to sustain the Spanish atmosphere in the music throughout the play, the composer has scarcely escaped a certain amount of monotony and lack of definite melody. The solo numbers are all effective, but the choruses show the same fault as last year, in that they are for the most part of rather low range to be effectively sung.
E. M. Waterhouse, '97, as Farina, makes the best girl that has appeared in Harvard theatricals for many years. He has an exceptionally beautiful voice and his acting could hardly have been better.
Much credit is due N. H. White, L. S., for his lively impersonation of the Grand Inquisitor. His rendition of the topical song at the end of the second act was deserving of the applause with which it was received. At no time did he overdo the part.
Arnold Scott '97 made a hit in the first act as the gentle Prince of Fez, and F. Winchester '97 could not have been better as the valet to the Grand Inquisitor. A. R. Sheriff '96, in the role of the tipsy gypsy, Carlos, also did well. The other members of the cast acted their parts conscientiously.
The gypsy dance in the second act evoked well-deserved applause and several encores were given. J. S. Holbrook '96 was graceful and attractive as the premiere danseuse.