In its production of Mollore's "Le Medecin Malgre Lui" Le Cercle Francais has maintained its tradition of giving excellent performances of the best in French drama. Playing in Brattle Hall before a matinee audience consisting mostly of school children the cast executed a really first-class interpretation of this classic of the French stage. As in the past, Boston debutantes played the female parts and rendered admirable support to the actors from Le Cercle.
This story of a clever but lazy woodcutter forced to assume the role of a doctor is one of Moliere's best and most popular plays. It is full of the lively and sparkling humor which always accompanies his stinging satires. To achieve the full realization of this quality on the stage without seriously sacrificing an appearance of reality, especial credit is due to R. D. Merion for his absolutely superb acting in bringing out the full possibilities of the character of Sganarells, the fake doctor. Even the most sedate Cambridge matrons were set to laughing by his extremely amusing actions and his well calculated speech. As Martine, the querulous and revengeful wife of Sganarelle, Miss Mary Loring gave an almost equally good rendition of her part. Also worthy of particular praise were J. P. Squire '30, Geronte, the father of an ailing daughter; and B. H. Goldsmith '33, M. Robert, a neighbor.
The staging, sets, and lighting were extremely good, and at no time did the production give a noticeable impression of amateurishness. All of the cast spoke their French flawlessly even though with varying degrees of English accents. The play will prove eminently satisfactory to anyone who enoys a good production of French drama.
As an innovation this year a short, one-act play was presented as a curtain raiser. Written by a former president of the organization, it marks, according to the program, "the new policy of Le Cercle of giving French plays by American authors." While this may be an admirable policy, it should only be followed when there is a sufficiently worth-while play to make use of. This is clearly not true of "Serenade," which is a sentimental, unconvincing hodgepodge of seventeenth century intrigue and gallantry, having to do with a Cinq-Mars conspirator and two agents of Richelieu. The acting was as uninspired as the play, with the exception of Mrs. Neill Phillips, who in the part of Diane de Pierreneuve, spoke with a perfect accent and acted rather well. The reviewer recommends that Le Cercle be chary of its new policy in the future.
"Le Medecin Malgre Lui" will be repeated in Brattle Hall, together with the companion performance of "Serenade" this evening at 8.30 o'clock. "Serenade" is a political satire, written by an American.