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The Crimson Playgoer

Lois Hall Leads Excellent Cast As Charming Devil in Comedy


The talismans of William Shakespeare and Walter Huston will rightly lure Harvard men by the drove, no matter what a critic may say. And indeed no sane critic could protest, the entertainment is as rich and abundant as the fondest playgoer can conceivably expect.

Walter Huston has a way of insinuating himself into the nature of the character that he is dramatically to be, which is completely destructive of his own personality. Walter Huston has not, as some lesser man might do, keyed himself up to the heights of affected stiffness, in order to play Shakespeare. In the opening scenes he is the reserved, resolute soldier, quietly affable, that Othello is meant to be. As Iago progresses in his corrosive work, Othello is made by the master actor, through the episodes of the fictitious night in the camp and the handkerchief show and so forth, imperceptibly to advance his jealous disintegration, until at the end he is raving so furiously that Mr. Huston is forced to make his after-curtain speech with a very hoarse voice.

Certain minor liberties are taken with the text some of which are not entirely happy. The recasting of the scenes into two acts is a necessary expedient. But there is also an annoying amount of expurgation of certain crudities which it might be thought that over three centuries had succeeded in mellowing. And in the crucial scene where Cassio is forced by the craft of Iago to convict himself before Othello in a completely misleading way, the clinching evidence of the handkerchief is in this performance somehow strangely omitted.

The support is as good as one is accustomed to fine under a master. Robert Keith is in general quite satisfactory as Iago, although his appearance is more suggestive of a mischievous schoolboy than of a malignant traitor, and in spite of the somewhat excessive faces and eyes he makes. Nan Sunderland (Mrs. Huston) is as vivacious and as sweet as Desdemona should be, but she can't help looking a little mature. Euqal praise might be extended to Natalie Hall as Emilia and G. P. Huntley, Jr. as Cassio.

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