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THE PLAY'S THE THING

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

It may be a far cry from the Group Theatre to House Dramatics, but from one point of view they are the paramount social activity in the House system. Unlike many extra-curricular interests they require relatively little time. A prominent official has said that such presentations number among the most valuable activities in the University, because of their tendency to bring House members into close contact with each other and because of their informality.

Though the social side makes a strong appeal to the men who engage in House plays, perhaps the spontaneity which enliven the productions is most to be admired. When Lowell presented "The Beggar's Opera" several years ago, the audience was resigned beforehand to a poor attempt at a difficult play. Yet so good were the acting and singing that, in spite of themselves, the spectators laughed with the actors. The excellence of the performance was not due, by any means, to the experience of the players, but to their desire for self-entertainment, which is the essence of these endeavors.

Last fall certain Adams House residents exemplified this spirit when they produced two plays, one of which a student directed. In accord with the informality of House plays is the fact that no House, except Eliot, has set a rigid precedant. The various organizations, the first of which was initiated by Tutors Matthiessen and Spencer in the first year of Eliot House's existence, like to experiment with works of different periods, such as Elizabethan, Restoration, and even modern plays. They tend to favor the sock over the buskin in an effort to be anything but professional.

Even under student direction it should not be impossible to offer more plays during the year. A winter and spring performance, neither of large proportions, would make an excellent House program. Those interested in acting might hold readings of plays to stimulate dramatic enthusiasm. Despite the limited size of their halls, which prohibits the inviting of other Houses, these groups may develop worthwhile competition. To do this, and to continue the experimental quality underlying all presentations, the historically-minded undergraduates might don their socks more often.

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