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Last night at the Copley Theatre the Harvard Dramatic Club continued it tradition of presenting American premieres. The piece chosen this time was "The Dog Beneath The Skin", a satirie fantasy, by Auden and Isherwood, two current which-hopes of English literature and communism. A little after twelve thirty a slightly bewildered but certainly amused audience trickled out of the theatre feeling that "The Dog" probably wasn't a good play but that it was good fun. On the whole, they were right.
If you are all for a tightly knit plot and a due sense of seriousness in your drama "The Dog" is not for you. If, on the other hand, you are attracted by a madcap romp around contemporary Europe, including Austrian (?) revolutions ("We have them every fortnight now"), a German lunatic asylum ("Everything for the leader"), and a London cabaret ("British love is the best"), by all means go to the Copley. Don't lot the fact that "The Dog" is supposed to be propaganda for rugged communism frighten you away either. The propaganda is there all right, if you want to look for it, but it doesn't jump out at you, and I am afraid that the objects of Auden's satire haven't enough connection with normal American life to make it very effective.
In so large a cast it is hard to single out any few individuals for special praise. Mr. Seymer as the dog must certainly be mentioned, however, and Mr. Barnard's naively perplexed air was exactly right for Alan, the hero. Among the women, Misses Plimpton, Eastell, and Williams were particularly good. In many ways, however, Mr. Byrne was the sensation of the evening as a magnificently Rooseveltian dictator. His speech in the second act seems to be already in a way to make history; by all means go to see "The Dog" , if only to hear him say: "My friends."
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