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Opening its seventh season, the Boston Tributary Theatre last night achieved one of the most potent productions of Elizabethan drama seen herabouts in its showing of Christopher Marlowe's "Dr. Faustus." Under the direction of Eliot Duvey, a group of relatively unknown players have infinitely outshined the Broadway luminaries of last week's "Duchess of Malfi," and in their organization, point the way for serious theatre groups everywhere.
Dr. Faustus" is the oft-used tale of the towered scholar, who, for want of lascivious pleasure and hedonistic satiety, sells his soul to the Devil. As written, the irony to the play lies in Faustus' remaining in character and using his newly-bought power for intellectual purpose, despite the sensual opportunities offered. For the sake of "theatre," the Tributary group has avoided the aspect of introspection into character, and has played the vehicle for its spectacle. But in Elizabethan drama, interpretations are innumerable, and last night's offering was effectively valid.
As Dr. John Faustus, Charles McFarland played a difficult part with tremendous energy and understanding. At first a little stiff, he moved on to become actively lucid and supple. George Kyron, in the role of Mephistopheles, supplied an efficacious verve in facial characteristic and vocal bearing. Richard Kilbride and Harry Cooper, as sixteenth century comedians, were really funny. But the device employed most efficiently by the company was in the lighting, handled by Duvey himself, which served to heighten every moment and provide for the rapid change of scenes so essential to Elizabethan drama.
With the example shown in this attraction, it might be worth your while to queue up for forth-coming productions of "Julius Caesar," due in a fortnight, and "Arms and the Man" expected early next month. Also on the schedule are Sheridan's "The Rivals," O'Neils's "Anna Christie," Ibsen's "A Doll House" and Shakespeare's "Macbeth," all of which augur a season of no small magnitude.
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