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The Playgoer

At Brattle Hall


(In order to acquaint its readers with the current production of "Winterset" before the brief run which the Dramatic Club plans for it, the Crimson has reviewed a dress rehearsal of the performance. The Crimson recognize that certain changes may be made before tonight's opening.)

The Harvard Dramatic Club's spring production, "Winterset," is the best play to grace Brattle Hall's boards in several months. Written by Maxwell Anderson, it draws upon the notorious Sacco-Vanzetti scandal for plot material, and features unsavory characters with turned-up collars and shifty glances. An alleyway and an adjoining tenement are the settings, while a conveniently located river provides an easy means for disposing of embarrasing cadavers.

Difficult problems of staging inherent in the play itself, together with the limited size of the squeaky, theatre, have been met and solved in a novel manner. The frequent scenery changes called for in the first and third acts have been eliminated by placing two sets on the stage, side by side, and only a minimum amount of imagination on the part of the audience is necessary to follow the movement of the plot

As if to compensate for the inevitable staging deficiencies, the cast, directed by W. A. West, speak their lines with feeling and almost excessive fervor. Ted Allegretti is bombastie in the role of Mio, the son of a man mistakenly executed for murder by a bigoted, insecure society. Mio's overly passionate declamations, often too long sustained, hold audience tension at too high a pitch, causing the play to lose effectiveness in the second and third acts. Kay Casale is quite satisfactory as a restrained Miriamne.

"Winterset," a great Broadway success in the past, has strong appeal for Cambridge's socially conscious cognoscenti. The play's most optimistic statement, rendered by the venerable Esdros, played by John Simon proclaims that the best man can expect from this vale of sorrow is to be able o live with courage and die with dignity. Tying up this joyous philosophy in a neat bundle, the final curtain finds the innocent lovers, Mio and Miriamne, bulletriddled and lifeless, while the judge who sentenced the guiltless man to the chair, the real murderer, and a craven coward who shielded the killer, go their merry way, presumably troubled by nothing except their consciences.

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