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At Sanders Theatre

By Stephen O. Saxe

"The Skin of Our Teeth" is an extremely difficult play for any amateur group to bring to life, and the Harvard Dramatic club deserves some credit merely for the decision to produce it. Professor Wilder's themes are war, peace, and mankind, and there is no doubt that this is a tough order for any college group.

The H.D.C. production is mainly praiseworthy for the enthusiastic performance by the entire cast. Richard Heffron and Dorothy Winsor, as Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus, presented assured and solid performances. The Antrobus' two children, Gladys and Henry, are consistently amusing as played by Pat Rosenwald and Donald Mork. Alan Nelson, who plays Sabina, capitalizes too much for comfort on her resemblance to Carol Chaining, but nobody can deny that she is a decidedly beautiful young lady.

Enthusiasm is certainly a quality to be encouraged, but it can seldon take the place of the polish and clarity of trained acting. The amateur theatrical organization's greatest stigma is amateurishness. "The Skin of Our Teeth" is a well-mentioned, lively production, but it never manages to escape that stigma.

Wilder's play is a phantasmagoria of history, based specifically on the Bible and classical mythology. The informal structure of the play is sometimes an asset and sometimes a liability to the Dramatic Club's production. It has given the Club freedon in adapting the play to the cavernous inadequacy of Sanders Theatre, and it excuses a good deal of technical imperfection. At the same time, rehearsed "spontaneity" seldom convinces in amateur productions.

In the professional theatre, unlike in sports, what counts is not whether you "played the game," but whether you "won or lost." In the amateur theatre, however, it is customary to praise a group for its efforts at producing a worthy play--and since that is the case, the H.D.C. has earned this praise.

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