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French Audience



To the Editor of the CRIMSON:

I should like to make a few comments regarding the H.T.G. production of "The Trojan War Will Not Take Place" and the review of same written by Paul Mandel last Friday. Mr. Mandel's main criticism concerns "Giraudoux's annoying tendency to preach rather than entertain." He is quite right in a certain context, however I believe that a criticism of the play should be made in the context of another view of theatrical productions. Namely, one should have in mind the existing difference between American and French productions.

The American spectator may go to the theatre to be entertained, in a manner somewhat more sophisticated than the movie fan. Long run hits such as "Harvey" or "Life With Father" are indicative of a craving for amusement. In France the attitude toward the theatre has always been quite different. The sage is the battleground of new ideas, the arena where literary and philosophical notions are presented to the public who witness the struggle and cheer the winner. The playwright becomes the carrier of the flag, being in and being the amker of his epoch. Most plays deal with controversial issues. Spectators go to the theatre to become acquainted with the problems, to take part in the discussions.

It is perhaps in the context of such a view of theatrical productions that Mr. Mandel should have made his criticism of the play. Should not the way to more stimulating productions be shown by American universities? Are not these intellectual centers the best suited for the production of meaningful dramas? Dramas whose purpose is VERY PERCISELY NOT to solely entertain. I think that the H.T.G. should be congratulated for its break with the established hierarchy, for its efforts in producing plays of stimulating content and intellectual interest, for its efforts in spite of difficult odds.

Having gone thus far, let us add a few words with regard to the particular production: "The Trojan War Will Not Take Place." Mr. Mandel states: "Giraudoux dialogue suffers in the translation and there was nothing the H.T.G. could do about that." Actually it could have; it could have chosen a better translation. Also the translation used was itself considerably altered according to somebody's whims. Since such liberty was taken, it could ahve been used for the better instead of for the worse. Mr. Mandel saw the play in Wellesley. I saw it in the Fogg Museum and wish to say that the choice was indeed very happy. There was a pleasant reminiscence of old Greek settings which contributed to putting the audience in a state of understanding appreciation. After all, I think that we should witness collegiate productions with a touch of kindness. Paul J. Lochak 1G

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