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THE PLAYGOER

In the Houses

By Stephen O. Saxe

With its first production, the Harvard Theatre Group has entered the College scene as a close-knit, highly competent dramatic organization. The group is currently offering "Figaro!" in the House dining halls and common rooms, and is proving that Beaumarchais' 18th century farce can still provide an evening of laughter and enjoyment.

William Wheeling's new translation is a lucid and humorous one, and very seldom do the intricacies of Beaumarchais' plot confuse. Here, at last, is hearty explanation of what all the singing is about in the operatic version of "The Marriage of Figaro."

This performance becomes more and more gratifying, after a comparatively slow opening scene. The final scene is first-class farce, skillfully handled on the small platform stage by director Wheeling. Ellen Bower's music and Paul Etter's costumes both add greatly to the lighthearted mood of the play.

Almost the entire cast of "Figaro!" has approached the play in the buoyant spirit of farce comedy. Jerome Kohn and Ailene Pressman, in the roles of Count Almaviva and Susanne, give animated, completely enjoyable performances. John Kerr, as the hero, Figaro, is far too subdued in the role of a shrewd, extravagant character. Roshanne Dunjhibboy creates a Countess of Almaviva who is completely believable, although lacking some comic spirit. David Bowen is a pleasure to watch as the drunken gardener, and John Gates, Michael Mabry, and Ivan Nabokoff are all alert and lively performers.

As the new Theatre Group gains in polish and showmanship, and makes fuller use of the possibilities of intimate productions, its work will undoubtedly become even more stimulating. If "Figaro!" is any indication of what H.T.G. has in store, Harvard may well look forward to excellent and entertaining drama.

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