‘Deal with the Devil’: Harvard Medical School Faculty Grapple with Increased Industry Research Funding


As Dean Long’s Departure Looms, Harvard President Garber To Appoint Interim HGSE Dean


Harvard Students Rally in Solidarity with Pro-Palestine MIT Encampment Amid National Campus Turmoil


Attorneys Present Closing Arguments in Wrongful Death Trial Against CAMHS Employee


Harvard President Garber Declines To Rule Out Police Response To Campus Protests

The Alchemist

Kirkland House

By John D. Leonard

Last night's Kirkland House production of The Alchemist scored a tremendous comical sucess. Three centuries have not dimmed the bawdy wit of Ben Jonson, and the whole production delighted a near-capacity audience in the Junior Common Room.

The farcial plot centers around a house in London during plague-time, transformed in its owner's absence to a headquarters for "casting figures, telling fortunes, news, selling of flies, and bawdry." The servant Face (James Stinson) and the Alchemist, Doctor Subtle, (Roger Moldovan) conspire with Doll-Common (Phyllis Ferguson) to dupe avaricious visitors who seek the gift of the philosopher's stone.

One by one, a lawyer's clerk is convinced he's the nephew of the Queen of Fairies, a knight that he will inherit the realm, the clergy that its pockets will be lined--and so on. The characters assume and discard identities with professional skill, and cavort from bedroom to laboratory with Elizabethan vitality.

Stinson, who also produced the play, switched from a supplicating housekeeper to a gentleman, from matchmaker to confidante, with life and versatility. Moldovan, as the Doctor, swirls about the stage conferring blessings, oaths, and sorcery chants with skill and equanimity. Miss Ferguson picks her toes, rubs her thighs, and on occasion seems in doubt what to do with her hands--but convinces the audience she is common, and keeps it laughing.

The performance of the evening was turned in by James Matisoff as Sir Epicure Mammon; he creeps about the stage, delivering his passionate outbursts, alternately joyful and despondent, and always excellent. He was ably supported by Nathan Douthit--with amazing grimaces and thunderous orations, and Carl Morgan--the stomach-stroking pastor with a thirst for gold.

Arthur Lewis, the master who returns unexpectedly, is respectable if slightly over-done. Judith Gilmartin, the pretty widow looking for a Spanish husband, performs with a coy grace. Bob LaCrosse is adequate for a small part; Leslie Buncher falls off his timing; and William Meador, the gaunt suspicious gamester, stumbles on his lines occasionally, and unfortunately calcifies a vital role.

Despite the toll of influenza on the cast, Thomas Teal directed a sensitive and thoughtful production. He shuffled his brood on and off stage rapidly, and brought some comic order out of their wild gestures and earnest accusations. Costumes, lighting, and sets were all excellent.

Kirkland House attempted Jonson bawdiness and Elizabethan slapstick with vigor--and was rewarded with applause. The opening night was a victory.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.