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Babe Receives Anderson Award; Loeb to Stage 'Pageant' in Spring

Year's Best Undergraduate Play

By Michael W. Schwartz

A four-act play by Thomas J. Babe, Jr. '63 will be presented during the spring term as the first Phyllis Anderson award production.

Babe's play, The Pageant of Awkward Shadows, was chosen from among five entries in the competition. It will be the first student-written play to be produced on the main stage of the Loeb Drama Center.

The five entries were read by a committee of judges including George Hamlin, assistant director of the Loeb; Robert H. Chapman, director of the Loeb; Thomas E. Vachon '62-4, president of the Harvard Dramatic Club; and Professors William Alfred, Daniel Seltzer, and Harry T. Levin '33.

The play is based on the "Clerk's Tale" in Chaucer. "A nobleman marries a simple peasant girl, and then tests her faithfulness by a series of tricks," Babe explained last night. "He takes away her two children, claims that because of the difference in their stations he cannot remain married to her, and so on, but she is unwilling to leave him. Chaucer has a happy ending, with a reunion. It doesn't quite happen that way in my version."

No Cash Prize

Babe's play will run next Feb. 28 through March 9. The director, not yet selected, will be of Babe's choice. There is no cash prize associated with the Anderson Award because, as Hamlin put it in making the announcement, "it is of much more value to the playwright and to the Harvard community that the money in the Anderson fund be applied to first-class, main stage productions of good new plays, than that the author receive some small sum of money."

"That was Bob Anderson's intention in establishing the Award," Hamlin explained, "to give young talent a chance to see their work mounted. We are sure that Thom Babe's play will 'produce' very well."

The award production will be financed with income from a fund established two years ago by playwright Robert W. Anderson '39, in memory of his wife. Mrs. Anderson, a well-known playwright's agent, was instrumental in encouraging the careers of such authors as William Inge and Paddy Chayefsky.

Another original work of Babe's, a four-scene opera entitled The Cursed Dauncers, will also run on the main stage next spring. The score for the opera was composed by Alfred F. Guzzetti '63 who wrote the incidental music for Babe's recent production of The Ghost Sonata.

Babe, a native of Rochester, N.Y., and a president of Kirkland House, has appeared on the Harvard stage in The Alchemist, Rosmersholm, and as Malvolio in Twelfth Night. He directed last year's Drumbeats and Song production, the Pajama Game.

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