Turkey at The Union; The Show Must Go On

My roommate spent Thanksgiving in a leotard. The problem wasn't that she hadn't done her laundry in weeks (bringing it
By Diane Sherlock

My roommate spent Thanksgiving in a leotard. The problem wasn't that she hadn't done her laundry in weeks (bringing it as a present to her mother at home) and the leotard was all she had left to wear. And it wasn't that she had packed so many books in her suitcase that there was no room left to pack any clothes, nor because the people she spent the holiday with were also in leotards, or some variation thereof, and she wanted to stay in style.

The real reason is that my roommate, along with many other people who could find no excuse to cut class on Wednesday, were willing to take turkey at the Union in order to spend the weekend in dress rehearsal. This week their shows are opening, and the audiences will have to decide if the giblet gravy was worth it.

Just trying to explain the plot of Gondollers, this season's Gilbert and Sullivan production, might have passed the time on that six-hour car trip to New York last weekend better than playing Botticelli. Gondoliers begins simply enough: two Venetian gondolier brothers fall in love with and marry two peasant girls. But then the trouble starts. One of these brothers turns out to be the long-lost king of Barataria, but good Venetian egalitarians that they are, neither of the supposed brothers wants to be the ruler or knows which actually is. All of which gives them good rea on to sing clever songs about people who do not believe in monarchy but must be king. And this, after all, is the only important point. Gondoliers opens with 20 solid minutes of singing, and may just be the lightest, frothiest, most musical musical G & S ever wrote. And the word is that director John Lundeen is planning to do the production in the lightest, frothiest, most delightful Harvard G & S style. Performances are tonight through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the Agassiz theater in Radcliffe Yard. Tickets are available at Holyoke Center or at the door.

Henry IV Part I is not just about wars, Elizabethan society or how wisdom can come from as unlikely a place as a tavern named the Boar's Head or from as unlikely a character as the greedy, lusty, lazy, altogether charming Falstaff. It is about how a prince becomes a king, or, even more basically, how a boy grows up. The skill of Loeb director George Hamlin will be revealed this weekend by how successfully he welds all the wicked intrigues, the plots and counterplots of the smaller scheme of things into this larger theme. Performances begin next Wednesday at the Loeb Mainstage at 8 p.m.

Nightcaps is for anyone who wants to go to a cabaret in old Berlin or a smokey nightclub in Paris, or for anyone who grew up on those old musicals and wants to hear them all again, while sitting in cozy dark corners, or laughing at round tables and having a good time. In this atmosphere a talented group of six singers will be belting everything from Cole Porter to Sondheim, with many spotlighted solos being crooned in between, against a white hot light. By the time the cast sings its way through its first show, the audience may not quite conclude that "life is a cabaret," but of the cabaret itself they will say "that's entertainment" at the very least. Performances are tonight through Saturday, and also next weekend, at 8:30 p.m., with a performance on Saturday at midnight. Tickets are $2 at Holyoke Center or at the door.

Set on an uninhabited, enchanted desert isle, The Tempest is often seen as the Englishman's version of America or as Shakespeare's testament to the belief that, starting with nothing, good people can create a new world. By diversifying the roles within the play and adding lots of mime and dance, directors Laura Shiels and Rick Engelhart hope to construct in the Adams/Quincy production of Tempest more than just another alternative to society's mistakes. On this island, they hope, a grand Christmas-time spectacle will occur. Performances begin tonight and run through Saturday, and also next weekend, in the Quincy dining hall at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $2 at Holyoke or at the door.

In Hedda Gabbler the end lies in the beginning. An aristocratic woman whose talent and beauty were never realized, marries an academic who simply does not do her justice. Eventually, she is driven to despair and commits suicide. Director Scott Goldsmith plans to heighten the tension by playing on the similarity between his setting, a 19th century living room, and his theater, the Winthrop House JCR-living room, which, he says, can be interpreted as society trapping Hedda. Performances are tonight through Saturday and also next weekend at 8 p.m.

In A Thousand Clowns society infringes on the main character's personality. The comedy writer, who is the play's hero, by refusing to go back to work for his cretinous T.V. show boss, seems to decide at first not to give in. But when circumstances change, he realizes he must make certain sacrifices. He goes to work to keep the nephew who lives with him, doing it, one might say, for love. Performances are tonight through Saturday, and also next weekend, in the Leverett Old Library at 8 p.m. with a 11:15 p.m. performance Saturday night.

You'll have to use your memory to figure out what the title Lost Cookies means. The new play, written by Tommy Crammer '78 and Adam Bellow is a funny look at a Harvard freshman year. Everybody made some mistake then; Kramer's play will probably remind us of some we'd rather forget. Laughter may be the only cure. Performances are tonight through Saturday at 8 p.m. with a midnight show Saturday in the Eliot dining hall. Tickets are free.

Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors," it used to be thought, took laughter too far, into the realm of farce. Mistaken identities between brothers and sisters and confusions of masters and servants abound. But the point is that by the end of the play everybody has been drawn into the act. And the play admits its own artificiality along with the weaknesses we all have. Hopefully the carefully chosen Scenes from the Comedy of Errors at the Loeb Ex will show just that. Performances are tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Ex. Free tickets are available at the Loeb box office the day before the performance.