"GARDEN OF LONELINESS" (Arts) seems a misleading title for a particularly good play that deals with neither homosexuals. angry young men, nor alcoholics. Perhaps the original title was more apt.
However that may he, this halfcentury old play -by a German. Gerhardt Hauptmann, skilfully builds up the story of a stuffy, not very intellectual, but certainly cultured family in which, like a pig in a poke. a young biologist is trying to think life out for himself. He has a pretty, loving, little wife, narrow. kindly parents. and a new little son.
Into the manage comes as a breath of fresh air a specimen of the " new woman ", a girl student who has read philosophy and the current novels and who actually smokes. The contention of the young biologist is that his wife and parents are highly unreasonable in objecting to Anna staying as long as he chooses. the more especially as her intelligent conversation is helping him get on with the book he is writing. Timo and again Anna packs her bags and, as we the audience are sharing with the wife and mother a devout sigh of relief. back she comes to cause yet further domestic scenes. Whether one considers Anna a scheming little homebreaking hussy (the mother's view) or whether one shares the biologist's view that she is a lonely spirit who will never find rest, there is much meat for speculation. both human and philosophical, in the play.
It is admirably constructed and
only at the end, felt, did the author let his sense of theatre run away with him and indulge in some unnecessary dramatics. What a pity that it is so far only being seen at the Arts Theatre, which means that one must be a member to get in.
DUTCHMAN ' A FLYING START
WHEN Sadlers Welts undertake
to stage such a difficult opera as " The Flying Dutchman " and do it so successfully, it is hard to imagine why it should not become the centre of opera in England. Indeed, its expansion into virtually three companies in the New Year —one touring, pne staging light opera at the Coliseum and one at the present house—ought to clinch the matter, providing the high standard is maintained.
The Wagner opera opened the season. and in the first act we were treated to a superb depiction of the storm. Daland's and the Dutch man's ship—tbc latter a veritable vaisseau fantome, as the French call the opera.
Act if offered a pretty picture of Norwegian peasantry, and in the last we returned to the ghostly ship and ghostly voices which were cleverly handled. (Although what.
wonder, was the phantom crew doing with objects looking remarkably like megaphones?)
David Ward was an excellent Dutchman. using his big voice with restraint and to good effect. Elizabeth Fretwell as Senta took some time to warm up, but in the last act her voice took on a moving and heroic quality. Daland. Erik and Mary—played by Harold Blackburn, William McAlpine and Anna Pollak--were all articulate and in good voice, and portrayed the bewildered simple peasants extremely well. William Reid had taken the baton on the first night. but on the second Alexander Gibson returned and led the orchestra and chorus into some brilliant effects. L.H.