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Gilbert and Sullivan Players' Sorcereris spellbinding

Prabhat: Throughout this article, there will be performers who do not have a year after their name. This is because G&S draws heavily from the community, and many of their performers are not students. There is one faculty member involved in the production: he is identified with an F after his name (this is done in the program as well). People with a C after their names are members of the MIT community.


The MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players.

Directed by Marion Leeds Carroll.

Room 54-100, November 10 and 11

at 8 pm and November 11 and 12 at 2 pm.


TEA, SORCERY, AND A LOVE PHILTRE combine to bewitching effect in the MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players' delightful production of The Sorcerer.

The G & S Players are blessed with a talented assortment of actors and singers -- particularly the latter. Sopranos Lisa Kummerow and Deb Kreuze '90 have clear, shimmering voices that would be an asset to any operatic company, and the Players are fortunate to have them.

The Sorcerer recounts the mishaps that befall the village of Ploverleigh when young aristocrat Alexis Pointdextre (Jeffery D. Manwaring) brings in professional sorcerer John Wellington Wells (Paul Matthews F) to administer a love potion to the entire village. By enlisting Wells' help, Alexis hopes to prove his theory that "true love is the panacea to every ill," as the potion will cause its imbibers to fall in love with the first person of the opposite sex they see, regardless of distinctions of age or social rank. The villagers pair up irrespective of their classes, but of course Wells' efforts have disastrous effect -- Alexis' betrothed, Aline (Kummerow), falls in love with aging minister Dr. Daly (Michael D. Mendyke '89); commoner Constance (Kreuze) plights herself to the extremely aged Notary (Andrew Marc Greene '91); and the most proper and aristocratic Lady Sangazure (Carrie Nafziger C) begins to court the sorcerer himself.

On the whole, the individual performances were outstanding. While Kreuze's gestures were a little forced during her first song, she quickly settled in to her role as the shy, lovesick Constance. Harrison's Sir Marmaduke was marvelous -- his rich and resonant voice, combined with his wonderfully plastic facial expressions, made him one of the most enjoyable characters in the show. And Matthews, as slimy sorcerer John Wellington Wells, was positively sleazy, a turn-of-the-century snake-oil salesman with potions offering everything from "a change in administration to a rise in Unified." Matthews' only failing was that he sang too softly in his otherwise amusing song detailing his job.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the production was the technical work. Room 54-100 is not very conducive to a theatrical atmosphere, but the G & S Players made the best of what they had, adding home-made footlights housed in black coffee cans and using the sets to disguise the front of the lecture hall. Lighting was consistently good, resulting in some spectacular special effects for the scene in which Wells casts his spell over the village. The teapot into which he pours the love potion glows eerily, and as he calls upon the spirits for help, the room darkens, and ominous colored fingers of light are cast behind him.

The production's one weak spot is the orchestra. Admittedly, the acoustics in

54-100 are far from acceptable, but the strings sounded out of tune as they played under Alexis' profession of love to Aline. The orchestra also showed that they have yet to correct a problem that plagued them during last term's Trial by Jury -- the faster passages of the music were played skillfully, but the slower, more delicate ones were too unsure and often out of tune.

The Sorcerer continues for four more performances this weekend. It's a magical engagement that shouldn't be missed.