Passion, Poison and Petrifaction

There's not a lot to see here, Jim was in a one-act play directed by Barry Keating. It was for one night, and got positive reviews. I've edited out the reviews of the other plays - follow the source links if you're interested to read them. I want to point out that one of the other actors in "Passion, Poison and Petrifaction" - David Corcoran '69 - was the Arts Editor for the Amherst Student newspaper throughout 1967, before Jim took over in 1968. There was no arts editor before that, it was a pretty dry newspaper. - AW.


Students to Present Four One-Acters at Kirby; Prentiss Will Direct His Thesis Play Sunday

Amherst Student

The first of two sets of student-directed one-act plays will be presented at 8:30pm tonight and Saturday at Kirby Memorial Theater.

The plays are Bertholt Brechts's "The Informer," directed by Daniel Goldstein '69; Luigi Pirandello's "The License," directed by Marcus Parsons '68; George Bernard Shaw's "Passion, Poison and Petrifaction," directed by Barry Keating '69; and Elaine May's "Not Enough Rope," directed by David Stewart '68.

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Featured in the Brecht play tonight and Saturday will be Robert Hillard '68 and Ann Trosper (Mount Holyoke '69); in the Pirandello, Bruce Boyer '68 and Jacob Temchin '68; in the Shaw, Elizabeth Egbert (Mount Holyoke '67), David Corcoran '69 and James Steinman '69; and in "Not Enough Rope," Stephen Collins '69 and Janet Rothman.

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Source: Amherst Student archives


Students Present a Mixed Lot of One-Act Plays at Kirby

by '69
Amherst Student

PASSION, POISON AND PETRIFACTION, by George Bernard Shaw. Directed and designed by Barry Keating '69.

"Passion, Poison, and Petrifaction" was outrageous and delightful.

On the surface, it may have appeared that Barry Keating's direction was in competition with Shaw's script, or that the script was merely an excuse for a sequence of highly entertaining stage effects.

I envision myself debating whether the production was so extravagant as to have been offensive. There are two arguments I could use to defend the play. First, I might try to justify the extravagance. "The black, pink, and gold set, with its feathers, fringe, and bottles, was perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the play, which was extravagant to begin with." Secondly, I could concede the argument. "The production was offensively extravagant. But I loved it anyway." Either way, you see, the production wins.

I don't see how James Steinman '69 survived two performances' worth of mauling at the hands of the diabolical George FitzTollemache (David Corcoran '69) and his saintly wife Magnesia (Elizabeth Egbert, Mount Holyoke '67). I don't see how the point on the sets survived the streams of gazogene water. And I don't see how anyone who saw this production could complain.

Source: Amherst Student archives


Amherst College One-Act Plays

by
Massachusetts Collegiate

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George B. Shaw's "Passion, Poison, and Petrifaction" was given much better treatment. Although the play seemed to have been a product of Shaw's college days, some scholars have called it the first absurdist play. In any case, the actors seemed to be more comfortable and romped (literally) through the production with ease. The director, Barry Keating '69, seemed aware of the author's intentions and did a tremendous job with the difficult blocking involved.

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Source: Massachusetts Collegiate '67-68 microfilm archive