Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jonathan Frid among the "best of the players" in 1962 production of Don Carlos

"Don Carlos" revived on off-Broadway stage
The Press-Courier, March 1, 1962

NEW YORK (UPI) - A new repertory venture, dedicated to neglected classics, began functioning Tuesday night at the off-Broadway Masque Theater with the presentation of Friedrich von Schiller's "Don Carlos."

The New Repertory Theater Company, made up of a score of experienced players, has done well with this poetic tragedy by tie 18th century German dramatist, all things considered.

A cohesive style, of course, can come only after much experience together with a number of plays, but Patricia Newhall has managed to achieve a degree of teamwork so vital in this type of play.

"Don Carlos," relating the tragedy of the son and heir of Phillip II of Spain in the late 16th century, requires something of the grand manner and more than routine dialogue projection for even an English translation retains a certain poetic flavor. Not all of the members of the company are proficient in that department, but the fact that someone is trying is encouraging to those who would like to see a New York company tackle something that calls for more than colloquial and laconic speech.

Best of the players in this production are Robert Statlel as the ill-fated prince, George Morgan as his friend, the Marques de Posa, Jonathan Frid as Philip and Ira Rubin as the Duke of Alba. Janis Young as Philip's Queen and Anne Fielding as the Princess Eboli are most attractive but do not come off as well as the male leads.

Schiller's version stresses the love of Don Carlos for Elizabeth of Valois who had been betrothed to him before Philip decided to take her for his third wife. Don Carlos is supposed to have some dangerous thoughts about bettering the lot of the common man, stopping the perpetual wars bleeding Europe and making monarchs less absolute. Philip finally turns on both the Queen and his heir, and the latter is arrested and put in prison.

The play has not been produced here since 1906. It is a well-knit affair that, despite being a little longer than necessary, plays smoothly enough. It has much more to recommend it than being merely a museum piece.

(For more about the 1962 production of Don Carlos, visit this earlier post at The Collinsport Historical Society.)

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