a director. Would he be more comfortablenon a lecture platform than in thentheater? William also directed this season’snLove for Love, of which it can bensaid that the first act seems slow, thensecond slower, and the finale — a minuetnthat seems to be danced in molasses—nslower than the first and secondncombined. By the time it is over, younappreciate as never before the meaningnof Sartre’s No Exit.nAs You Like It is a considerablenimprovement. Lucy Peacock is a bouncy,nenormously sympathetic Rosalindnwho projects resolution from her firstnmoment on the stage. She is pairednwith a delightfully feminine Celia, andnboth have great fun pretending Rosalindnis a man. William Dunlop plays antartan-clad teddybear of a Touchstonenwith a droll sense of humor and a broadnScots accent. Why Scots? Well . . .nwhy not? Everything works very wellnuntil Rosalind, disguised as Ganymede,nbegins instructing Orlando innthe art of wooing. It is a long, demandingnsection, and Peacock is not quite upnto it. Her double-takes and gesturesnaside’ to the audience become predictable.nThe result is by no means fatal,nbut it casts a shadow over an otherwisenexemplary performance. David Williamnplays a Jacques so morose younTHE SHAW FESTIVAL ATnNIAGARAnNiagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, is a jewelnof a town less than ten miles from thenhonky-tonks and tourist traps of Niagara,nNew York. In addition to antiques andnEnglish marmalade, Niagara-on-the-nLake boasts a summer drama festivalnfocused on George Bernard Shaw andnthe dramatists who wrote during hisnlifetime, 1856 to 1950.nChristopher Newton, the artistic director,nhas been on the job since 1979nand presides with genial assurance over ancompany of 65 actors. In 1990 hisncompany is offering ten plays, includingnEmlyn Williams’ Night Must Fall, anmystery-thriller; Cole Porter’s musicalnNymph Errant, and Noel Coward’snPresent Laughter. The three Shawnplays are Misalliance, Mrs. Warren’snProfession, and Village Wooing.nMisalliance was written in 1909nwhen Shaw was at his most bumptiousn48/CHRONICLESnwant to put him in Macbeth. Thennthere is his speech on the ages of man.nAs happens with Bedford’s “To-mor-,nrow, and to-morrow,” everything stopsnto allow William, clad in black andnspotlighted on center stage, to orate.nDirector Richard Monette locatesnthe play in Quebec around 1758, thendate of the battle of the Plains ofnAbraham, which ended Quebec’s independence.nDuke Senior is vaguelynBritish and commands a squad of musket-totingnheavies. The Forest of Ardennis the Quebec outback complete withnbirch-bark canoes, guitar-strumming,nstep-dancing fur traders, and pokerfacednIndians with arms that seem tonhave been permanently crossed atnbirth. It’s autumn. Canadian geesenhonk overhead. Maple leaves are falling.n(Wait a minute, is that symbolism?)nIt’s all very jolly up to thenwedding scene at the end. At that pointnthe Indians start playing tom-tom musicnand the local chief invokes thenblessings of Hymen, a tribute, onensenses, to the educational work ofnJesuit missionaries among native peoples.nAs the play ends, flags coverednwith fleurs de lis — an allusion to thenQuebec provincial flag — are unfurlednabove the stage.nMonette has made As You Like Itnand his least preachy. In 1909 oldnvalues were tumbling, new inventionsnwere springing up like mushrooms, andnthe killing fields of the Western Frontnwere unimaginably distant.nWith the help of designer LeslienPrankish, Newton has staged the play inna surrealist dream of a hothouse. Vinesndangle thickly everywhere, always gettingnin the way, having to be moved tonmake room for the people. The air isnheavy with stage fog.nThe set represents the cluttered intellectualnhothouse of the late 19thncentury. Inside, Lord Summerhays triesnto coach his wimpy son Bentley inncourtship so he can marry bourgeoisnmoney. Mr. Tadeton, a bluff, self-madenmillionaire (he made it all on Tarleton’snUndergarments) owns the hothouse.nHe is played exuberantly by BarrynMacGregor opposite his placid wifen(Jennifer Phipps) and his hot-bloodedndaughter Hypatia (Helen Taylor), thenobject of Bentley’s would-be affection.nMany changes are rung but nothingnnninto a parable of either Canadian unitynor Canadian separation, take your pick.nAlthough his production was plannednbefore the national paroxysm overnMeech Lake and the status of Quebec,nit invokes current tensions that neatlynparallel tensions at the heart of Shakespeare’snplay. Even when it doesn’tnwork, which is seldom, its failures arenhonorable failures of the sort that makenthe Stratford Festival consistently interesting.nAmong many other riches of thisnfirst David William season. The MerrynWives of Windsor is outstanding fornthe sort of ensemble acting possible inna company with the range of talent andnthe collective experience of the Stratfordntroupe. The costuming is Edwardiannwith a liberal dash of whimsy; thenhorns that Falstaff wears in the lastnscene, for example, are made out ofnbicycle handlebars. Roberta Maxwellnand Pat Conolly almost steal the shownas a down-to-earth Mistress Ford and anwryly inventive Mistress Page, andnVickie Papavs, a member of Stratford’snYoung Company, is memorable as thenyouthfully cheeky Anne Page. JamesnBlendick’s Falstaff is younger, morensuave, and less blustery than your runof-the-millnFalstaff. He is also plumpnbut not obese, so you can understandnhappens. That is the point. The charactersnare trapped.nWithout warning an airplane — inn1909 the quintessential symbol of anrevolutionary new century — crashesninto the hothouse. The first arrival fromnthe crash is Joey Percival, the passenger.nThe pilot is the beautiful, liberated, andnunpronounceable Lina Szczepanowskan(Sharry Flett). Soon all of the relationshipsnbegin to change. Summerhaysnand Tarleton proposition Lina. Hypatianleads Joey into the bushes. And in ansurprise twist Bentley the wimp is invitednby Lina to fly off in search ofnmanhood.nMisalliance is first-rate Shaw donenvery well indeed, about equal measuresnof froth and substance. ‘nIn two other offerings the froth quotientnis a lot higher. When We ArenMarried by J.B. Priestley is a glorifiednwell-made comedy. Three couples discovernafter years of wedlock that theynare not really married. Since they arenpillars of the local Yorkshire society,n