for once how he might hope to bentaken seriously as a wooer. Colm Feorenis perfect as the fanatically jealousnFord, who, when disguised as MasternBrook, has to pretend to be vastlynamused by FalstafPs plan to seduce hisnwife.nDavid Storey’s Home gives Stratfordna chance to show its skill in contemporaryndrama. The play is about thenworld ending not with a bang but anlong, darkly comical whimper. Its dialoguenis a collage of single words leftnhanging (“Yes. …” “Quite. . . . “)nand half phrases. Success depends onnnear-perfect timing and disciplinedncontrol of tone of voice and gesture. Itnis impeccably performed by NicholasnPennell, James Blendick, Pat Galloway,nBarbara Bryne, and Alfred King. Allnare veteran Shakespeareans — Pennell,nfor example, is Banquo in Macbeth.nThe rigorous discipline of Shakespearenhas clearly contributed to their successnhere.nIf Home is minimalist, Guys andnDolls is maximalist. Everything in it isnlaid on as thick as mustard on a Nathan’snhotdog, and it is the hit of then1990 season. At the end of “Get OfiF,nYou’re Rocking the Boat,” the ovationnof the opening-night audience all butntore the roof off the Festival Theatre.nthey are mightily upset. If you cannswallow that you can swallow everythingnelse, including the inevitable lastminutenrevelation that the couples arenmarried after all.nTrelawny of the ”Wells’ by ArthurnWing Pinero is essentially a reminiscencenof life in the theater in the 19thncentury. The first act takes place in antheatrical boarding house. It bubblesnwith oversized egos, small-scale attachments,nimprovisations, and a generalnsense of the fellowship of professionalsnwho enjoy what they are doing. RosenTrelawny, admirably acted by JulienStewart, is the “young leading lady” ofnthe “Wells,” for which read “SadlersnWells.” She has decided to leave thentheater to marry Arthur Gower, grandsonnof the wealthy and puritanical SirnWilliam, a role that William Hutt managesnwith almost manic inventiveness.nIn the second act Rose is Sir William’snhouseguest. One rainy night sheninvites her old friends in from the wet.nThey promptly stage a small-scale orgynThere’s not a bad performance in thencast, but special credit goes to JimnWhite as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, AlannJordan as Nathan Detroit, Karen Edissinas Miss Adelaide, and Tim Koetting asnBig Jule.nIn fact, the success of Guys andnDolls has made it controversial in thenCanadian press. Here, the complaintngoes, is a country intensely proud of itsnnational identity, not to mention ancountry in the middle of a constitutionalncrisis, and what is the big hit of itsnpremier theater festival? A brassynAmerican musical based on stories bynDaymon Runyon with a plot thatnhangs on the search by a two-bit gamblernfor a place to convene a floatingncrap game.nIs there a lesson here? No more, Inexpect, than in As You Like It with anFrench accent. Guys and Dolls willnundoubtedly fill the Festival Theatre’sn2300 seats night after night for the restnof the summer and will thus contributenmaterially to meeting Stratford’s boxofficentarget of $ 15 million, but that isnnot the main point. Guys and Dolls isnobviously as much fun for Canadiansnas Americans. It says something aboutnwhere the Stratford audience is thesendays in spite of Meech Lake andnCanadian identity and the press andnthat is interrupted at its height by SirnWilliam, who is not amused.nExit Rose. Unfortunately, she hasnlost her zest for the roles she used tonplay. Pinero is using a theatrical metaphornhere to suggest how the real worldnkilled the well-made play. Rose’s conversionnis matched by the conversion ofnTom Wrench, a fictionalized portrait ofnTom Robertson, one of the first Englishnplaywrights to sense the new direction.nWrench creates a new-style play fornRose, a backer is found, and by the lastnscene the old actors have begun tonadjust to the new situation.nThis is froth as froth should be —nsweet with just a touch of bitter, andninsubstantial with just a touch of substance.nThere is a truly extraordinary momentnin Trelawny. Sir William visitsnRose. When they fence verbally aboutnpedigrees. Rose announces that shencomes from a distinguished theatricalnfamily and that her mother acted withnEdmund Kean. Sir William is moved.nnnthe politicians, and knowing its audiencenhas always been the secret ofnStratford’s success.nThat doesn’t mean the Stratfordnaudience is for Broadway musicals andnagainst Shakespeare. It means the audiencenis for drama that touches its lifenand against drama that doesn’t. Thenpoint is worth stressing because of thenacademic chill that affects some ofnthe 1990 plays. The Stratford audiencenhas consistently voted at the box officenfor drama rather than recitation and fornexperiment, including experiments likenfinding parallels between the Forest ofnArden and the Quebec outback, rathernthan facsimile Shakespeare.nOf course, there are limits. If Indiansnare going to be allowed to campnout in the Forest of Arden they shouldncontemplate the folly of palefaces inndignified silence and keep their tomtomsnquiet during weddings. Tomtomsnnotwithstanding, it’s good to reportnthat Stratford is still the top summerndrama festival in North America.nO.B. Hardison, Jr. is a professor ofnEnglish at Georgetown University andna former director of the FolgernShakespeare Library in Washington.nHe had seen Kean perform when henwas young, and he begins to recite, firstnmechanically and then with growingnintensity, “Now is the winter of ourndiscontent. …”nIt’s a magical scene evoking the communitynof actors and audiences that isnthe essence of good theater, and thenfoundation on which institutions likenthe Shaw Festival and the StratfordnShakespearean Festival rest. There’snsomething more. William Hutt hasnspent his life in the theater, much of itnplaying Shakespearean roles at Stratford.nIn 1990 he turned 70, just aboutnthe age of Sir William. When he recitesnRichard’s speech he is honoring a traditionnthat unites Shakespeare and EdmundnKean and Sir William and RosenTrelawny of the “Wells” and Tom Robertsonnand William Hutt and all thenother actors at Niagara and Stratfordnwho are keeping faith with the traditionntoday and passing it on to the nextngeneration. That’s substance.n— O.B. Hardison, Jr.nSEPTEMBER 1990/49n