The plot of "The Play's The Thing" is typically Wodehousian. Two famous playwrights have arrived at a friend's seaside castle to celebrate the completion of their new operetta, with its brilliant score by their new young protege. They intend to surprise his light of love, their leading prima donna, but are themselves surprised and dismayed to overhear her in in the middle of an apparently torrid love scene with an old flame. Since they hear neither the beginning nor the end of the conversation, they do not realize that she intends to remain loyal to her new fiance and is letting her old friend down easily.
The composer swears to tear up the music he has written for her and threatens suicide. The more level-headed of the two playwrights calms him to wait, faced not only with the prospect of a scandal but also of losing the valuable score. While others go to bed, he hatches his plan--to incorporate the unctious dialog they heard into the script of a play, and then coerce the two former lovers into performing it to demonstrate that what was overheard by accident was only a "rehersal."
The idea of Molnar’s 1925 farce came about after he overheard his wife, actress Lilli Darvas, talking of another love interest. The relief which followed his discovery that she was merely rehearsing a new part inspired this delightful comedy. The APT cast performed this very enjoyable show with impeccable comic timing and wonderful farcical expression and mannerisms. Kudos in particular wer due to company veteran Brian Robert Mani, who played the put-upon former lover with fine injured amour-propre as he heroically chews through the deliberatly bathetic and humiliating role he is given in the play within the play. The dialog by Wodehouse is wonderfully witty and well up to the Master's mid-season form.
This "Macbeth" was the second we have seen in recent memory, and showed how much depth and variety of nuance can be derived from Shakespeare's works. The prior production was a robust and musclely show, very much in the classic tradition, with Johnathan Smoots as a fierce and barbaric Macbeth. This version was much more pyschological than some, with much of the supernatural action taking place only visible to the gradually unravelling Macbeth, played by Jim DeVita. (In the scene of the witch's prophecy in the second half, Macbeth DRINKS the hideous potion--enough to cause anyone to see visions.) This "Macbeth" was chilling, although not as thrilling as the prior production in my mind. Subtlety is fine, but some shows call for a bit of over-the-top, and I think "Macbeth" is one of them.