The Playboy of Seville

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Release date: April 16, 1971
Venue: Cubiculo Theatre
Directed by: Clinton J. Atkinson
Literature: Tirso Dc Molina

The originally titled "The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest" is a tragic play set in Naples, Tarragona, Seville, and Dos Hermanas during the fourteenth century. A young Spaniard (Michael Moriarty) deceives, seduces, and abandons several young women but is ultimately punished by supernatural forces for his misdeeds.

Michael Moriarty (Don Juan), Meryl Streep (Tisbea), John High (Don Gonzalo), Philip LeStrange (Catalinon), Alden Rockwell

Vassar’s Miscellany News wrote about Meryl Streep’s Off-Broaday debut after its premiere on April 16, 1971: Meryl Streep ’71 is appearing in The Playboy of Seville at the Cubiculo in New York City in her off-Broadway debut. Ms. Streep plays the fishermaid Tisbea in the first known revival of the original Don Jaun story by Tirso Dc Molina, The Trickster of Seville, written around 1616. The Cubiculo is an experimental theatre affiliated with the National Shakespeare Company at 414 West 51st Street. Their revival series features the Don Juan story again this weekend and next Thursday and Friday at 8:00, Saturday at 7:00 and 10:00 (April 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24). A two-dollar contribution is the admission price. This production is using the translation of the Spanish classic made by Adrienne M. Schizzano and Oscar Mandel, and the direction by Clinton Atkinson carries the play through its exciting climax, emphasizing the freshness of this original Don Juan on which numerous other versions have been based. Mr. Atkinson, a lecturer in drama at Vassar College, has done other shows at the Cubiculo, and directed Greenwillow at the Equity Library Theatre last December. This season, he also directed Lysistrata and The London Merchant at Vassar, and is now in production for the Experimental Theatre’s final show, Camino Real. Michael Moriarty plays Don Juan in a super-cool, nearly bored-to-death interpretation. He is not the usual Don Juan but his presence immediately convinces and carries the show supurbly. Meryl Streep as Tisbea is the most outstanding of Don Juan’s lovers. Her acting has the perfect gestures and brings the part to an excellent level; and it is yet another kind of character to add to the Miss Julie, Forsine or Millwood characters that she has done at Vassar. The play is both held back by some mediocre acting in some small parts and also thrust forward by some excellent talent. Among the latter are John High as Don Gonzalo (and later as Don Gonzalo’s statute), and Philip LeStrange as Catalinon, Don Juan’s lackey. Both appeared last year on the Vassar stage in The Miser. Alden Rockwell ’70 also makes her off-broadway debut.