For Love or Money

For Love or Money

Michael Hogan

The 1800s are coming to UMass Boston. The McCormack Theater will be transformed into 19th century London for the first week of May. The UMass Boston Performing Arts Department will perform the Frances Burney romantic comedy “The Witlings.” With performances from May 3-9 it should be easy to find a time when you can grab a date and head on down to the show.

The play, written in 1779, asks the question how important is money in comparison to love? It is the story of Beaufort, a London aristocrat, and Cecelia, his bride to be. Beaufort and Cecelia are deeply in love with one another. Plans are made for the two of them to be married. Everyone is happy with the way that things are working out; things seem just perfect. But, then the worst of the worst happens. Well, maybe not the worst, but in London society it is pretty bad.

Suddenly, Cecelia looses her fortune. Suddenly, Cecelia is just another girl. Beaufort still loves her, just as he always has, but now his family objects to the union. They want Beaufort to be rid of the woman he loves because she is no longer financially beneficial to him. Beaufort is a man without special skills and without Cecelia’s money he will loose his place in the aristocracy, the only measure of a man in 18th century London society.

The question that Beaufort must ask himself is whether true love is worth giving up what makes him a man, is it worth turning your back on your family? Comedy and drama combine in a story that will leave you laughing and thinking. Which is more important, love or money, love or family?

Though the play was written in 1779 this version is set in 1815 because it was much easier to create more accurate costumes and sets. The authenticity of the show is captured in not only the costumes and sets, but also in the play itself. Much of the dialogue is done in Old English, harkening back to the days of elegance and sophistication of 19th century England. Professor Robert Lublin directs the play that stars students from the UMass Boston Theater Arts program. Lublin calls the show a “great date play” with a “talented cast.”

Shows will be in the McCormack Theater, on the second floor of the McCormack Building just to the right of the catwalk. Show times are May 3 at 6 p.m., May 4 and 5 at 8 p.m., May 6 at 2 p.m., and May 8 and 9 at 6 p.m. Ticket prices are $7 for students and seniors and $10 for everyone else.

So, make your way down to McCormack Theater this week and catch a showing of The Witlings. Support your fellow students and see a great show at the same time. Come on down and laugh it up for awhile.