Theater: 0 for 2

Born beside the Avon, Shakespeare appears to be dying beside the Housatonic. The theater at Stratford, Conn., offers what it likes to call the American Shakespeare Festival, but it is the grubbiest of cultural snack bars. By comparison, the picnics on the lawn are lavish and tasty feasts.

From year to year, the resident company maintains scant visible continuity. It is more like a pickup band that has mislaid, or never had most of its instruments. So lax and disorganized a company is ill-equipped to do poor plays that it cannot salvage, or difficult...

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