I am writing to protest David Richards' review of "The Witch of Edmonton" {Oct. 6}, currently being performed at the Shakespeare theater at the Folger.

Mr. Richards wrote that the Shakespeare theater "is doing a piece of hackwork for a change." While no one would argue that "The Witch of Edmonton" ranks as one of the greatest Elizabethan dramas, it is an important work that will be of interest to anyone who cares about Renaissance English drama or theater in general -- or history, or witchcraft, or religion, or men and women, for that matter. Perhaps Mr. Richards didn't realize that the play addresses all these issues. He seemed to think it was nothing more than a fluffy soap opera, 16th century style. In fact, the play addresses these topics, and more besides, with considerable sensitivity -- so much so that it is likely to strike a 20th century theatergoer as surprisingly modern in many of its sentiments.

Unfortunately, what Mr. Richards apparently brings to the theater is a stubborn conviction that the only Elizabethan plays worth seeing are those by Shakespeare, and only his "great works" at that.

The Post needs to realize the tremendous power it wields in influencing the public. Thanks to Mr. Richards' unfavorable review, "The Witch of Edmonton" is closing two weeks earlier than the producers had planned, and the play will not be continuing on to New York. The people who really lose out here are the public, who now will be unable to see a fine, intelligent and lively production of a gripping and rarely performed play. MIRANDA JOHNSON HADDAD Washington The writer is editorial and production manager of the Shakespeare Quarterly.