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February 08, 1968 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-02-08

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PAGE TWO

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

TUtTR.4ZY1AV T,'VIUM2TAst'Ir 0 rnoo

PA E T OTE---G N D I Y TK TIC~ ~ b

a ii ;tt t Y, kulsRUARY 8, 1968

8

theatre
Strindberg Duo Intense

arts

festival

Positively
Ends
TONIGHT

FTmr2nm.a

Live American Drama Exciting;

SHOWS AT
1,3,5,
7, 9 P.M.

"The Tension Is Terrific !"

h

I -m- -. rte.

By BETSY SMITH
Strindberg's one-act play "The
Stranger" (being presented with
"The Ghost Sonata" by the Uni-
versity Players) is obviously in-
tended as a theatrical tour de
force. One character merely serves
a cup of hot chocolate and passes
off-stage forever; another sits at
a table, sips wine, reads a paper,
smokes a cigarillo, and laughs or
frowns; the third and last car-
ries the whole burden of verbal
expression.
The emotional climate, how-
ever, is complex and intense, for
in the course of her extended
monologue Mrs. X shifts the
power from herself to Miss Y and
back again.
This is accomplished through a
rambling survey of past events
which serve to skillfully character-
ize the silent woman from two op-
posite points of view-both that of
a humble underdog to a haughty
idol, and that of an arrogant suc-

cess to a petty, tarnished failure.
Paula Marchese carried off her
difficult monologue with great
aplomb. She never made the all-
too-easy error of rushing the part,
even though she had to pace her-
self. Although Paula Francis' range
of facial expression was somewhat
limited, she never seemed to be
responding inappropriately. To
vivacious an attitude might have
seemed out of character -- the
masklike look fitted well into the
conception unfolding from Mrs.
X's probing analysis.
Strindberg's interest in masks
and in shifting currents of power
is also displayed in "The Ghost
Sonata." A vision, a dead man and
a mummy stand as expressionless
reminders of the presence of the
unseen and "abnormal" in the
midst of life, while other char-
acters stare fixedly at their re-
flections, at empty space, or at
the audience.
Characters do not face one an-

other while speaking; their emo-I'
tions derive from some inner im-Inherits, T
perative hidden from immediate
sight and only slowly revealed By DAVID SPURRE
through painful exegesis of the Live theatre in America. It's
past and stripping away of one probably something that reminds
another's pretense. you of little summer theatres set
Mrs. X blurred and refocused in up in dusty barns, sugary Broad-
front of the audience, changing way musicals that you can buy

from a woman unsure and half-
hysterical with anxiety to a trium-
phant and mature being. Similarly
Old Man Hummel skillfully mani-
pulates his image so that at first
he seems a demonic Hercules de-
spite his wheelchair, but eventual-
ly loses control of the situation
and shrivels to defeat.
The sets are remarkably true to
the spirit of the play. Everything
is stripped, stark, terrifying simple.
There is talk of color but black
and white predominate, making
the Cook's bloodstained apron a
shocking contrast.
All parts are well done. Those
who merely stand while others
speak must remain perfectly still:
Virginia Cook, Lawrence Fisher
and Paula Francis (who did an-
other long stint of sitting and be-
ing quiet in "The Stronger")
scarcely stir and provide good
backdrop for the more active
players.
The leads are well-chosen for
their parts. Old Man Hummel,
played by Robert Elliott, has theI
vocal depth, stocky size, and
crotchety demeanor needed for a
character who must project his
personality from a seated position.
Mark Metcalf, who often plays in-
nocent strength (he was the gold-
en gloves champ in Tennessee
William's "Camino Real") con-
vinces absolutely in his part as
the idealistic student, mouthpiece
for the fancy "philosophy" of the
play, such as it is.j
The Mummy, Donna Spaan, has
virtuoso control over her voice
box: her screams and cries res-
onate and fade, her laughter is
brittle without seeming forced
(and this in a play with all too
much forced laughter).

);

the records to, or your little sis-
ter's Christmas pageant at the
local junior high.
John Houseman, and he should
know, doesn't envision that at'
all for the future of American
theatre. "There is only one theatre
and there is only one world," said
the 66-year-old dramatist and
motion picture producer.
He spoke last night of the con-
temporary American theatre as
something with "exhilarating and

ranscends Tradition
the old director called a "whirling bellion. But in past and other cul-
about in all directions."-repertory tures, the theatre has evolved
theatres, theatre of the absurd, through a pattern of rebellions
theatre of cruelty, 'freakouts,' hap- against theatrical tradition. The
penings, and theatre-in-the-round. "winds blowing through our thea-
It's all part of our attempt to es- tre today" fail to relate to any old
cape the conventional mode of pattern of tradition. That is why
reality-what Houston calls "na- American theatre has to try to
turalism." embrace the theatrical traditions
And this is, ineed, theatrical re- of the entire world.
B eckley 'Unloads Cultural
Debris, Fragmented Images's

"Keeps You Glued To Your Seat !"
--MICHIGAN DAILY
~s

L

Mi UNTIL DARK

I'

Friday: W. C. FIELDS CARNIVAL

HELD OVER!

R<r IXTAT rlplpv QUIPATvn

1
t
'

E'
l

frightening prospects .. . becauseW
it has no traditions, and because One of the side effects of this
the entire theatrical tradition of McLuhanesque era is the focus
the world is being handed to us." on the medium at the expense of
Houseman is a Bucarest-born the message. Consequently, one
American with a British accent can get amazing mileage out of'
and a white beard, and looks some- fusing other people's words with
thing like a cross between a Dick- other people's pictures.
ensian schoolmaster and an over- "Tonight I intend to unloadj
sized Ulysses S. Grant. some of the cultural debris in my
"How do we seek a tradition in mind. It will consist of a lot of
our theatre, having none?" he fragmented images and words -
asked himself, then answered, mostly other people's words," was
"The barriers of time and space the explanation Prof. Robert Beck-
have been removed." lay, of the architecture school,
To Houseman,, live theatre is gave last night as he began a one
either in a crisis that will soon hour contribution to the Creative
end in its final death on the Arts Festival.
American scene, or it is about True to his word, Beckley nar-
to grow out of a long stagnancy rated a presentation which com-
to take on a unique "world tradit- bined slides from picture magaz-
ion. ines and photography collections,-
What we have today on the with several paragraph-long read--
American theatrical scene is what ings from various echoes of ourr
culture.
This approach produced some
Creative Arts mild irony when it fused a Ste-
swart Udall reading on the mas-
Fe tv lsacre of the buffalo with a car-
Thursday, Feb. 8 toon picture of_ a dive-bomber
pilot armed to the teeth.
JOHN STYAN Occasionally the material was
UGLI Multipurpose Rm., somewhat novel and arresting. An
4 p.m. advertisement by the American
ONCE FESTIVAL Realty Service Corporation - un-
Union Ballroom, 8:30 p.m. doubtedly culled from some arch-
itecture magazine - proclaimed

the merits of building artificial
lakes to order with the motto,
"We bring the water to you."
Usually, however, the readings,
were standard, enviromentally-
oriented social comment of Paul
Goodman, Tom Wolfe, and Archi-
tecture and Design Magazine. The
pictures generally were at best re-
lated and it often seemed that
Beckley's only message was "See
how I read the right people and
think the right things."
While Beckley could never have
carried off the performance with-
out the slide projector, it is dif-
ficult to say what role the ma-
chine played.
Perhaps all the darkened room
and the inoffensive pictures pro-
vided was a nice, restful atmo-
sphere where the audience could
- aided by Beckley's soft voice
- luxuriate sleepily in the shal-
lows of social commentary.

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CINMA GUIL,-D
THURSDAY and FRIDAY
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My Apprenticeship
director, Mark Donskoy, 1939
In My Apprecenticeship, part 2 of the Gorky
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MIKE NICHOLS
LAWRENCE TURMAN
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I

Losey& Pinter's"accident"
"UNLEASHES THE PENT-UP VIO-
LENCE OF SEXUAL LONGING AND
ONRUSHING AGE. A DISSECTION
OF HUMAN PASSION, ACCENTING
THE MOOD OF HAUNTING IRONY."
-Time Magazine
"LIKE A PUNCH IN THE CHEST. PUT
TOGETHER BREATH BY BREATH,
LOOK BY LOOK, LUST BY LUST, LIE
BY LIE. A COMPELLING FILM."
-Newsweek Magazine
"A GORGEOUSAND HAUNTING FILM!"
-Esquire Magazine
"TWO MASTER CRAFTSMEN AT
WORK! A FILM TO WATCH WITH
FASCINATION!" -Judith Crist, NBC Today
"ONE OF THE TRULY NOTABLE PIC-
TURES OF THE PAST YEAR!"
-Archer Winsten, N.Y. Post
TWO BEST Dirk Bogarde - Stanley Baker
FILM AWARDS . The Joseph Losey
1967 CANNES Production of
FILM FESTIVALa c e
accidentn

o-

IN%07T %0INW.I 1 ,716

This
is
Benjamin.
He's
a little
worried
about
his
future.

I

Screenplay by
Harold Pinter
Directed by
>seph Losey
n Color

I1 TEAR ANIATF

1 I RIlllAl lI

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