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February 20, 1968 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-02-20

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PAGE TWO

THlE MICHIIGAN DAILY

A 'WY F'WvvuuTTA WW an 1194

'1 Uhi~l)nX, ERUA1J1J1X 2, V, 8O

5

theatre
Slezak Stumbles Through 'Lion'

music

By RICHARD KELLER SIMON
Except for Walter Slezak,
the Overland Stage Company
(sic) gave a skillful perform-
ance of "The Lion in Winter"
last night. Unfortunately, Wal-
ter Slezak played the main
character (Henry II) around
which the play revolves.
James Goldman's play is a
fine, carefully written treat-
nient of Henry II and his mod-
ern Virginia-Woolf-type royal
family. It needs good actors to
carry off the bitter wit of the
dialogue, and the ambivalent,
calculated indifference of the

characters. Without such ac-
tors, the play could still be
funny, but the point of the hu-
mor would never materialize.
Walter Slezak looked bad, but
sounded worse. We should see
an "indifferent" King who is
not really so indifferent. In-
stead we see an indifferent
Walter Slezak. The thick Old
Vienna accent did not help
him any; but instead of rising
above it, he seemed to retreat
into it. He walked through his
role, reciting the lines, and the
bright black King never came
to life.

"The Lion in Winter" com-
bines the public and private
lives of the royal household
into a tight study of the grim
delights, and life and death
problems of Kings. If the lan-
guage is Albee, the mood is
Pirandello. All the characters
speak in absolutes, whether
they really meanTwhat they are
saying or not. The contradic-
tions come as fast ascthe wit;
each makes the other both
funny and meaningful.
When Henry looks at Elea-
nor, his Queen, near the end
of the play and says, "I should
-

cinema:

Oscar, Oscar, Who's Got the...

By DANIEL OKRENT
Hollywood announced its
nominations for this year's Os-
cars yesterday, and the battle
for best actor already seems to
be developing as the major
point of contention.
In my mind, leading the list
of candidates is Rod Steiger,
whose virtuoso performance as
the redneck Souther law of-
ficer in "In the Heat of the
Night" was surely typical of
his outstanding ability to
adapt to the most difficult of
roles.,
But, in Hollywood's inimit-
able fashion of rewarding sen-
timentality and durability in-
stead of singular excellence in
a specific role, it looks like
the late Spencer Tracy is due
for a posthumous award for
"Guess Who's Coming to Din-
ner." Tracy, who earned two
earlier Oscars in his remark-
able film career, may have per-
formed well in that picture,
but a considerable attempt
should be made to closely
s c r u t i n i z e his performance
without regard to the human
interest angle. A special cita-
tion, yes; an Oscar because he
died, no. It would be like giving
Elizabeth Taylor an Oscar for
a tracheotomy or Sidney Poi-
tier one for his negritude.
The other candidates for
best actor performed well, but
not superbly. Paul Newman in
"Cool Hand Luke" was the
same nitty-gritty blood-and-
guts that he's been hundreds
of times before, steel blue eyes
or not. Dustin Hoffman in
"The Graduate" was good, but
repetitive. And Warren Beatty
suffered from Arthur Penn's
superb direction, if that can be
imagined: In building his
Clyde Barrow myth, Penn cre-
ated a poor boy Robin Hood
that was the largest flaw in
"Bonnie and Clyde." In over-<
responding, Beatty protruded a
bit too far out of the frame-
work of the film.
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Choosing a best actress is a
bit harder. Katharine Hepburn
in "Guess Who's Coming to
Dinner," Faye Dunaway in
"Bonnie and Clyde," Anne
Bancroft in "The Graduate,"
Audrey Hepburn in "Wait Un-
til Dark," and Dame Edith
Evans in "The Whisperers" are
the nominees.
More than likely, the two
unrelated Hepburns can be
ruled out: Audrey was trail,
but Audrey is always frail and
displayed nothing new or re-
markable; and Katharine has
Reached the status level in
which no matter what she
does, she cannot be viewed as
a suburban housewife - she
must be viewed as Katharine
Hepburn playing a suburban
housewife.
So that leavesdMisses Duna-
way, Evans, and Bancroft, a
newcomer and two accom-
plished pros. We haven't seen
"The Whisperers," but we can
imagine the calibre of Dame
Edith's performance: the New
York critics have already
dubbed her as best actress.
Faye Dunaway's facile blend-
ing into the complex Bonnie
Parker role was articulate and
precise. Anne Bancroft was so
incredibly cool asnthe middle-
aged vamp opposite Dustin
Hoffman that her well-execut-
ed sultry bitch produced eager
drools soaked in distasteful
acid.
In indication of what film
will be named as best of the
year, it is important to note
that both "Bonnie and Clyde"
and "Guess Who's Coming to
Dinner" received 10nomina-
tions each in the various cate-
gories. Nominated along with
these two films are "Doctor
Doolittle," "In the Heat of the
Night," and "The Graduate."
Purely judging on the basis
of contributions to the cinema
art, "Bonnie and Clyde" comes

out on top. "The Graduate"
was overdirected, "In the Heat
of the Night" too moralistic,
"Guess Who's Coming to Din-
ner" banal. "Doctor Doolittle"
I haven't seen, and judging
from the publicity thus far af-
forded this kiddie vehicle, I
really don't care to. Should
"Doctor Doolittle" win the
prize, I can't really absolve my-
self from guilt, but I doubt
that I'll have to do so.
Perhaps it's naive to say so,
but best film implies a whole
product, and the best director
is thus responsible for putting
out the best film. Despite his
slight mishandling of Warren
Beatty, Arthur Penn produced
a masterful product. Maybe
Mike Nichols was more inno-
vative, but his devices in "The
Graduate" were too prominent.
Stanley Kramer for "Guess
Who's Coming to Dinner," can
be faulted for working with an
overworked, almost trite idea
(liberal white parents con-
fronted with liberal white
daughter marrying liberal Ne-
gro neurosurgeon, of all
things). Norman Jewison's "In
the Heat of the Night" was
good, but not excellent. I'm
told (again, I haven't seen the
film) that Richard Brooks' use
of cinema verite in "In Cold
Blood" was markedly close to
Truman Capote's in the book;
I find that an insult to the
eyes of the creative viewer.
I haven't made choices for
supporting roles because I
don't feel that a secondary
character should receive sec-
ondary billing of. any kind; to
do sois to pay tribute to the
casting director and not the
performer. Of the ten male
and female choices, though,
George Kennedy was brilliant
in "Cool Hand Luke" and Mi-
chael J. Pollard and Estelle
Parsons were marvelous in
"Bonnie and Clyde."

have killed you years ago," and
Eleanor replies, "There's no
one peeking. Do it now," the
audience should be brought to
some sort of understanding
with what has been going on
all evening. Last night, the
lines went by barely noticed.
The other actors did well. It
just proved impossible to ig-
nore the central character, who
resembled a dinosaur more
than the intended lion. Mar-
garet Phillips (Eleanor) gave
the sort of performance that
Slezak should have matched -
and must have matched for a
real serious, battle to develop
on stage.
The three sons did at times
match the Queen. Michael
Goodwin (as the middle son,
Geoffrey) was the one most
consistently good. Peter How-
ard (as the youngest son,
John) was perfectly adolescent
at times, only to descend into
early childhood at other times.
Alexander Courtney (as the
oldest son, Richard) reminded
me of a gorilla with a contrived
British accent. His bravery in
the script never came across.
Some of 'the problem with
the three sons is clearly in the
writing. Goldman kept things
basic. He made one a schemer
(Geoffrey), one a spoiled, stu-
pid child (John), and one
queer (Richard). Why is Rich-
ard queer? Goldman goes to
some pains to justify the char-
acterization. Both Mommy and
Daddy Plantagenet (written
that way) explain and dem-
onstrate that the King was a
failure as a father and the
Queen a viper of a mother.
The homosexuality comes as a
jolt, at first, but ultimately
makes sense.
Goldman creates a world of
unexpected response (so much
so that one sits, waiting for
the next reversal). When you
think that the characters are
going to embrace each other,
they throw insults; when you
think they are going to kill
each other, they embrace.
Clarke Dunham's set is per-
fectly suited to the play, to
the requirements of a traveling
company, and to the caverns
of Hill Aud.

EMQB
By JIM PETERS
You expect that the members
)f the Early Music Quartet
(Studio der Fruehen Musik)
from Munich speak to one an-
other in Gothic or Romansch or
some other forgotten European
dialect, for their music, lyrics,
and even their instruments
come from the antique manu-
scripts of the Late Middle Ages
and Renaissance. They are
wandering minstrels who travel
by jet.
The concert on Sunday at
Rackham Aud. was the fourth
stop in a three-month tour of
the United States for Willard
Cobb, Sterling Jones, Andrea
Von Ramm, and Thomas Bink-
ley. They were beautiful, but the
performance was more than en-
tertainment; they have saved
something precious from ex-
tinction. Mr. Cobb, tenor, and
Miss Von Ramm, mezzo-so-
prano, shared the vocals, yet
all foursareprofessional instru-
mentalists as well.
Organized in the '50's, the
Quartet has brought together
music historians and interested
musicians in order to carefully
put back together the music of
the 15th and 16th centuries
which is rooted in the popular
dances, street songs, and peas-
ant music of Europe.
Even the moderate intimacy
of Rackham seemed too mod-
ern, too artifical for instru-
ments and music accustomed to
secluded Moorish gardens and(
Italian villas and farm-yards.
Lute and viol, a proto-cello,
were the basic instruments for
almost every selection; the wind
instruments seemed to be added
more for ornament and never
found a place of their own in
the musical fabric. The com-
bination of strings, however, fit
perfectly the Italian Frottolas
and Spanish Romanzes, but the
siniple addition of organ and
winds wasn't enough to effect
the vibrancy of the German
peasant music and popular
French lyrics.
Where was the percussion,
the hollow beats and metallic
splashes, emphasizing the shift-
ing rhythms and syncopation
which equals even rock-and-

roll? Hand drums and tambour-
ine certainly would have added
to the popular, "folk" origins of
the music, and their sparkling
sound is startling.
Perhaps it was the idea that
this concert was part of a
Chamber Music Festival that
toned down all the instrumental
exuberance and color so plenti-
ful in the Quartet's recordings.
The Spanish Romanzes, _ cer-
tainly, fit this chamber-music*
mood best. Beginning as his-
torical epics, their contempla-
tive melodies, often mingled
with lamentation, center on the
wars between the Moors and
Christians in Spain. Mr. Cobb's
high tenor, smooth even in
countertenor range, found its
best expression here.
But some of the music is
funny, and it is here that Miss
Von Ramm shone: she was the
star. Her facial expressions in
the bawdy German songs, her
melodramaticrannunciation,
her vitality and quite apparent
enjoyment for songs full of
cackling and chirping, full of
the onomatopoeia of roasting
geese, never hid the fact that
she is still a musical scholar.
Her warm mezzo voice is per-
fect for the simple country
melodies.
The viol of Mr. Jones, sound-
ing clearer and brighter than
I expected from such a small
instrument, was freed from ac-
companiment in a series of
four Spanish Ostinatos. These
involve serous work in im-
provisation. Mr. Binkley on
lute provided florid ornamen-
tation on the simple bass lines.

rI ''-

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NOW OX EASTERN THEATRES-
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And the lute is a difficult in-
strument to play because of
tuning and technique di ficul-
ties which even Mr. Binkley
could not avoid. Educated at
the universities of Illinois and
Munich, he directs the group
in the troubador tradition of
lutenist as first among a
group of fellow musicians.
And the instruments them-
selves are almost as interesting
as the music. Perhaps know-
ingly, the Quartet left their
instruments on stage during
intermission, giving the eager
audience a chance for close
inspection.
They are all copies of early
instruments or reconstructions

Monday-Thursday
7:00-9:00

Fri. 7:00-9:00-11:00

boasts Music, Musicology

of extinct instruments des!gned
with the help of iconographic
material, literary sources, and
surviving related instruments.
Program notes divide them into
five groups: bowed string,
plucked string, wind. keyboard,
and percussion instruments.
The Early Music Quartet has
revived the music upon which
Bach and earlier masters built
the traditions of Western mu-
sic. They dig through monas-
teries for manuscripts, realize
melodies from the ambiguous
neumes. and develop inrtru-
mentations as close as possible
to the originals. Perhaps, after
all, the spirit of renaissance is
not quite dead yet.

Sat. 3:00-5:00-7:00-9:00-11:00
Sun. 1:00-3:00-5:00-7:00-9:00

MATT HELM'S
BIGGEST
AND BOLDEST!
CIER
MRRYIM
osMATT HELM i
THE
RMBUSNERS
SNA BEER J NIIIE[ PEk
" FRIDAY 0
"FAR FROM THE
MADDING CROWD"

MMM"

I

Ito
ONE OF TH YEAR'S
10 BEST!
A PICTURE YOU'LL HAVE TO SEE-
AND MAYBE SEE TWICE TO
SAVOR ALL ITS SHARP SATIRIC
WIT AND CINEMATIC TREATS!"
-NEW YORK TIMES
"THE FRESHEST, FUNNIEST
AND MOST TOUCHING FILM
OF THE YEARI" -SATURDAY REVIEW
"DON'T MISS IT!" -NBC-TV TODAY SHOW
WINNER OF FIVE
JOSEPH E. LEVINE GOLDEN GLOBE.
E E.EVNEAWARDS
MIKE NICHOLS including
LAWRENCE TURMAN, -l Best Supporting
Actress
Best Picture
!" /Best Driector
t .Best Promising
Actor and
/ 1 \Actress
ANE BANCOOFT'.DOSIN HOFFMAN - KATHARINE ROSS
CALDER WILLNGHAM a.BUCK HENRY >AOL SIMON
SIM N A GARFUNKEL''. AWENCE TURMAN
MIKE NICHOLS TECHNICOLOR* PANAVIOl0N
Nex :" Attraction "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner"

i
0

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WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY

4:10 P.M.

DEPARTMENT OF SPEECH
STUDENT LABORATORY THEATRE
presents scenes from
THE BARBER OF SEVILLE
by Beaumarchais
and
PHAEDRA
by Rancine
February 21 and 22 Admission FREE
Arena Theatre, Frieze Building
=== --i-i -- -- -----

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Co-Starring
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GENA ROWLANDS-" SIMON OAKLAND
JEFFREY LYNN-LLOYD BOCHNER
and SUE LYON as Duna
Last 2 Days

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