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April 09, 1968 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-04-09
Note:
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AL

4,11v

41 *

Page Sixteen

THE MICHIGAN DAILY MAGAZINE

Tuesday, April 9, 1968

April 9,1968

A Script

about

Those

Players

The Michigdn Daiy Mtaga

With

stage

presence

and

a little makeup, the Professor

becomes

a star

. . .

By MARK LAFER
DR IMATIS PERSONAE
NARRATOR: a dulcet-toned
member of the fair sex
PROF. HALL: A University pro-
fessor of English who be-
lieves in students.
PROF. HORNBECK: Another
University English Profes-
sor who believes in students
THE SCENE: A pause during A
dress rehaersal of a play so ro-
cocco that no one but Univet-
sity intyllectuals would dare
touch it.
NARRATOR: The University of Mi-
chigan offers students many oppor-
tunities for exposure to the per-
forming arts. Dramatic productions
on campus are numerous. Plays are
performed by professionals, stu-
dents and even faculty. Among the
performers are Lord Chamberlain's
Players, a group which invites pro-
fessionals, students and faculty to
enjoy together the experience of
play-acting. Under the supervision
of Bert Hornback and Donald Hall,
both professors of English, Lord
Chamberlain's Players have main-
tained a tradition of informal the-
atre. The players believe in art-for-
art's-sake, and start a production
when a sizable numberof their
numbers is interested.
HALL: Well, you know it's very
loosely organized. But a long time
ago-about eight or nine years ago
-well, I guess I can put it literally
in 1959 or 1960--a group called the
John Barton Walgamot Society
started at the University. There
was X. J. Kennedy, the poet
and then a graduate student: Keith
Waldrup, James Camp and some
other grad students. They started
with the express purpose of doing
plays. I was away at that time,
when they put on an evening of
beat poetry - -which wasn't really
even that. They all wore beards and
some read parodies. A lot of people
were taken in by it. I think they
read over at the UGLI Multipurpose
Room. The following year, they did
the original UBA by Jardi. When
I came back the next year. they did
a crazy play in which I played the
Emperor Nero. It was my first part.
NARRATOR: The Lord Chamber-
lain's players change from produc-
tion to production. The casts are
comprised of either students re-

-Daily-James Forsyth

The Lord Chamberlain's players unveiled Sa

cruited by Hall or of interested tal-
ent which seeks him out.
HALL: One of the important char-
acteristics of this group is that it
has comlined faculty, graduate stu-
dents, and undergraduates. In Sa-
lome, the Herod was a junior in the
literary school. In MacBird, we had
some sophomores, and the dean of
the School of Architecture and De-
sign, Reginald Malcomson, who
played the Earl of Warren.
The originals are scattered all
around the country now. But
some of the people who had acted
with them, and others who had been
helping out remained. But still for
several years nothing went on.
Then two graduate students in Eng-
lish -- two girls, Jocelyrt Agnew
and Nataly Uslehngy - got inter-
ested in putting on the sequel to
UBU, and in reviving the spirit of
the old Walgamot group, by doing
a crazy, kind of Dada play. This se-
quel, written later by Jardi, was
called UBU Cornutatus - or UBU
Cuckolded. Then they recruited Prof.
Tom Garbaty of the English depart-
ment and Roger Staples who now
teaches at Eastern - and me. We
had all been in the original Wal-
gamot plays. We put onUBU Cor-

nutatus in the little Social Work
Auditorium. That was in the spring
of '66. So many people came we had
to -do special performances. One of
the things I like about the plays is
that we mix up tremendously the
hierarchies within the University.
NARRATOR: Working with Hall is
Bert Hornback usually producer for
the group. He views the Lord Cham-
berlain Players as an "umbrella"
covering the entire university. He
says any one can get under this um-
brella if he wants to.
HORNBACK: I construed the Lord
Chamberlain's Players as a sort of
umbrella because any organizing
force for doing things like this has
disappeared.
NARRATOR: Considering that your
cast is from all areas of campus, do
you find it difficult getting them to
work together?
HIORNBECK: It's a lot of indepen-
dent work. For SALOME, the lead
and one of the other players got to-
gether one Saturday afternoon at
Angell Hall and blocked their scenes
for themselves. Just trying them out,
over and over again. To get Salome's
dance down, we went over to the
Music School and talked to Ralph
Herbert in the opera department.
He explained to us what other Sa-
lome's had done in operas he had
directed. And then he told us that
our Salome would have to make up
her own dance, and that since we
wouldn't have any musicians, we'd
have to work with tambourinists.
So we got two students together who
would rattle tambourines for us.
They got together with our Salome
and in a couple of afternoons work-
ed out their dance.:
NARRATOR: It is obvious that the
Lord Chamberlain's Players suc-
ceeds in bringing- students and fa-
culty together to work. Do you feel
then, that the group denies the con-
cept of the multiversity where stu-
dents are estranged from the facul-
ty?
HORNBACK: The thing that upsets
me most about this university, is
tha students never talk to faculty

lome in Angell Hall
or even to students, about serious
problems. Our plays are just anoth-
er way of getting us in situations in
which we talk to each other as hu-
man beings rather than as faculty
and students. The students we've
gathered were chosen rather at ran-
dom. For MACBIRD,several people
just came. We got one of the soldiers
for SALOME when we saw him come
into Angell Hall one night during
rehearsal. He was in Garbaty's class.
And Garbaty said, "Hey, would you
like to be in a play?" and he said
"Yeah," so we put him on stage and
handed him a script.
NARRATOR: Dr. Hornback is far
from wrong when he claims that
groups like this are good for a uni-
versity the size of ours. Recently the
University Activities Center became
so interested in the Lord Chamber-
lain's Players, it offered the group a
place in the 1968 Creative Arts Fes-
tival.
IIORNBACK: There's a possibility
that we'll get some people to do a
Yeats play on the steps of the -Cle-
ments Library. I talked to a plant
department manager who said he
could arrange for the Police Depart-
ment to close off the street for a
couple of hours. We're thinking of
trying to get a group together next
fall to do one of a number of things,
John Styon (of the English Depart-
ment) suggested that we should do
seriously a nineteenth century melo-
drama; and so I've considered pro-
ducing Dickens' only play Strange
Gentlemen.
I'd like to' do a reading, maybe next
fall, of =Wilder's The Skin of Our
Teeth-as we-did- for MacBird. It's
a play which' nobody is doing much
now; and it seems to me that that
is the kind of thing we can do suc-
cessfully.
NARRATOR: Bits and pieces .. . a
disorganization . . an umbrella, ob-
scure and unicue. All of these things
describe the Lord Chamberlain's
Players. A combination of hard
work, talent, and spontaneous edu-
catio,

i"
j,
,
i
I
:

Ii

Jss

a conf or t ale sor of plaCe

t'
r ll
r !
i
R
___-__ I I

MARK LAFER, a senior in psychology, is fine arts
director of Radio WCBN.

Vietnam:

A Personal View

11

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