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Viet Rock': Another View
Graduates Stalk Jungle, Study
Tropic Ecology in Costa Rica
By ELIZABETH WISSMAN
A Tuberculin wheeze from the
harmonica-man, and Megan Terry
"hears America Singing:"
(To the tune of "Satisfaction")
Army grabbed our tax-exemp-
Can't get him back with stamp
And we cry, why-oh-why, let
'um try, he won't die!
He'll be a hero-uh, oh, oh, oh.
Sex, sex, sex,
Let's break their necks.
Dirt, dirt, dirt,
On his Fab-White shirt . . .
Miss Terry's drama, "Viet Rock"
deals with the United States in a
"folk" idiom of universal arche-
types. It is not, as Mr. Lugg has
assumed, that "Viet Rock" signals
the death of the "old notion of
'character.'" (Something that was
done rather nicely by the first
Miss Terry might have been at-
tempting to finish off the ambi-
guity between character, environ-
ment, event, and transcendent Ab-
solute. Her play is the medium
for grinding single emotions and
events into one "American Person-
ality," indivisible under God.
I will not quarrel with her meth-
od; only with its adequacy. Miss
Terry suffers the "Brechtian di-
Jlemma." She follows Brecht in
many of her dramatic devices, es-
pecially in the simplified delinea-
tion of characters, and the epi-
sodic flow of non-plot.
Like Brecht (and many other
modern dramatists), Miss Terry
makes use of pantomime to over-
come the physical limitations of
the stage. But mime, although
visual, is a device of imaginative
theatre and not the motion picture.
There is some error, I think, in re-
fusing to acknowledge the debt to
centuries of stagecraft in order to
achieve the immediate effect of
"Pop Terminology"-as Miss Ter-
ry does in calling Viet Rock a'
"folk war movie."
However much she may admire
the fluidity of cinema, Miss Terry
does not employ its necessary dis-
tance and abstraction. "Viet Rock"1
depends, for a large amount of its
primitivism, upon tactile experi-
The theatre is in the round,1
the players emerge from the audi-
ence, and return into audience at
the play's end. It is necessary to
relate directly, with the player-
soldiers, to the seduction of Hanoi
Hannah. And, with these same sol-
diers, to be bombarded with with
the noise of speakers situated
among the audience.
All of these devices are an at-
tempt, in the Brechtian tradition,
to destroy the indifference of an
audience to 'some event. But unlike
Brecht, Miss Terry does not seem
to feel the tension between an
aesthetic response and a prag-
matic "will to action." Brecht at-
tempted to break the illusion of
the play at intervals, in order that
the audience might be pleasantly
persuaded but not experience
Miss Terry, for all her rancor at
the Vietnamese atrocity, nonethe-
less merges the audience with the
illusion of the play. She is skillful
in making our Americanism ugly
to us, but surely she believes that
death is something more than ugly.
Drama may, of course, present
more complex aspects of war and
Americanism. But Miss Terry has
scaled her theatre down to the
barest functional edge.
Basically, "Viet Rock" equates
the serious themes of humanity
with monumentality. But by using
"characters writ large," Miss Terry
is often not moving us aesthetical-
ly, and certainly not getting us
out of Vietnam. Her play precisely
is a monument, standing as a proof
to the people of Tomorrow how
very sorry we are for Today.
By DAVID SPURR
In the steaming swampland out-
side a little town called Haciendo
Palo Verde, Costa Rica, a grad-
uate student in basic ecology stalks
a snake through a grassy marsh.
He stomps on its head, deftly picks
it up and turns back toward his
field station house.
He is one of about 50 graduate
students in field courses of the
Organization for Tropical Studies
(OTS), at 10 stations in Costa
Rica, Honduras and the Canal
Established five years ago by the
University and several other insti-
tutions to conduct courses and re-
search on the tropics, OTS now
serves as a graduate department
for 21 American universities and«
the Universities of Costa Rica. The
original curriculum of zoology,
botany and biology is expanding'
this year to include ecology, agri-
cultural science and forest science.
Most field stations are simple,
inexpensive buildings scattered
over Costa Rica-a terrain so va-
ried that it contains the tropical
extremes of precipitation, altitude,
soil types, and biological diversity.'
One of the field stations was
built in the jungle near the Nica-
raguan border by a philanthropist.
Another, on San Andreas Island in
the Caribbean, is used for coral
reef study. Another station, in
largely unexplored jungle, can on-
ly be reached through transporta-
tion by a single engine plane and!
a dugout canoe. Here on the Osa the tropical regions will no longer
Peninsula trees grow to heights be a hostile environment for man,
of 150 feet. explains an OTS pamphlet.
Afterspendingafewdsi Central American farmers have
San Jose, Costa Rica, students long practised milpa farming; that
leve for these field stations, where is, they clear land, farm is for a
they hear preliminary lectures and few seasons, then abandon it when
receive assignments for gathering its nutrients are exhausted. When
data from instructors. One student asked whether OTS would be of
may be assigned to identify the any direct benefit to Central
forest trees of the region, another American agriculture, however,
to collect insects and another to Prof. Stephen B. Preston, OTS ex-
study the soil. Then they reassem- ecutive director, said, "It is not
ble to report on their findings, our intension to get into any
make a group summarization and highly applied areas."
hear instructors' critiques.
Through research and study at Although the program was not
these stations, scientists hope to designed to take the place of exist-
increase their knowledge so that ing graduate schools in central
America, Latins take part in OTS
and it has the moral support of
the Costa Rican government.
Since OTS began, over 300 stu-
dents and 100 faculty members
ahave participated in the program.
While there is no resident faculty,
teachers and researchers normally
stay in Central America for two
and a half months of "highly in-
tensive work," according to Pres-
ton. Twenty-seven graduate stu-
dents and ten faculty members
from the University have taken
OTS is financed by the National
Science Foundation, the Ford
tFoundation, and member institu-
tions. The program spends one-
. half million dollars annually, but'
this is "continually expanding"
because the research program has
=.just started, according to Preston.
Scene from 'My May'
Manupelli Sets Pace
In. U.S. Film-Making
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By ANDREW LUGG
George Manupelli is one of those
artists who is unfortunately be-
fore his time. It may be for this
reason that he is one of the most
overlooked film-makers in America
Three of Manupelli's films,
"Five Short Films," "The Bottle-
man" and "My May," will be
screened in the Architecture Aud.
today at 2 p.m. Admission is free.
Long before the fascination that
certain artists have recently ex-
(Continued from Page 1)
project for better things to come:
new exciting courses, new excit-
ing ways to learn; small seminars,
liberalized credit allotments which
enable a student to mold his
education as he wants it.
Students and faculty, Mann
says, must strive through dialogue
for ways "to turn each other
In the end, says Mann, the
sum of it all boils down to one
question: "How do you get to
work like hell around here and
feel good about it?"
hibited with airplanes came into
vogue, George Manupelli wasj
working on sculptures and filmI
with this motif. As early as the
mid-fifties he had used the
American flag as a motif in his
paintings. Indeed, he had given
up painting before the motif had
spread to New York.
It does not take much stretch
of the imagination to see a great
deal of "Bonnie and Clyde" in
"My May," made in 1964. This
writer is further willing to argue
against all comers that "The Bot-
tleman" is the most complete,
flawless narrative ever to have
been constructed without the use
The two-screen "Bottleman,"
incidentally, came years before
"Chelsea Girls" and Expo.
Immediately apparent to even
the most casual film-viewer must
be the supreme elegance, the im-
mediate beauty of the films. To
the seasoned critic or film-maker
the technical aspects and the
formal qualities are absolutely
ONLY 4 MORE DAYS
TO SEE ULYSSES
FILM ! -Li.e Magaine
-Bosley Crowther,.New York Times
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6:15 - 8:55
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JEAN-PAUL BI[MONDO in
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