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March 12, 1970 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-03-12

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday, March 12, 1970

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Thu rsdoy, March 12, 1970

theatre

Life is a Dream'

-- Yuk, yuk

By MARCIA ABRAMSON
Life is a Dream is an intense-
ly serious play which has rais-
ed profoundly religious and ul-
timately existential questions
since it was first performed in
seventeenth century Spain. Be-
cause it is a masterpiece of the
Spanish drama - and of all
drama - the play's vision en-
composses the humor as well as
the tragedy of life: like life,
it is meant to be deadly serious
even if full of comedy.
Unfortunately, the University
Players have chosen 'to treat
Life is a Dream as a comedy
spliced with serious scenes.
Their production is bright and
lively, but it does not confront
the dramatic challenge offered
by Calderon, who wrote t h e
play to deal with overwhelming
human dilemmas like the dicho-
tomy of free will and fate and
the paradox of dramas and
death.
Imagine instead such a play
staring Dustin Hoffman as
The Graduate as the prince and
Barbara Streisand as F u n n y
Girl as the noblewoman he loves.
Have the supporting cast play
Laugh-In whenever they can-
even when the fun and games
detract from the seriousness
of what Calderon has to say.
Life is a Dream is about the
old King of Poland, Basil, who

learns from astrology that his
son will be a bloody tyrant. He
attempts to prevent this by exil-
ing the boy to a deserted moun-
tain, but relents as he grows
old and gives the son, Segis-
mund, now grown, a chance.
Segismund is like an animal,
knowing nothing of men and
their world; he rages, incens-
ed at the treatment he has re-
ceived, and the King sends him
back. The people refuse to ac-
cept any other heir, rebel and
restore Segismund.
So much for the physical plot-
line. What is really important
is Segismund's struggle f o r
knowledge, for a meaningful
way to live. Jolted back to his
bitter exile, he begins to learn
the fleeting value of human
glory and the need for modera-
tion and measure," for mercy
and generosity.
There is, of course, a real and
intended place for humor in
the Spanish comedy. The bumb-
ling servant Clarion (Evan Jef-
fries) went out for all t h e
laughs he could get, and justly
won them.
But the prince's attempted
rape of the lady is an important
moment of the play, and when
Calderon wrote for her the
lines equivalent to "I am lost".<Q
he was serious. If it is impos-
sible for those lines to be ser-
ious today, the damsel should

drop them - or else relegate
herself to the level of Hunca-
munca in Fielding's burlesque
Tom Thumb.
Given that the Players took
too many cues from Tom Thumb,
the acting was satisfactory. But
old King Basil, played by Rich-
ard Beebe, and Segismund, Paul
Holtfretter, presented t h e
drama of the evening. Segis-
mund was equal to his beautiful
soliloquy at the end of the
second part in which he wrestles
with the vision of life as a mere
dream. And the two together
brought home the impact of
their reconciliation and realiza-
tion of their errors.
In his director's note, director
Richard Burgwin talks of the
complexity of the S p a n i s h
drama: "if you came away un-
satisfied . . . perhaps we have
failed to raise to the challenge
of its complex greatness."
The truth is that one does not
need to understand the complex
nuances of the honor code or
the religious background to be
able to feel what Life is a Dream
is about; the questions Calderon
raises are too true., to persistent.
But they are not pure comedy,
and no audience should react
predominantly with laughter.
3020 Washtenow, Ph. 434-1782
Between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor
NOW SHOWING
Nominated for Seven
ACADEMY AWARDS
includinq
0 Best Picture " Best Song
CASSIDY AND
THE SUNDANCE KID

We're in debt
to
wars,
floods,
1services,
life savin
and
blood banks.,
he
help
The American Red Cross.
advertising contributed for the public good

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3 NIGHTS
BO1NNIE AND CLYDEf
starring
WARREN BEATTY and FAYE DUNAWAY
directed by ARTHUR PENN (Alice's Restaurant)

Aud. A, Angell Hall

7:00 & 9:30

75c

MARCH 12, 13, 14-Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Come early to get good seats for second show

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film festival
Fest retains high quality on second night
By BRUCE HENSTELL
Saying that a week long affair like the Ann Arbor Film
Festival looks good from the very first is always a dangerous
move. The first night may well have been a fluke. But the whistling
past the graveyard was, in this case, uncalled for. The second night
was every bit as good as the first, and in some films better.
What astounds this reviewer is the generally high quality of
the films.t Often the case is that any one festival will have a
number of outstanding films and the majority so-so. This has not
been the case. Pardon then, the slight Polyanna tone herein-
there is simply too little space to waste on the misses when there is
such an abundance'of the good.
Having said that I must retract it. Kenneth Anger's film In-
vocation of My Demon Brother is not up to Anger's standard. His
films are loaded with an intense mythology but the problem with
the film, as with mythologies in general, is that there are byr
nature esoteric. Anger's films are made of an intensely personal
mythology which fails to break through, in this film at least, to
the more widely meaningful levels of a film like Inauguration of the
Pleasure Dome. The film is, like his other works, visually beautifuly
Two films were shown which featured that king of kings, Christ."
In Last Supper by William Henderson we see a series of hip apos-
ties all in favor of "sockin' it to 'em in Chicago style." Christ is
then a square with a teddybear passing out miracles like they were "s
gbing' out of style. The quickest way to humanity, decide the
apostles, is through a man's genitals and hence they contrive to
have Christ laid by the Virgin Mary. His Heavenly Father promptly
dishes out the last judgement to the fallen idol'and he dies like a
man.

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8th ANN ARBOR' FlLM FSIA
MARCH 10-15
(in cooperation with CINEMA GUILD and DRAMATIC ARTS CENTER)
TONIGHT: Thursday, March 12
Screenings at 7:00, 9:00, 11 :00-EACH SHOW IS DIFFERENT
HOT TIMES; FREE DOOR PRIZES

PAHAYISION* COLOR BY DELUXE
Sugested For MATURE Audnm ,:.
"Af NTAt DICAEIOH AOw E0

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Program Info: 662-8871

754Y

ARCHITECTURE AUDITORIUM

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Campus Christ uses a familiar theme, Christ comes back to
earth, to a deadly human environment which promptly makes a,
martyr of him. One scene shows him flipping the finger to a cam-
pus cop who quickly crosses himself.
Old Time Comedy Night by David Devensky is a simple idea
well worked out. The camera maintains a head-on shot of an
audience supposedly watching silent comedies. The audience bad-
gers itself to death: a faggot appears and strikes out as does a
hooker. Each scene is intercut with the same scene seen as the
movie on the screen. Another brief idea well worked out is Courage,
an. ode to eternal optimism. In the film we see the Courage
Foundation, headed by a Miss Peterson, in its varied activities:
a Sunday lunch program (feedng pigeons), getting its message
across to the masses (writing on the side of a highway divider).
Standish Lawder is a professor of Yale with a number of
films in this year's festival. In Necrology we see a long shot of
people riding an escalator, each blissfully ignoring the others. At
the end, after we have seen a hundred or so people, a list of
credits appears which features such gams as, "worried mother,"
"local politician," pederast, and "Lucy Nugent's gynecologist."
Mitzi by Vernon Zimmerman plays around and makes its
point. The star is really a star Mitzi Gayngr, in what has the
appearance of a Hollywood home movie. And that is precisely what
you always figured stars did on their days off.
GOOD
NEWS
Columbia Recording Artists
FRIDAY ' OPEN 8 PM
SATURDAY 665-0606
SUNDAY$2.00

-Daily-Richard Lee
Pat, The Hippie-Strippie before her act comes off

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