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December 07, 1968 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-12-07

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Saturday, December 7, 1968

Poge~ Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY

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theatre

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'The Castle:

Placed in the' wrong milieu

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By DANIEL OKRENT
Feature Editor
It is fitting that the Pro-
fessional Theater Program's
New Play Projects are sched-
uled to run for only one week:
this way. plays such as Ivan
Klima's The Castle, which will
be ending tomorrow night, can
be presented as "events" and
then can be allowed to quietly
and quickly fade away.
For The Castle, a Czech play
first presented in Prague in

1964, is not in any way a great
work for the stage; rather, it
is a great work for Prague,
1964. At the time of its release,
as a strident, proud blast at
Stalinist oppression, I'm sure it
could have been regarded as
bold and daring, a courageous
statement. But, if the play is
viewed from any other point,
if we choose to look at it in Ann
Arbor, US.A., 1968, it is a hack-
neyed, dull polemic with little
redeeming dramatic value.

The castle of the title is the
home for a handful of promi-
nent individuals who have re-
acted in various ways to the
pressures of Stalinism. A writer
convinces himself to believe,
terrified of actually recognizing
realities; a scientist refuses to
believe, and resigns himself to
wasted pessimism; an athlete
needs to believe, for in his be-
liefs he finds an obnoxious
pride; another ignores the op-
pression and loses himself in

hollow contemplation, another
lives with it in hopeless buf-
foonery. But all of them, when
it can support them and save
them, resort to the protections
of totalitarianism.
The parodies of human re-
action might be effective, and
the "moral" that springs from
nowhere in the last two scenes
could perhaps be swallowed. But
the simplicity of the formula
(and its basic -triteness) spoils
with the intrusion of Young
Moral Innocent, the eager lad,.
a l m o s t embarrassingly over-
played by Peter Simon. The
character is a too-familiar left-
over from Saturday morning
television's animated morality
}plays.
Marcella Cisney's too-obvious
direction only accentuates the
play's possibilities. At times re-
sembling the Keystone Kops, at
other moments rigidly severe,
her players scatter through six
clumsy scene changes with a
sense of pace that stimulates
only by its wild fluctuation.

The cast is generally bland,
neither bad nor good, although
Henderson Forsythe as the
aging scientist, doddering and
senile and emasculated by his
glorified imprisonment in the
castle, saves at least some of
the production with a solid,
feeling portrayal. Also worthy
of note is William Weaver,
stage manager for the produc-
tion, who has substituted for
Wallace Rooney as the buffoon
ince the latter suffered a heart
seizure before the play opened.
Performing last night without
the script he used to walk
through the role in its first few
showings, Weaver rose to some
high levels of homey wit with
his marvelous voice, a pungent
mix of gravel and honey.
Were we to apply the stand-
ards of a restless Prague, try-
ing to emerge from 20 years of
cultural stagnancy, Klima's play
could conceivably be heralded.
But here, now, The Castle is in
the wrong place at the wrong
time. And it tells us little we
couldn't read in the newspapers.

Order
Your
Subscription
Today
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"Long Day's Journey
Into Night"
by EUGENE O'NEILL
with KATHERINE HEPBURN
JASON ROBARDS
CANNES FILM FESTIVAL BEST ACTING AWARD
DECEMBER 6-7
I*Ca

- music
Hallelujah for 'Messiah', again

ses
Falad Pne ubcito ae 4.5 per term by carrier ($5 by maili):
S8.OO for regular academic school year
49 by mail).

By JIM PETERS
Handel's Messiah always brings
out the best in people; after all,
it's usually performed around
Christmas time, and all that
good old religious fervor gets to
people. But it takes a lot more
than good cheer to make this
gargantuan composition, which
practically everyone knows, suc-
cessful as a musical experience.
Once again this year, the Uni-
versity Musical Society has come
up with a winning performance,
both emotionally and musically.
This season's first perform-
ance, at Hill Aud. last night,
featured Susan Belling, soprano;
Elizabeth Mannion, contralto:
Henry Nason, tenor; and David
Clatworthy, bass. Conductor
Lester McCoy had the services
of the Interlochen Arts Acad-
emy Orchestra - whose members
played like pros.
Soprano Belling was easily the
outstanding soloist; she sang
eighteenth century Handel with
soul. The short Christmas re-
citatives were but a pleasant
prelude to her final aria, "I
know that my Redeemer liveth."
I missed the vocal ornamen-
tation ih all the solos, but Bell-
ing came closest with her subtle

trills and ad libitum adorn-
ments.
The contralto's work was
smooth and rich, but often Man-
nion's amber voice lacked emo-
tional intensity. Not so much in
"O thou that tellest"; but I felt
the need for more earnestness
in the Passion aria "He was
despised."
Nason's voice seemed too tight
and restricted in his very first
aria, but the aria "Behold, and
see' found him relaxed, steady,
and in very full voice.
The bass had trouble with the
presto section of "But who may
abide," but things worked well
in his final aria, "The trumpet
shall sound," despite some lack-
luster orchestral accompani-
ment.
The University Choral Union
were beautiful, everything I
could have expected: tight, en-
semble, staccato brightness, and
good control of dynamics. The
chorus "Glory to God" with its
emphatic accent on "good will"
was stunning, and the power of
"He trusted in God" never
ebbed.
The small ensemble of the In-
terlochen Orchestra had much
work to do. There are sections

of as soft and subtle dynamics as
in the Pastorale Symphony, as
well as the bombast of the Hal-
lelujah Chorus; and whenever
weakness showed up in one spot,
it was soon corrected.
Their main troubles were in
the strings, with a second violin
section that started off wobbly
in the Overture. But the final
chords of the "Amen" were
broad and loud, but still per-
fectly controlled.
And the mastery of all these
forces falls to Lester McCoy;
and though I disagreed with his
tempi in certain spots, I still
think him a very g e n e r o u s
Santa, bringing this tremendous
Christmas present to Ann Arbor
every year.

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TAKE AN EXAM BREAK
Ann Arbor Junior Light Opera
Presents

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Living Theatre
comes to Ann Arbor
Mon., Dec. 9
"Antigone" (Cancelled)
Tues., Dec. 10
"Mysteries & Smaller Pieces"

more reviews

^'

ANEW M41SltAI.
JUST RELEASED FROM BROADWAY[
(a.sed on the film,"The World of enry rien t")
Wednesday--Saturday
11-14 December
TRUEBLOOD THEA TRE-8 P.M.
Box Office Open Daily at 1:30 P.M.
beginning Mon., Dec. 9

Tired of Selling Out?
Sell in! !
at
Student Book Service
Best prices in Town
on books.

Wed., Dec. 11
"Paradise Now"

+i

PETER GRIFFITH
Classical guitarist, composer
at
MARK'S COFFEE HOUSE
605 East William
performances at 9:00, 10:00 & 11 :00 P.M.
Fri., Dec. 6th and Sat., Dec. 7th
Admission $1.50
TONIGHT at
HERB DAVID 00
1421 Hill St.
8:30 P.M.
musical mixtures featuring instruments and music especially
concocted for the evening by Herb David and P.D.Q. Bach-in
vile, clatters, transverse open hole hose flute, bladder pipe,
electric broom, and playing the, recent hit "Transplant," or
r" (subtitle) "Change of Heart."

pmwwi wwmm wwm ww ww wwmww ww ww ww ww ww w ww wwm ww ww ww w ww ww!w / ww ww j
ir r
CLIP AND SAVEr
Ir r
;r r
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Er r
Fr r
* r
r Il
Ir r
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I.A STUDY BREAK'
rI r
Deebe 3 n 1 ,
"The Magnificent Seven,
Yul Brenner--Steve McQueen
] James Coburn-Robert Vaughn

ALL PERFORMANCES 8:30
UNION BALLROOM

All tickets $3.00
Available at Centicore Book Store, Plaster of Paris
FOR RESERVATIONS CALL 665-0606
Tickets also available at the door

{

i
S
A
tl

3020 Washtenaw, Ph. 434-1782
Between Ypsilanti & Ann Arbor
} NOW SHOWING

IS A GROOVY MOVIE
WAS MADE FOR
YOUNG PEOPLE
CAMELOT
WAS MADE WITH
YOUNG PEOPLE
STARRING
RICHARD HARRIS
2 SONG HITS ON KEENER
ALSO STARS
VANESSA REDGRAVE
STAR OF "BLOW UP"
(CAMLO
CO-STARS
DAVID HEMMINGS
WHO ALSO'STARRED
"BLOW UP" &s "BARBARELLA"
cAMELOT
IT'S A MOD-MEDIEVAL
LOVE-IN

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THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
11:00 P.M.
separate
admission

!!WORLD PREMIERE!*!
"SEASONS CHANGE"
THE BATTLE
OF CHICAGO
Feature length-revolutionary

I4#

MAD
MARVIN
PRESENTS
UNDERGROUND
FILMS
AT
THE
Vth FORUM
5th Avenue
at Liberty
761-9700

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662-6264

Complete Shows At
1 :00, 3:00, 7.00
and 9:00. 2nd Week
No one Admitted Under
18 Unless Accompanied
By a Parent

Mobilization and A.C.L.U.'s answer to Mayor Daley's telecast
This will not be shown on TV. in this area!!
PLUS ON THE SAME PROGRAM:
! OH DEM WATERMELONS-highly acclaimed film that turned thousands on to
the underground film movement. An examination of stereotyped Negro sensual-
ity. Starring "The Watermelon."
" PORTRAIT OF LYDIA-first prize 1964 Cannes Film Festival.
A succession of sexual images and symbols.
"A must for any art lover"-M.M.
" KENNY'S FIRST VACATION-recommended for liberal minded adults. 2nd
prize 1967 Chicago Art Institute.
W. C. FIELDS at his guaranteed best in:
"THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER"
c UNDERGROUND NEWSREEL-"RIOT CONTROL WEAPONS"
the first in a continuing series

I

Metro.Goldwyn*Mayer
presents ' .
A Mildred Freed Alberg
Productioni Starring
Peter Ustinov. MaggieSmith. Karl Malden.

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