THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Thursday, January 30, 1969 .
Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Thursday, January 30, 1969
A Festival ofelectric dynamism
By ELIZABETH WISSMAN.
It was the Black Poets' Festival, and it was exactly what you
would expect. The League Ballroom bathed in vociferous goodwill,
applause offered up, at secure intervals, from supplicants as liberal f
and livid as toadstools. The Daily, of course, sent their honky re-f
The "Festival" part, at least, no one could deny. The poets weie r
costumed, in shades, or in taffeta: as cadre or priest they came.
(Except for one small woman, who looked rather like Emily Dicken-
son in an encounter with George Sand.) There was action, and
resonant gestures as they read. And if you've ever experienced Robert
Lowell or Bly, then you know what the lack of resonance -can mean
to poetry. What more, the use of costume and verbal dynamism is
brutally correct in contemporary black art, with its community and
ritual of self-conscious beauty. There were moments when the whole,
clumsy room was ignited by the ability to respond publicly and in ..
concord. As when the poetess misread her line about the Brother.
"walking by with Goldilocks on his arm, being sadly mislayed."
£There was "blackness" enough, too, if you are moved by word-
count. Indeed, the only images in which most of the poetry formed
itself were rigidly black or red. A single poem, a narrative by a writer . .
who was not even present, departed from this program^ to describe ;
the -cracked purple lips and ancient yellow eyes of. a convict named
"Hardrock."- The- result was a perceptual depth, a rich and sensuous X
extension of the "power of blackness" in the total spectrum of the
poem. As readers and as auditors, we need this kind of multiform 4
imagination if we are to respond at all to the life surrounding even
such a sensitive abstraction as "black."
The single dimension of an allegory is always difficult, especially
for the uninitiated' And so it is with the "Allegory of Africa'' which
was ceaselessly celebrated in the poems. I am not, here, speaking of
the strong cadences and mono-syllables employed by so much black>
poetry in a- kind- of. lyric- re-creation of the rhythms of tribal life.
This seems to me to be a potentially -valid form. It is in the search
for unique rhythms and matching patterns of syntax and diction
that the- unique, "black voice" of Negro literature is most often Daily-Sara Krulwic
successful. In Cleaver's brilliant manipulation of ghetto vulgarity,rNi"
or in a young poet 'named Lee (whose verse was presented at the AaVLCJ ANcholas
Festival) with his gift for merciless repetition which pounds the very-
semantic out of a word, that he may re-forge it to his desired end.
But there is no concept which may move in literature with an o m R m iv
a priori beauty. This was the great difficulty of the Black Poets'
Festival and will remain the great difficulty of Black literature as it "The Life and Death of Tom little-known plays not ' ofti
attempts to "acquire a culture," in the words of Xavier Nicholas as Thumb the Great," a satire by seen elsewhere.
he spoke to those, assembled at the League last night. Nicholas enu- Henry Fielding will be present- Rather than being concern
merated the categories and methodology of current black art, rely- ed tonight by the Lord Cham- with elaborate stage tapping
ing heavily on the polarity described by LeRoi Jones. The "taunting" berlain's players at 8:00 p.m. the Players usually perfor
method, which orchestrates the fears and anguish of a guilty white in the Angell Hall Foyer. against barren settings in ord
audience is, according to Nicholas, "a waste of energy.",It is waste- The satire pokes fun at tra- to allow the marrow of the pla
ful precisely because it is so easily imitated and incorporated by ditional tragedy in a farce with wrights ideas to reach the au
white writers into rituals of expiation like "The Great White Hope. a surprise ending. In addition, .u
What the black man needs is an identity of such totalintegrity the Players will present "T h e Both plays will run until Fe
and developed, complexity that it will be impossible for White Amer- Creation of Eve" a short 16th ruary 1 as part of the Cre
ica to -copy it,and popularize it out of existence. In his self-styled- century mystery play first per- tive Arts Festival. General a
"polemic," Mr. Nicholas was electric. His speech was ragged with formed by the grocers of Nor- mission is $1.00.
an unembarrassed mixture of Blues and higher -analysics; his aud- folk, England.
lence was beautifully, tribally with him in his darkness. In his poetry, Lord Chamberlain Players, TODAY
however, and in so much of the poetry -of the Black Poets' Festival, known by its members as an Robin Kenyatta and the
", ,unorganization," is a group Ricn Cntemaryd h
the -myth becamne a numb rlietoric about "ton toms" and "jungle ofracul anstudent rk Auican Contemporary
nights." ing together on what they de- Ui Easom :p
There are- those who will accuse me, and quite properly I think, scribe as a "people-to-people" Union Ballroom, 7:30 p.m.
of not being "into it." I am not black, but painfully,, pruriently basis. Bang, Bang, You're Dead
white -.as', colorless as the rest of the fungus from English 475- Maintaining a somewhat er- University Players
Major American Authors (Negro) - who thronged to the League ratic performance schedule the Trueblood Aud., 8 p.m.
last night. And this raises the final question: the place of aesthetic players specialize in presenting
stasis in a time of revolution. Poetry is at once too personal and too
public forthe eretation.of a mass of. men, aligned upon a single axis.
If the axis:,or4Negro. art is to 'be blackness, it .must be that black
which is -the sumimary of many colors. Its need not, perhaps should D iraT 1 ia
not include the white. The rhythm of black music is dense, it has CREATIVESFESTIVAL
complex turns and syncopated variations. It ,does not seem absurd presents
to demand the same harmonic of image and Idea from black poetry.
________--~~~~ i___ -h-- - a .
By MICHAEL ALLEN
In some ways Bang! Bang!
You're Dead!, a new play by
Mack Owen which won a ma-
jor Hopwood last year, reminds
you of Shaw with its apparent
combination of comedy and ser-
iousness. But underneath t h e
serious bits is an absurdist,
basically irresponsible, w i t h-
drawal from the subject matter
that eventually turns the whole
thing into little more than a
spoof. The dramatist is in fact
using ideas for their fun value.
he is not really interested in
them as Shaw was. The result is
dissatisfying; we laughed oc-
Fasionally, but we were gyped.
' The plot is highly improbable.
Colly is a naive genius of 24
who is emotionally arrested at
the age of ten. He has invented
sore natty marble-sized bombs
that periodically explode (con-
gratulations incidentally to the
explosion man). And he has an
ingenuous theory that these can
be used to prevent violence. Dr.
Sachmenz, who is a Nobel Peace
Prize winner - this is quite in-
credible -4 tries to con Colly
for his own unscrupulous ends
and reveals himself as a bully
and a paranoid,. There a r e
sundry educational and politi-
cal problems aired and we are
preached at for too long.
In addition there's Colly's
over-protective occultist moth-
er, Mrs. Brunner; Mrs. Krezna,
an irascible landlady; Dr. Koch,
a glib psychiatrist; Latham a
nary nice girl
one who und
Everyone of th
not so much in
ing a laugh fro
- some of the
and there ares
lines, but too
ing of Act 1, an
in Act 3. Some
right boring. T
of frenzied run
real lack of co
Rose, an ordi- the combination of brilliance Br
who's the only and naivete. Rose too (Georg- lin
derstands Colly. ette Weremiuk), though s h e ne
ese is modeled on had the most difficult part, was go
wen is obviously quite good. And she managed a ki
terested in char- wide range of expressions and wa
as he is in rais- could stand still convincingly.
om people's idio- Mrs. Krezna (Barbara Haas) ne
for the dialogue was wooden and her continual su
lines are racy shout was again the director's for
some good punch fault. Sachmenz had an impos- th
much of it is sible part (Richard Dean), but fee
g.[ the story-tell- also he was nervously rigid most th
nd the harangues of the time and his peroration ri
times it is down- reached a premature climax ed
'he comedy itself and consequently he was 1 e f t ve
d and the bouts screaming for half of, it in an ha
ining around the attempt to keep the pace. Koch ho
up too often a (John Slade) was played in an
mic invention. amusing dead-pan way and he bo
innit. f did t has a.fine stage presence. Mrs. .ple
unner (Gilda Radner) was a
nited performance that was
vertheless effective. Finally a
od word for Latham (Lee At-
nson) whose first entrance
as especially well done.
The play has serious weak-
sses: its plot does not create
spense. it is rather a vehicle
w comedy and comment, and
ese range widely in their ef-
ttiveness. When you add to
is a production which is ter-
bly uneven and which is act-
by some promising but still
ry 'inexperienced actors, you
ve an evening that I cannot
nestly recommend to a n y-
dy but the most dedicated
ay-goer. A pity.
lUe pro ucion itsenJa U nou
help. For this the director, Jack
Ramsay, must take much of the
blame. 'Far too many scenes
seemed badly underplanned.
People wandered about waving
their arms all over the place
,like practicing priests, and
everybody continually shouted
at us trying to create a verbal
tension that wasn't there. The
scene when Koch psychoanalyz-
es Colly is a case in point. Here
the actor had not been 'to 1 d
where to move or what to do
to be effective. This was sad
because Koch was otherwise one
of the bright spots in the eve-
Colly (Christopher Root) was
believable and consistently good.
He made the horse jogging mo-
tions funny and he managed
SUNDAY, FEB. 2
1 429 Hill
A Premiere Production
- "__.____ _ .__... t
.. . ... l
The CREATIVE ARTS FESTIVAL
invites you to participate in
"THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN SONG"
Sot., Feb. 1
Tickets on sale in Fishbowl, 3rd floor League
and at the door
Trueblood Theatre-January 29-February
Department of Speech-University Players
Department of English-Creative Arts Festival
(Best Actor 1964 Film Festival)
Directed by SIDNEY LUMET
i onig T-Jan. 3u
Robin Kenyatta and
UNION BALLROOM-7:30 P.M.
$1.00 Student r $1.25 Non-Student
available in Fishbowl, 3rd floor
League and at the door
LORD CHAMBERLAIN'S PLAYERS
Angell Hall Foyer-8:00 P.M.
Jan. 27, 28-12:30 -5 p.m. Jan. 29, 30-$1.25-$1.75
Jan. 29, Feb. 1-12:30-8 p.m. Jan. 31, Feb. 1-$1.75-$2.25
All performances begin at 8:00 p.m.I
NOTE: More seating available
at 7 P.M. showings
Order Your Daily Now-
NATIONAL GENERAL PICTURES Presents
GREGORY PECK; EVA MARIE SAINT
aPrauct" THE STALKING MOON
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live and in person at
This Weekend FREE EATS
$2.00 at the door ($1.50 after 2nd-set)
3 Days Only
Thur., Fri., Sat.
Foresters' (lub Annual
PAUL BUNYAN BALL
ANN ARBOR PREMIERE THURSDAY
Everybody's Favorite Dirty Old Man Is Back in Town. Putting It Down Once More for a
Whole New Generation of Potential Fields' Cultists. And a Whole Generation of De-
voted Fields' Addicts. Whatever the Subject, Whatever the Treatment, W. C Fields'
Humor Is More Up-To-Date Than the Hippest of Contemporary Flicks.
Catch "MY LITTLE CHICKADEE" with the Incomparable Mae West. Then See "YOU
CAN'T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN." That's All It Should Take to Make W. C. Your
Favorite Dirty Old Man, Too.
"MY LITTLE CHICKADEE" with MAE WEST
Thur., Fri. 7:30-Sat. 4:30,7:30
Mad Marvin Presents at the Vth Forum
Thurs., Fri., Sat., Sun.-1 1 :00 P.M., Separate Admission
"THE CHELSEA GIRLS
(with dual projection)
r r 1:. .. J. lt 1 1