THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Saturday, March 29, 1969
~e Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY
S,._4_ arh29 1 ~
By MICHEAL ALLEN
The Stratford's production is
a violent Hamlet. People get
thrown bodily around the stage
and Hamlet himself never stops
being on the brink of violence.
The melancholy hero of the
nineteenth century, the hero of
the soliloquies, is unrecognizable
in Kenneth Welsh. He burned
up adrenalin at a fantastic pace,
spitting out lines with incred-
ible ferocity, whir ping through
"To be or not to be" as if it
was simply another way of re-
leasing pent-up rage, over-re-
acting to every gesture, quibble,
and image that presented itself
to his febrile imagination. He
made us see why everybody caslls
Hamlet mad. At times, as in the
"go get thee to a nunnery scene"
with Ophelia, Hamlet actually
breaks down and his words be-
come a quivering sequence of
incoherent equivocations and
Moreover, this is as complete
a Hamlet as one is ever likely
to see acted. Fortinbras is back!
Super-energized package of violence
The dumb show is in; so is the
fisherman with the mail. The
director (John Hirsch) manages
this because of the vertiginous
speed at which everything takes
place. Even the ghost lets rip
frenetically. Two things result
from his speed; first, a certain
raggedness in the details-the
opening scene for instance was
thrown away and I've never seen
three men less scared of a ghost
than the guards and Horatio.
Secondly, it makes us wonder
about the basic problem of the
play itself. This production em-
phasized the gratuitousness of
so much that happens. Hamlet
responds existentially to each
new phenomenon. The ghost is
an utter irrelevance and really
one is much more interested in
Hamlet's ability to forget the
ghost than to remember him.
Indeed, Welsh managed to
make Hamlet into someone out
of Dostoyevsky, a Raskolnikov
to whom each individual impres-
sion is charged with an energy
that he cannot fully understand
By BRUCE HENSTELL
The Wrecking Crew, now at the Fox Village, is a film which
both uses, and is about surfaces. The acting never ventures beyond
mimicry, its humor is flat, its women are valued for their outside
surfaces and, of course, the story line is in no way coherent or
This is the third of the series in which Dean Martin plays the
American agent Matt Helm. In this one, Helm is called upon to re-,
turn a billion dollars in gold stolen by a thoroughly evil aristocrat,
before the Monday opening of the gold exchanges. Within a few
minutes we know exactly who, what, when, where and how - all
open acknowledgement by the director and writers that the au-
dience.knows any way the hero is to win and the villain expire.
Helm as played by Martin is a middle-aged man who finds
himself living in his own fantasy world. And rather than let that
either disturb or delight him, he accepts it and plays it straight.
At the opening, when we first see Helm, he is surrounded by beau-
tiful women, all delighting in sexual ecstasy at his mere presence.
He, however,; is asleep - dreaming of them. When his superior
somes to drag him away to the case he blurts out that those pro-
fessional models are costing him a fortune.
The Wrecking Crew owes less to the Bond films and the Our
Man Flint series than to a quite conscious realization by the di-
rector and writer of the limitations and possibilities of the older
and more fully developed Hollywood crime genre. While the hero
must have his woman, and he does more with her than exchange
views on the weather, Helm can't actually be shown making love.
Therefore, why not play with this situation by bringing it back
again and again? Unlike earlier figures in the genre, Helm quite
consciously knows that women want his body, not necessarily be-
cause of his looks, but rather because of his position in the story.
Rather than indulge this idiotic fantasy, or cop-out with that one
true woman, Helm maintains his own personality, his sanity, by
a slightly bemused indifference. "Oh," it goes, "so you're going to
sleep with me, sure, right, etc. etc."
The core of the Playboy philosophy, the Playboy attitude, is
that set of rationalizations allow one to fall easily and mercilessly
into the morass, permitting one to somehow feel as an individual
where he is hopelessly an object (and an object of his own pas-
sion). In The Wrecking Crew, surrounded by costly cars and round
beds, short skirts and large breasts, Helm's attitude guarantees
both his individuality and his freedom by establisling his distance
from the flat surfaces which surround him.
If the film falters in part, and is slow, is it excusable for the
film is far more consistent and conscious of its limitations than
most. And that alone marks it as worth seeing.
or harness. A lot of people won't
like this barnstorming; but it
is convincing in its own way and
the whole intriguing problem of
Hamlet's motivation is once
again in the melting pot.
This production makes it an
irrational, existential rage.
Everything in Denmark becomes
equivocal. At times last evening
the audience laughed in the
most traditionally sacrosanct
spots; those sober ironies and
puns became also light-headed.
And the gravediggers' scene,
which usually comes as a sort of
relief in the gloom became an
integral part of the whole
play's obsession with word-
play and paradox and double-
meaning. Compared to this ver-
bal violence, the physical vio-
lence of the ending is nothing.
It seemed at times that t h e
director's aim was to create
tension and energy for its own
sake - to make the play a gra-
tuitous play of lightning. We
are made to revel in the violence
of Hamlet's reactions, we are
not moved to understand them
or to see any resolution of
them. Indeed the ending last
night was not one that we felt
inevitably resulted from the in-
ner logic of the play. It w a s
simply one of any number of
endings that Shakespeare could
have almost arbitrarily chosen
to stop the play of the energy.
The rest of the cast are dom-
inated by Hamlet. They are all
dressed in furry, semi-mod,
semi-Danish whatsits and in the
latter half Claudius has a
splendid orange fur cloak that
makes him look like a consti-
pated bear. Played by Leo Ci-
ceri this was an interesting ver-
sion of Claudius. Instead of a
scheming machiavel we have a
viking - huge, shrewd, obvious-
ly adulterous, but yet a king
with an intangible air of com-
mand. Gertrude (Angela Wood)
did not have any oedipal prob-
lems with her son and the bed-
room scene was remarkable for
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markable story . .. an experience.
C I if f Robertson's performance
could not be better."
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BEGINNING TO END."
BRING QUICK RESULTS
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Admissio i 75c
Hamlet (Kenneth Welsh) and Ophelia (Anne Anglin)
its excitement rather than its
suggestiveness. Ophelia (A n n e
Anglin) was good in her mad
scene, and Polonius (Powys
Thomas was not only his usual
tedious self but also curiously
sinister at times. In fact, all
sorts of little touches here a n d
there renewed lines and scenes
which have become all too often
predictable. For instance Claud-
ius appeared for the perform-
ance of the Mousetrap drunk;
Osric did not put his hat on and
off but kept it off; Hamlet tore
a page out to show Polonius
what "matter" he was reading.
This Hamlet does not satisfy.
It gets on your nerves and there
is a lot of pointless activity.
Energy is being expended often
for no apparent end and we
emerge with no clear sense at
all of what was behind the
rage. However, for this reason
alone this production is well
worth seeing. In certain ways it
is far more revolutionary and
new than the APA's avowedly
mod interpretation last fall.
March 28, 29
(Bonnie and Clyde)
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