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September 18, 1969 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-09-18

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday, September 18, 1969

THE MICHIGAN DAILY fhursday, September 1 8, 1 969
U

U

-theatre

'Macbeth':

Turning a diamond

to rhinestone

By MICHAEL ALLEN
There are some fine moments
in the APA's production of
Macbeth, for instance when
Macbeth stumbles down the
stairway with the daggers in his
hand crimson against the im-
mense white puffs of his sleeves.
But these are rare moments
when the producer has allowed
the play's dramatic energy to
work of its own accord. Too
often he relies on an off-the-
cuff interpretation of a scene
without any sense of the play's
intense unity.
Ellis Rabb, in fact, does not
convince us that he has an ap-
proach to the play as a whole
or that he has any real con-
cern with the ideas that domi-
nate and structure it: the ideas
of evil and guilt and vengeance
and atonement and irony and
equivocation. He has concen-
trated on producing individual
effects that are usually disjunc-
tive, often gimmicky, and some-
times become nothing more
than absolutely utnwarrantable
fooling with the text itself.
Why for instance does he do
away with Banquo's murderers
altogether, anq make Macbeth
enact the murder of Banquo
himself? First of all he has to
pinch lines from the subsequent
scene to do it. Then it complete-
ly undermines the force of
Banquo's apparition at the ban-
quet. It doesn't give us any
extra insight into Macbeth's
psychological degeneration, and
it robs us of the scene with the
murderers at the side-door of

the banquet hall which does
Most important of all it dimin-
ishes the sense of the univer-
sality and the omnipresence of
evil in Scotland. The same ap-
plies for what Rabb has done
to the witches. He has made a
point of emphasizing the fact
that the witches are the same
people as, not just the same
actors as, Angus and Seyton
and Lady Macbeth's maid and
the doctor and even the bawdy
porter. This is all gimmicky. It
does not deepen the ironic ten-
sions or the awesome sense ,of
pun and double meaning. These
are already sufficiently omni-
present in every line, that they
do not require willful distortion
to point them up.
In fact, Rabb's meddling
cheapens many of the most
wonderful effects. The sense
of universal sin gripping the
whole land and manifesting it-
self in witches and murderers
and unnatural acts of hawk and
horse; in the cry of an owl: in
apparitions and nightmares and
in terrible sleeplessness; in the
hearts of the two protagonists;
in evil that spreads iself insid-
iously into the very fabric of
creation. This is all reduced by
this production into a small cab-
ined world where three actors
are trying to symbolize universal
evil.
What is wrong is the lack of
any real attempt to confront
the problem of evil as a whole.
We are not being made to think
about it or its attendant themes.
We are not being made to think
much at all, merely to respond
to transient verbal excitement

full of sound and fury signify-
ing very little. The ending is a
case in point. We are presented
with an anti-traditional anti-
ending in which Macbeth just
gives up without a fight, which
makes nonsense of his one con-
stant virtue, his bravery -the
virtue that has kept us identi-
fied imaginatively with him for
so long.
Elsewhere scenes and speech-
es have been telescoped for no
reason if one has to cut the
play to save time for a coffee
break, then why not cut that
terious early half of the scene
in England where Macduff and
Malcolm test each other?1. All
this adds up to a non-interpre-
tation of the play and a deli-
berate side-stepping of the cen-
tral issues.
This is sweeping and possibly
ungrateful I know. Perhaps the
fault is not just the producer's.
Perhaps the whole imaginative
world of Macbeth with its mys-
tical, even Christian, concern
with kingship and order and
degree and the terrible penalty
that those who violate the order
must endure, is too far away
from us. However, whereas
Hamlet can survive a tentative
and or muddled modern ap-
proach and even thrive, as we
saw last Spring, on undirected
energy, Macbeth cannot. Its
very being is its emotional in-
tensity and its intellectual clar-
ity. Remove the intensity by
isolation scene from scene and
treating each as a separated
unit, remove the clarity by re-
fusing to confront the problem
of supernatural evil and human

guilt and you disperse the cen-
tripetal energies of the play.
This cannot even be redeemed
by good acting.
Last night had some g 0 o d
acting to boot. Macbeth (Rich-
ard Easton) was often compel-
ling. Crouching in his borrowed
robes, his mind full of scorpions,
he gave us of his best in the
later scenes especially, where
despair and fury have replaced
soliloquizing and indecision.
Lady Macbeth Sada Thomp-
son) was also good in the later
scenes and her screaming dis-
missal of the guests after the
banquet was particularly effec-
tive. But they worked best in
isolation. One got little sense of
a demonic ambition joining
them together as man and wife.
And this once again was pri-
marily the producer's fault.
join
The Daily

VERBAL
INT UCOUBSE
Talk with us at the
CREATIVE ARTS FESTIVAL
Office if you are interested in a
position as chairman of:

LITERATURE-JOURNALISM
DRAMA---CINEMA
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
COORDINATING ART
PUBLIC RELATIONS
PUBLICITY
TREASURER
SECRETARY
MUSIC
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USHERS

2nd Floor Union
CAF Office for
info sheet

Interviews
Sept. 23, 24,

25

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TONIGHT at 8:00

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LOW-KEY DEBA TE:
Tlire-wav discussion Irifngs
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Sept. 16-Sept. 28, 1969

SHOWS AT
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By Al. SHACiLLORID
The heated controversy over
he Reserve Officer Training Pro-
ram was discussed in an un-
characteristically subdued man-
tier Tuesday night in South Quad-
rangle's West Lounge.
Participants in the low-key de-
bate were Student Government
Council Vice President Marc van
der Hout, ROTC instructor Maj.
William Morgan, and history Prof.
Gerhard Weinberg.
Much of the debate before about
70 onlookers revolved around the
legitimacy of the anti-ROTC
movement as a ineans for demon-
strating opposition to the current
direction of American foreign
policy,.
Weinberg called ROTC a "poor
target" for protest. "Removal of
ROTC from all college campuses
would increase segregation of the
military from the civilian segment
of the country." he said.
"It is particularly important
that. we do not let our feelings
about current issues convince us
to make institutional changes'

wnich in fact will do nothing
about those issues," Weinberg ex-,
plained.
The main conflict of the eve-'
ning came in a series of exchanges
between van der Hout, Maj. Mor-
gan, and several members of the
audience.
"ROTC should not be on cam-
pus and should not exist at all,"
declared van der Hout. He called
the anti-ROTC movement a "sym-
bolic stab at the military," and,
said it is "time for citizens to
speak out agaist the imperialist
policy of the U.S. government.'
Maj. Morgan responded that "It
the military is a part of American
liie, it should be a Dart of the uni-
versity. and so ROTC is justified."
He cited University classes in vo-
cational training and physical ed-
teition as courses which are not
purely academic but still have a
place on campus.
One student. who claimed to
have taken one year of ROTC,
confronted Major Morgan by say-
ing "I saw a film in an ROTC

course which encourages people to
kill."
Morgan admitted that this
"might be true" and that "there
have been serious deficiencies in
the ROTC program." But he added
that such films are "only isolated
instances of what occurs in a
ROTC class."
"War is too important to be left
to the military," Morgan said, "and
anything other than civilian con-
trol over the military is incon-
ceivable."

"SUSPENSE & REALISM"
N.Y. Post
"COOL & EFFECTIVE"
-_N.Y. Dailv News

"The Eeriest Ibweth
Of the Centugry!"
L. A. TirresĀ¢
SHAKESPEARE'S
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D

RICHARD
EASTON

"BOLDNESS,

SOCIAL CONCERN"
--Saturday Review

SADA
THOMPSON

Directed by Ellis Rabb

SEPTEMBER 18, 19
Queen
Christina
Dir. ROUBEN MAMOULIN
(1933)
THE GREATEST FACE ON
THE SILVER SCREEN
GRETA GARBO

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Featuring
ALL CAPP - Sunday, Sept. 23 - Raucous, outspoken creator of
Lil Abner. Headstrong critic of leftist student movement.
CHARLES EVERS - Sunday, Oct. 19 - Dynamic mayor of Fay-
ette, Miss. First black mayor in Miss. since Reconstruction,
Evers recently faced an alleged KKK assassination plot.

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Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19-20
at the GRANDE BALLROOM

WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, Jr. - Editor of National Review,
Buckley is a major spokesman for the conservative cause.
A i FI DA D A IC A T UIIi1 AIInITADIllM ) -1 DU

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