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October 02, 1969 - Image 2

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday, October 2, 1969

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Thursday, October 2, 1969

theatre-
APA: Death, decay, and demons,

-poetry and prose-
Black poetry:
Spirit of the other world

By MICHAEL ALLEN
Sa "u Beckett's Play -
powerfully if starkly directed
by Jack O'Brien - has the wit
of an absurd trompe d'oeil. But
it is a theatrical trick that is
also terrifying, Ostensibly it ex-
plores a three-way relationship
betwen a man, his wife and his
mistress; but we are confront-
ed by three human heads
sticking out of the rims of
three huge urns or barrels. The
effect of the lighting, switch-
ing as it does suddenly from
one face to another, leaving the
rest of the set in total dark-
ness, is to isolate the heads
completely.
Each head tells his or her ver-
sion of th story, but each is in
a solitary limbo of his own.
Each is apparently sharing me-
mories and feelings with t h e
others, but in fact there is no
communication at all. There is
just the staccato repetition of
the same words, moving not to-
wards a resolution, but to a
break in the text; half way
through we go back to the be-
ginning of the scene and start
all over again - only the next
time the pace is hysterically
faster.
This is a modern nightmar
peopled by machines that arti-
culate what ought to be a wholly
human experiencs calling forth
wholly human responses with
the impersonal precision of a
computer. Beckett has created
a modern Lilliputia, which the
APA has made painfully effec-
tive.
However their handling of
Ghelderode's Chronicles of Hell
is even more exciting. The play
is not uniformly sustained. It
has too much unbroken narra-
tive in it, parts of which not
even the outstanding perform-
ance of Patrick Hines as the
auxiliary bishop could wholly
animate. Moreover, the symbol-
ism is both intractable and ob-
strusive. But the play has a
corrosive energy and a vivid-
ness that mounts to a marvel-
lous climax in this production.
' Directed by John Houseman,
it is dominated by the great
farting hulk of the auxiliary
bishop who rivets our atten-
tion from the moment he en-
ters. He is surrounded by a pack
of clerics who could have been
painted by Bosch or Brueghel.
They are hideous caricatures of
men, seething with a deformed
vegetable life. And their dance
round the crouching Monsig-
nor at the end both brutally re-
duces man and hymns him with
a Rabelaisian delight.
What is the play about?
Everything - bodies, God,
death, men. The plot is satur-
ated with Christian imagery;
there's hardly a detail that
doesn't have Christian under-
tones. But it is all strangely
free-floating and ambiguous.
We jump at what looks like an
obvious reference and then we
havo second thoughts. What
for instance, are we to make of
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By LARRY RUSS
I could talk about Gwendolyn
Brook's poetry as specific pieces
of literature, criticize her tech-
nique, trace her progress, try to
find her faults and talents. But
I would much rather talk about
a central problem of her poetry,
which I believe is relevant to
contemporary black poetry -
what it's about.
Her poetry has a kind of split
personality, one side dragging
her backwards, the other moving
forward. You find bad sentimen-
tality, drippy cliches, t e p i d
speech. On the other hand, there
is a real toughness, a strong
voice trying to get out of the
muck (which it is doing in her
newest poems). She really talk-
ed about this problem in talk-
ing about the goal of black
poetry today.
I think that it is a matter
of the black poets, (Miss Brooks
included) being unable to write
in the mode of a world from
which they have been shut out
so thoroughly. And they should-
n't. Black poetry is completely
different from the worst and
best of white poetry. Why should
this be surprising? You drive
people out, force them to be so
different and they are not un-
derstood, and people get scared.
Probably, the only way for a
white to dig what's happening
in black poetry is to be at a
reading with a lot of blacks in
the audience. You can't talk
about black poetry (as we are
used to it), it's so different. But
at the reading last night you
could get something of what it's
about by sensing the waves
bouncing back and forth, feeling
them touch you.
For instance, Dudley Ran-
dall's "Booker T. and W.E.B."
is a terrible poem, but you could
feel something human, alive,
moving through people, a posi-
tive spirit. You oppress people
PAUL CAMELET
MASTER TAILOR
for Men and Women
alterations and remudeler
specialties in shortening ladies
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No longer with Camelet Bros.
in business for himself
1103 S. University
above the drug store
663-4381

in their outward conditions and
they have to become greatly
concerned with those conditions.
The new black poetry is. I also
suspect that what we would call
over-alliteration and redun-
dancy are the result of the same
oppression. Physical pleasure,
personal delight are what the
oppressed have left, after being
oppressed by puritanic tyrants
Poetry series
All readings will be held in
the UGLI Multipurpose Room
at 4:10 p.m.
Galway Kinnell Oct. 7
Ted Berrigan Oct. 14
Anne Stevenson Oct. 21
Tom Gunn Oct. 28
Donald Hall Oct. 30
Student Poets Nov. 11
Bill Stafford Nov. 20

whose need to keep power then
demands the putting of their
energy into sterile manipulation.
It is a marvelous thing that
there are two worlds of poetry
becoming apparent. There could
only be one, because of the state
of the nation, if the other-the
black-was unable to make it-
self. The wide response of black
people shows it is happening. At
the reading I could feel some-
thing of what's it's about: about
self-worth, about pleasure, about
life energy moving towards free-
dom in the outer world. Whites
need to move inward more, to
revive the inner desires and
imagination; but poverty and
persecution create a greater need
to talk about the outer world.'
Since poetry has everything
to do with the genuine human
needs of people, black poetry has
to be different. The feeling at
the reading was strong that it
is moving the way it has to-
the way it should.

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OPEN 3 NIGHTS
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Tues.-Wed.-Sat. 9 to 6
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Try Daily Classifieds

'I

-Daily--Richard Lee
Chronicles of Hell': Patrick Hines and Christopher Walkins

the host stuck in the throat of
the half-dead bishop Jan in
Eremo and choking him? What
are we to make of Jan in Eremo
himself? his discovery as a
babe on the seashore; his skill
as fisherman; his long mys-
terious absenice among the sav-
ages; his his charisma;
his tutelary spirits; his mother;
his death? Again and again
their are resonances, but little
that we can articulate exactly
as a clear and meaningful par-
a le .l.
In part, this very ambiguity of
the details concerning the dy-
ing bis hop accounts for t h e
play's suggestiveness. We are
compelled to susptind judgement
and to hear all thv points or
view, But beneath this subtle
play of correspondencies t h a t
teases the intelligence and ir-
ritates the memory, there is thI
raw stench of bodies. T h e
clergy, who would normally em-
body the spiritual drag us
through the mire and make us
wallow in it. In front of the
corpse they all hated when it
WABX PRESENTS_

was alive, they break wind and
crap.
Obviously Jan in Eremo had
some sort of primitive chthonic
vision of God that was obses-
sively real and inspired the
crowd and that was deeper than
either heresy or orthodoxy. To
exorcize this primitive sense of
the holy the priests become ani-
mals. They try to exorcise the
spirit of a saint or demon or
trickster, who had dominated
them by some sort of vision, by
reducing him and themselves to
the earth-bound and the vis-
ionless. Like masks in a Flem-
ish carnival they mock at things

they inwardly fear, above all
at death.
Ghelderode leaves us sus-
pended midway between the
fundamental contradictions in
human nature. When we think
back to the Beckett play it is
reduced in stature next to this
ferocious grappling with the hu-
man condition. Beckett has
given in to pessimism. Ghelder-
ode continues to rage at man,
in man, with man without sur-
rendering any of the possibili-
ties. We are lucky to have the
APA tackling both plays with
care and energy and imagina-
tion.

IHA PRESENTS
Sainhte
Ijiadie

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What keeps dynamic young
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at Ford Motor Company?

|I

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NOT ADMITTED
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TONIGHT!

"They tell us to do it...not how to do it!"

I

SEPTEMBER 30-OCTOBER 12
flmflc u[reie

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TONIGHT
I A m b.......

Directed by
John Houseman
plus "PLAY" by
Samuel Beckett

r _ +q .{
"X'
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l§Vhldt

"The real world is out here," says
Jeffrey Quick, Product Design
Engineer in our High Perform-
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aren't academic problems... not
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"My job is to make Jeff's de-
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Manufacturing Enginoernt the

ate engineers. His day might in-
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gineering degree to good use, see
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pany, American Road, Dearborn,
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tunity employer.

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