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October 22, 1969 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-10-22

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Page Two


Wednesday, October 22, 1969

Poge Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Wednesday, October 22, 1969




Ne w



375 No. MAPLE PD,. 7694300
Mion. -Fri.-7 :20-9:30
Sat. & Sun.-1 :00-3:05-5:10-7:20-9:30

new season

The beginning of the theater
season in New York is turnover
time. Most of the big new pro-
ductions are in preview at this
time, which means no critics al-
lowed. Thus making opportun-
ity of necessity, I visited t w o
plays soon to close. Just about
last chance were Jules Feiffer's
Little Murders, and The Con-
cept, originally an improvised
psychodrama by ex-heroine ad-
dicts about themselves and now
become a set piece. I also went
to two plays about blacks (black
theater is way in), one an off-
Broadway opening called The
Ofay Watcher, and another that
was done last winter by the
Negro Ensemble Company and
now has a new cast, Ceremonies
in Dark Old Men.
The most interesting of these
was The Concept, mainly be-
cause none of its cast are actors
and what happens on stage has
really happened to them in life.
Although it starts out stiltedly
with a montage of little scenes
in which each performer cries
out, does something approach-
ing mime and then freezes, it
quickly becomes remarkably
honest and stays that way. It is
notable for authenticity rather
than talent.
In line with this honesty, the
stage is bare. There are no
props or set - the cast sit on
painted crates and change these
around to indicate time and
scene changes. Most of the play
consists of encounter sessions
in which each member of the
group-cast "acts out" himself
for the others. What comes out
of this is what you would ex-
pect: lives of loneliness, despar-
ation and confusion; talk of
prisons, the streets, old wounds:
but also a lot of joking and
Such as there is a plot, it is
"about" a newcomer to Daytop
Village (a live-in work con-

mune on Staten Island for the
"cure and rehabilitation" of
drug addicts) and his initiation
into the life of the place. This
initiation includes learning to
take it and dish it out, and
chiefly to drop the mask.
The philosophy at Daytop is
that each finds himself by find-
ing a mirror in others. T h u s
"coming out sideways" (evas-
iveness) or "throwing out a
bone" (superficiality) don't go
over. Nobody gets away with
anything for they all assume the
obligation to label each other's
maneuvers. There are dramatic
comings-together of separate
members of the group and also
an excellent team spirit. The
play ends with a scene in which
three of the cast, including the
initiate, are goaded by the oth-
ers to make their anguish
known so it can be felt. T h i s
takes the form of each one
screaming out with all stops
pulled the universal secret ques-
tion, Will you love me? The
result on stage is the sound of
slicer human need.
It may sound corny but it
isn't. These people have been ex-
treme in their lives, and ex-
treme with each other. They
don't go for phony honesty,
and thus social honesty becomes
automatic. At the end of the
play, they all come down ask-
ing members of the audience
the same question that they
have been shrieking at e a c h
other. And such is the mood
they have established, audience
participation seems natural and
inevitable, not an avant garde
The performers then climb
back on stage, line up their
crates and sit and talk with the
audience. When they have fin-
ished and the final applause
comes, they quite neatly stand
up and return it. The move is
courteous, but anyone who h a s
studied his Genet, his Marat-

Sade, or his play within the
play knows what it may mean.
Little Murders is a satire of
the middle class (the applaud-
ing people in the audience) and
its latent visciousness. There is
a mother, a father, a daughter
and her financee, and a son.
The little murders are the
things that they do to each
other while the big murders are
going on outside. The little mur-
ders are covert and psycholo-
gical, the big murdens are plain
as monoliths.
All the action of the play is
punctuated by threats: gun
shots, the sound of sirens, pow-
er failures, and anonymous
phone calls from someone who
just breaths across the wire.
The family, however, are too at-
tentive to their own idiocies to
notice much of this and t h e y
simply move on down their own
groove. Alan Arkin, who has
directed it, has managed to find
a style for his actors that is as
eccentric as Feiffet's best car-
toons. They all become carica-
tures simply in the way that
they stand, walk and talk.
The father roars about every-
thing, the mother never stops
smiling - as things get more
and more crazy she keeps say-
ing how much she likes having
her family together. The ram-
bunctious daughter Patsy has
found herself a man who's
tough enough for her ("the first
man I ever went to bed with
that I wasn't afraid of getting
pregnant"). The man, Alfred,
speaks in a monotone, can't feel
anything, and wears bandaids on
his face because he keeps get-
ting into street fights. They are
married by an ethical culture
minister who equivocates t h e
conventions of the ceremony
and the middle class to pieces:
"Do you promise to love (what-
ever that means), honor (dis-
honor can be honor) . . ." etc.
The son, Kenneth hardly speaks,

but cracks up laughing every
ten minutes, and his face going
in all directions has on it the
pure distilled essence of hys-
Near the end the daughter is
killed by a sniper shooting into
her living room. This the family
notices, and a scene later they
all begin taking pot shots onto
the street, cheering in unison at
a hit. The point is that b i g
murders out of little ones do
I have never thought that Feif-
fer's satire cuts as deep as it is
purported to do. This play shows
his unique ear for banal talk,
and has an amusing 1-D flat-
ness. But though it has some
very funny aspects, it still seems
to run on and on without de-
veloping any tension or ur-
gency. This plus the fact that
the caricatures are there fully
before you in the 3-D flesh -
which, if they are to work as
caricatures ,they cannot be -
makes me think that the piece
will come off better as the film
that is soon to be made of it.
It is too bad that a thing
so pure and urgent as black re-
cognition has to find its way as
an issue into mediocre dramas,
but this seems the situation
now. Probably the first p 1 a y
about blacks that was for our
time was Jean Genet's, right at
the beginning of the sixties.
There have been some g o o d
ones since then, of course, and
there is a very good one in New
York now called No Place to
be Somebody, which I liked
very much for being trenchant.
There are people of all colors
in it, and nll color psychologies,
and they -e interesting both as
people ar as color psychologies.
But color consciousness af-
fects us profoundly, and it is
unfortunate that the idea of it
has become chic among play-
wrights. I think this chicness
is all that carries The Ofay

Watcher. People are receiving
the production well, however,
which goes to show how topical-
ity can pass for art.
The story is about a white
man, Terry Kiser, who has de-
vised a chemical that will turn
blacks white (also mice and
goldfish, therefore to be heavily
used as symbols) if it is taken
every day. It is also about the
two blacks, one his girl friend,
Daisy, and one a street bum, Ru-
fus, whom he seduces in appro-
priate ways to serve as his
guinea pigs. Whitening is his
solution to the color problem,
and he is well-meaning if etho-
centric. Rufus says, why not
turn everyone black.
Anyway some rather obvious
color symbolisms and color psy-
chology develop around t h i s
fantastic new possibility: Terry
Kiser is "pure" white, his g i r 1
friend, who can hardly wait for
him to perfect his stuff so she
can use it, and whose Afro hair-
do is only a wig, is a black
whitey. Rufus, who goes along
with it until he can get revenge
for being denied as himself, is
all black.
Turns out that Rufus, whom
Terry the ofay watcher bribes
off a park bench, is the friend
of another guinea pig that had
gotten out before going white.
He is only posing as a bum so
he can retaliate for them both
-no, all. To sneak around his
true'identity, which is n e v e r
revealed, he continually does a
put-on and jovially but malic-
iously acts the stereotype by
rolling his eyes, chomping on
his food, and moving as if his
body had no joints. When Daisy
challenges him with a "who
are you", he pulls a knife.
He scorns her, of course, for
selling out on her race. T h e
playwright has tried to devel-
op something tricky and subtle
between them in the way of
sexual inuendo and color dupli-
city, but it all seems quite

shallow. At the end, what h a s
started out as a preposterous
satiric fantasy turns into melo-
drama when Rufus wreaks his
very real retaliation. Some crit-
ics have found this sea change
hard to take, as did I. But I am
bothered less by it for itself,
than as the giveaway symptom
of a play faultily put together
to exploit issues. The actors are
all quite good, especially Cleav-
on Little as Rufus.
Another piece of modishness
is the title itself of Ceremonies
in Dark Old Men, which is at-
tractive but irrelevant to t h e
play. There is only one dark old
man in question, and even tak-
en as a metaphor the word
ceremony doesn't much apply to
the rather violent divestment of
the dark old man's youth. The
play, however, is at least not
built on issues alone for it runs
a little deeper, and has a cur-
ious old-fashionedness to it that
comes partly from the character
of the dark old man.
He is Mr. Russell B. Parker
(played old-fashionedly by
Richard Ward), and he main-
tains the pretense of a barber
shop in the front room of his
Harlem flat. In truth, he and
his two sons, Theopolis and
Baby, are maintained by h i s
daughter Adele, the only one in
the family who has a job and
can face the white world. Park-
er is a has-been vaudeville
dancer, Theo a drop out who
paints, and Babby does some
light shoplifting. Crisis is pre-
cipitated when Adele refuses to
"support three grown men" and
die, as her mother had, doing it.
Theo is persuaded by a rack-
eteer named Blue Haven to brew
corn liquor and start a home
distillery. Since this means the
family joining Blue's network of
illegal enterprises, called t h e
Harlem Decolonization Associa-
tion and formed to drive out
"you-know-who," Theo has to
persuade his father. His father

has been bred up tap-dancing
and Bible reading, and doesn't
know who "you-know-who"
means. He is persuaded, h o w -
ever, and the whole family em-
barks on a crooked adventure
that takes them through pros-
perity to disaster.
The rationale for this em-
barkation is that from many
angles - social, economic, per-
sonal,,racial - they couldn't do
otherwise, and this necessity is
dramatized with fullness a n d
poignancy. However, I thought
the play too sprawling. It is
almost novelistic in its coverage
of society and of life stories-
too many life stories, too much
of what society does to too many
people. The freshest and strong-
est thing about the play is the
generation gap among blacks,
but the motiff is well-dissipat-
ed by everything else (some
kissing talent ought to zero in
on it). Carl Lee as Blue is a
formidable figure, taut with con-
strained anger, and Antonio
Fargas as Theopolus is lbng,
jaunty and sad.
Robert Clark, University of
Michigan associate professor of
music, will play a program of
works from Johann Sebastian
Bach's "Kavierubung," Part III,
at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, on
the Hill Auditorium ,organ.
The concert will be open to
the public free of charge.

Thurs.-Fri., Oct. 23 & 24
dir. JEAN VIGO (1934)
* Vigo made a film in
1933 called "Zero for
Conduct" about kids tok-
ing over their school and
if "L'ATLANTE" is as
good, then we've got 'a
hot one. "Don't believe
everything you read."'-
Ernie Banks

. . .._

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lay. Items may appear only once.
Student organization notices a r e
not accepted for publication. For
information, phone 764-9270.
Day Calendar
Anatomy Seminar: James McElhanV
Highway Safety Res. Inst., "Piezo Elec-
rcity and Bone Growth"; 4804 Med.
('fence TI, 1:00 pa..
Statistics Seminar: Prof. Michael
Woodroofe, "On the First Time Sn-
C, n"; 435 Mason Hall, 4:00 pm.
Botany Seminar: Dr. Daniel o kin,
Yale. "Computer Simulation of Tree
Growth in the Hubbard Brook Forest,
New Hampshire"; Botanical Gardens,
4:10 p.m.
Department of Speech (Student Lab
Theater) - What Happened by Ger-
trucle Stein: Arena Theater, Frieze, 4:10
Zoology Seminar: Prof. Robert K.
Josephson, Dept. of Biol., Case Western
Reserve, "High Frequency Muscles Used
in .Singing by a Katydid"; 1400 Chem..
4:10 p.m.

School of Music Lecture on B l a c k
Composers: Natalie Hinderas, Lecturer,
Temple University: Rackham Amphi-
theater, 6:00 p.m.
Computer Lecture: Brice Carnahan.
Professor of Chemical Engineering and
Biostatistics. "Running Time --- Shar-
ed Jobs in MTS": Natural Science Aud-
ito~ritin, 7:30 Il).
(on emporary Festi val:Will amAl-
1969-1970 Festival of Contemporary
Music, Oct. 22, 8:00 pm, Rackham Lee-
ture Hall; Works by Berg, Castiglioni,
Kurtz, and Stravinsky.
* v * *
CM College Repubiicans meeting,
'rhurs., Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m., 3KLMN. Un-
Black Graduates and Professional
Students Mass Meeting, Oct. 22, 1969
at 7:30 p.m., Union Assembly Hall.
lVednesday Luncheon sponsored by
the International Students Association.1
Every week, at 12:00 Noon at the M.
Pound House (corner E. Univ. & Hill,
across from East Quad).

bright, piano: Joseph Banowetz, piano :
and Angel Reyes, violin: Rackham Lec- .
ture Hall, 8:00 p.m.4
(;Yeneral Notices
Regents' Meeting: November 20 and
21. Communications for considerationE,
at this meeting must be in the Presi-
dent's hands no later than November
Student Relations Committee: Thurs-
day, October 23, 1969, 10-12 noon. SAB
Bldg., Council Room. 1. Consideration1
of the minutes of September 22 andI
October 13, 1969. 2. Use of Student Fees
for Funding. 3. Report of the COOP
Cpmnit tee.
A representative from the Indiana
University School of Law will be in the
Jr-Sr Counseling office, 1223 Angell
Hall to talk with interested students.
Please call 40312 for appointments.
Placement Service
3200 SAIl
Announcement: Foreign Service offi-
cer careers test application is due Oct.
24. Test on Dec. 6, only one given this
academic year.

As a graduation date approaches only
a few positions will be listed in this
column, some current openings for
new graduates and jobs in S.E. Mich.
Come in to browse through books of all
Branch of The University of Michi-
gan: New Careers Coordinator: r e -
quires bckrnd in community organi-
zation. supervision in research, d ev,
psych, soc etc, social organization skills,
nin. BA. Exper min. 3 years 'In admin.
with schools or human organizations,
exper with university level staffs, com-
Smunications skills, exper working with
low socio-economic levels of society.

Emonrtt.,,t1,Wolf presents
A Fhonk Perry Alsid Prod,,c'ionEA T U N O

"Go see 'Putney Swope.' A pacesetter with outrageous wit, courageous
creativity, guts and intelligence. Tells it like its never been told before."
-Judith Crist, N.B.C.
"It is funny, sophomoric, brilliant, obscene, disjointed, marvelous, unin-
tellible and relevant. If anybody tries to improve it, he should be sen-

speaking on
Refreshments and FUN!
Everyone Welcome
No musical knowledge needed.
For further information call
761-8356; 663-2827; 665-6806
From October 21st thru 23rd, Ann Arbor Resistance
is sponsoring the Ann Arbor Festival of Movement
Films . . . the largest collection of revolutionary films
ever shown in Michigan. Nearly all of the more than
35 films produced by NEWSREEL in the last two
years, and more than a score of foreign films im-
ported from fraternal organizations are being shown.
These films are being screened in thematic groups
and each group is being accompanied by a workshop.
8-12 ADMISSION $1.50
body seems to agree that there are a lot of things about America
that have to be changed. But how? Is peaceful reform "within the
system" possible and desirable, or will the American people have
to seize political and economic power to make ,it serve our needs?
The first group of films toys the documentary foundation for the
argument that liberal, institutional reform-peaceful, piece-meal
approaches to complexly inter-related SYSTEMIC contradictions
-is not merely ineffectual, but actually counter-productive to
chance in the interests of the people. The second group of films
covers national actions by women and their increasina under-
standina of their oppression as a sex, and offers the socialist
alternative of full and eual participation in society.
TROUBLEMAKER--Film of Newark Community Union Project-
year before riots.
6th STREET MEAT CLUB- Domestic Pacification programs fails
in meat coop.
COMMUNITY CONTROL-struggle in Black and Puerto Rican
communities in N.Y.
HOSPITAL--corporate medicine vs. the people.
WILMINGTON-Analysis of a company town-Dupont Cor-
porate control.
LINCOLN CENTER-Urban renewal destroys a neighborhood.
JEANETTE RANKIN BRIGADE-10,000 women lead anti-war
forget this contest!.
DAY OF PLANE HUNTERS--men care for children while women
form and shoot guns.
base of the movement is on the campuses, our greatest strength
and limitation. Narrowness of student demands and isolation of
student strugales prejudices the chances for winning even "stu-
dent-power" demands, and effectively precludes maior chances
like ending the draft and America's pivotal student strugales and
strategies, and provides a documentary basis for discussion of the
covers maior revolutionary actions by students in alliance with
working people, and examines the relation between student acti-
vists from an advanced industrial country and the struale to
build socialism in the Third World.
sets forth the socialist alternative to education in an imperialist
society, in a Third World context.


-N.Y. Times


Detroit News

Ann Arbor News

"'Putnel Swope' is a string, zinging, swinging sock-it-to-them doozey. It
is going to take off and be one of the most talked about flicks in recent
times. By all means I suggest, hell, I damn well insist you see 'Putney
Swope' and be prepared for the nuttiest, wildest, grooviest shock treat-


ment. Will leave you helpless with laughter."

-Westinghouse Radio


, '

"'Putney Swope' is attracting crowds day and night in New York that are
exceeded only by the fans of 'l Am Curious (Yellow).' But Downey's
trump card isn't sex, it's his refusal to honor the taboos that Hollywood
fastidiously obeys." -Newsweek
"It's all, as 'Mad Comics' would have it, 'humor in the jugular vein.' It
has the raucous truth of a cry from the balcony or the bleachers. There's
vigor in this vulgarity. 'Putney Swope' is a kind of 'Laugh-in' for adults."
-Richard Schnickel, Life Magazine





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