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December 05, 1969 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-12-05

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday, December 5, 1969

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Friday, December 5, 1969

theatre

Lord

Chamberlain's Players entertain again

PRESENTING .. .
Dr. Wilbur Sutherland
Director-I UCF of Canada
on
"AFTER T HE WEST, W HA NET

T

By ELLIOTT M. SIMON
Once again the Lord Cham-
berlairn's Players have provided
an appreciative audience with a
mildly experimental evening of
interesting theatre. Under the
direction of Bert Hornback and
Betsey Smith, Mr. Hornback's
A Game of Chess and Charles
Marowitz's MacBeth present to
us two historical plays in col-
lage.
Mr. Hornback attempts to
create a collage out of the his-
tories of Henry II and Thomas
Beckett and Henry VIII and
Thomas More. Within the over-
riding metaphor of a chess
match, the great and perhaps
eternal struggles, as implied by
the authors of church and state,
divine and temporal power,
Roman and English law, and the
titanic personalities of two
strong-willed men, are played
out by Henry and Thomas as a
game.
The audience is invited to
puzzle out the significance of
these stories fused in time. Each
character articulates his posi-
tion well, and their dialectic
debate comprehensively analyz-
es the psychological motivation
behind each position. Henry's
final "checkmate" would seem
to indicate once again that
temporal power through vio-
lence is the ultimate resolution
to the spiritual and civil prob-
lems of life. If the lessons of
times past are true in the auth-
or's vision of their repetition,
then our Henrys and Thomases
will play their bloody chess
match immemorium.
Similar to other contemporary
dramatists, Mr. Marowitz, in
his collage, attempts to experi-
mnent with Shakespeare. Unlike
those who feel modernity is
achieved by the superficial
changing of costumes, or those
who play "the Bard' in new cul-
tural contexts to bleat rele-
vance, he attempts to find new
patterns in MacBeth which can
visually and immediately 11-
lustrate the psychology behind
MacBeth's moral decline. Sim-
ilar to his eighteenth century
counterparts Nathaniel Lee and

David Garrick, Marowitz, less
skillfully, reorders Shakespeare's
speeches and scenes. Although
he maintains the integrity of the
story and attempts to keep the
poetic d i c t i o n consistant,
through repetition, condensa-
tion, and flashback, he attempts
to re-make the original play ac-
cording to his own muse.
It is difficult for this review-
er to see what"newness" Maro-
witz has instilled in old Mac-
Beth worth the effort of pro-
duction, except perhaps novel-
ty. Clearly he has achieved a
visual spectacle with the popu-
lar mixing of films with stage
drama; his use of the witches is
most interesting, owing its suc-
cess to fine direction and act-
ing more than authoral influ-
ences; and his adaptation of
the poetry is clever if not a bit
awkward. Still the audience must
answer the question, so what.
Still we must salute each
author for his offering. In their
collages, despite the labels of
"experience is as to intensity,
not as to duration" and "thea-
trical discontinuity," each play
raises provocative issues for
modern theatre. Regardless of
his dramatic and structural
- ---- - -___

weaknesses, Mr. Hornback has
attempted to thematically anal-
yze the "divided self" of his
characters. As if split into a
prism Henry, King, England,
lover and friend attempts to
reconcile himself with Thomas,
archbishop, priest, subject, and
friend through the symbolic
chess match. Mr. Marowitz in-
tensifies MacBeth's experience,
not through emotional melo-
dramatics, but through the jux-
taposition of that experience,
real and fantasy, as perceived
by the audience.
It would be unfair to criticize
the amateur acting in b o th
plays. Here the sincerity of in-
tention must outweigh the rigid-
ity and lack of annimation of
the productions. Special recog-
nition must be paid, however, to
Winnie Beasley's Lady MacBeth,
and to Larry Glover's MacBeth
for many moments of very ef-
fective and creative perform-
ance; and to both directors for
their efforts to bring new kinds
of theatre to the University. It
is very important that the Lord
Chamberlain's Players continue
to provide us with such experi-
ments, and doubly so that we as
an audience support them.

FRIDAY, DEC. 5
7:30 P.M.
UGLI Multipurpose Room

sponsored by:
Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship
Phone :665-5485

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