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January 14, 1962 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1962-01-14
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Students Afoot


P ediew6 Mtai /esiewd



1961 Theatre Guild show was sold out in. Madrid- Conductor Leonard Bernstein and Prof. Schnitzer
Lawrence Langner and Prof. Schnitzer note signs confer with Russians during 1958 world tour
Seek Theatre for Sudet ommkunity

universities have been feeling the
pressure for more science, mathematics
and engineering, and the arts in many
instances have been neglected to a posi-
tion of secondary importance. Fortunately,
administrators with more comprehensive
vision realize that the arts and sciences
are complementary, and an over-emphasis
in either direction is unsound education.
The University took a leading role in
the growing movement to encourage the
performing arts among American univer-
sities last September when the Regents
appointed Robert C. Schnitzer to the
newly-created post of executive director
of University theatre. His immediate goal
is to establish a professional theatre pro-
gram under University aegis in Ann
* * *
T01 LAUNCH this program, the Univer-
sity sought a leader with an outstand-
ing reputation in the professional theatre,
especially in its administrative phases.
The job required a man of vision who had
proven his ability to develop challenging
programs, and more important, to keep
them successfully growing..
In selecting Prof. Schnitzer, University
officials believe they have appointed a
man with the rare but ideal combination
of service to both the academic and pro-
fessional theatre. He has been a member
of the drama faculties of Smith and Vas-
sar Colleges and Columbia University. In
addition, he has been general manager for
Broadway producers Cheryl Crawford,
Guthrie McClintic and Gilbert Miller, and
has attained an international reputation
as administrator of this country's per-
forming arts cultural exchange program
ever since its inception.
Prof. Schnitzer first entered the inter-
national field as general manager of the
American company which presented
"Hamlet" at the Denmark Festival in
Elsinor in 1949. He managed the first tour
of an American ballet company when
Ballet Theatre toured Europe in 1950; he.

administered the American attractions at
the Berlin Festivals in 1951 through 1953;
and he took the American production of
"Four Saints in Three Acts" to the Con-
gress for Cultural Freedom in Paris in
In 1954, the government recognized the
growing force and power of such cultural
exchanges, and through the Department
of State organized the President's Pro-
gram for International Cultural Presen-
tations. Supervision of the program was
turned over to the American National
Theatre and Academy, and Prof. Schnit-
zer was asked to administer the project as
general manager.
In the seven years under his leadership,
the cultural exchange program has sent
135 leading American performing attrac-
tions, employing 3,500 top artists, to 102
nations. The presentations have included
symphonies, jazz bands, soloists, choirs,
ballet, modern dance, musical comedy and
drama. They have presented nearly every
fine artist from Leonard Bernstein to
Rudolf Serkin, from Dave Brubeck to
Jose Limon, and from Isaac Stern to
Yehudi Menuhin.
In 1961 Prof. Schnitzer transferred to
the Theatre Guild as general manager for
producer Lawrence Langner, to assemble
an American repertory company for a
pioneering effort at exporting a repertoire
of leading stars in representative dramaticA
works by contemporary writers.
The American Repertory Company,
boasting such performers as Helen Hayes,
June Havoc and Leif Erickson, toured
Europe and the Near East under Prof.
Schnitzer's general management, playing
to brilliant reviews. It performed in all
principal cities and appeared before most
of the heads of states and great artists of
the world theatre community. In addition,
the group gave generously of its time to
special student performances and meet-
ings with student groups.
Prof. Schnitzer then worked with Lang-
ner to launch the company on a Latin
American tour which ended in November.
He flew to Ann Arbor in September to
begin planning the forthcoming profes-
sional season...
ONE OF THE principal problems Prof.-
Schnitzer must face here is that of the
traditional conception of the professional
theatre. Most Americans are suffering

from an old and fallacious idea that the
theater can exist in New York and New
York alone. The number of fine symphony
orchestras, opera and ballet companies
and renowned art museums in other cities
of the United States belie the theory that
the arts can flourish only in one city.
New York will probably always remain
the capital of the theatre in this country,
but a look at the current situation, com-
pared with theatrical activity at its peak
in 1927-28, reveals two very important
and frightening facts. First of all, the
actual number of theatres in the city of
New York has decreased from 80 in 1927
to 30 or 31 in 1961. Certainly no one in
the professional theatre believes that the
theatre in New York will become extinct
in the next 20 or 30 years, but still there
is cause for alarm. The outlook for tour-
ing attractions is not much better. In the
late 1920's there were hundreds of pro-
fessional companies on the road. Today,
people living outside the New York area
are fortunate if they see 10 or 12 profes-
sional productions in any given season.
It is obvious, then, that the theatre can
survive only if our geographical concep-
tions are altered. Resident professional
seasons have proven their value in Wash-
ington, D.C., Dallas, San Francisco ,and
Houston: These organizations are not
founded on the New York "star" system,
where the play istailored to fit an actor
or actress with little or no regard -'or
fidelity to the script or for the caliber-of
the supporting company. For the most
part, they have selected their programs
in order that their patrons may have a
chance to see the best in dramatic litera-
ture. It is an ensemble system, rather than
a star - supporting cast system, which
proves its merit in the unity and cohesive-
ness of production.
* * *.
carrying on the tradition-of fine thea-
tre at thousands of schools. They have
realized their cultural obligations to both
the student body and the community as a
whole. Civic and community theatres also
fulfill an important function in keeping
the theatre alive, but their aims and
methods are necessarily somewhat differ-
ent from those of the university groups._
With two different approaches to theatre
in many of our cities, why is there still a
need for the professional theatre? What
can it add to , community's culture?

The word "professional" answers some
of these questions. Professional theatre
personnel are people whose business is the
theatre, are paid for their work, and
consequently are able to devote full time
to the business of producing plays.
Granted, many university productions are
highly competent as are many community
theatre efforts, but for most of the people
involved it is an avocation which must
come second to academic or business pur-
suits. Secondly, a professional theatre
brings new ideas, new methods and new
points of view to a community which is
deeply interested in the performing arts.
The professional theatre is not in com-
petition with already existing producing
groups, any more than a concert series
provides competition for university bands
and orchestras. A professional theatre
program can also be a strong force in the
artistic development of students inter-
ested in theatre and drama. Through re-
hearsal demonstrations, lectures and (in
highly qualified cases) participation, stu-
dents' training is amplified and expanded.
in addition to the benefits to the indi-
vidual community, there is another im-
portant consideration. The commercial
theatre is now in a hit-or-miss state. If
a commercial production is favorably
reviewed, it is a hit; if not, there is a
large financial loss to be borne. Thus more
and more accent is being placed on musi-
cal comedies which regularly bring in
huge financial returns, and the number of
musicals produced yearly is growing out
of all proportion to that of serious drama.
But in a professional program at a uni-
versity, the classics and important con--_
temporary works can comprise a large
portion of the season's program.
Also possible under the sponsorship of_
a university is an exchange of companies.
This exchange may in time develop a pro-
fessional theat're circuit among colleges
and universities, and, incidentally, con-
tribute to the growth of a truly national
theatre movement.
The University is aware of all these
considerations, and for the past two years
has been giving serious consideration to
establishing a professional theatre pro-
gram which could accomplish its goals,
By persuading Prof. Schnitzer to under-
take the leadership of this program, it
hopes to make a significant pioneering
contribution to the growing theatre move-
ment in America.

"String Too Short To Be Saved," by
Donald Hall. New York: The Viking
Press. 1961. 143 pp. $5.
DONALD HALL'S "String Too Short To
Be Saved" may be read in two rather
different-ways, as reminiscence and as
prose elegy. The second way criticizes the
first and leaves a question, finally, as to
the intended significance. It is remin-
scence in a double sense: recollections of
the author's boyhood summers in New
Hampshire and reminiscence of his
grandfather's remembrances of an older
past, the shortest and most precious of
the strings of memory saved. But these
sketches, which at first appear fragmen-
tary and lacking sequence, become more
meditative and lyric, sounding themat-
ically a note of grief and of grievance..
The dissonances increase and are not
resolved as they would be In classic ele-
gies by any note, however muted, of re-
assurance or new purpose. At the end the
pastures of boyhood and of New England
are reverting to forest. "I saw that I stood
nowhere at all."
As reminiscences of reminiscences the
book is a series of episodes and vignettes
almost immaculately phrased, the imag-
ery and diction unobtrusively equal to
the requirements of characterization,
emotion and scene. Examples of such
felicity are hard to detach, the varied
style is so even, but a passage describing
the boy and his grandfather picking blue-
berries on a mountain-top will do:
"In the whole morning I only fill-
ed my pail twice, while his pail emp-
tied itself five times into our storage
bins -on the flat rock. My hands felt
twisted, out of shape and nervous
with their continual darting. My back
felt welded in a leaning curve. Worst
of all, my throat parched with the
thirst, and parched more and more as
the sun rose in the sky and the sweat
dried on my body. A hundred times I
almost complained, or almost rose to
have a drink of the water without
saying anything, but each time the
sight of my grandfather - picking
steadily and humming to himself,
and seventy-two years old-shamed
me into silence."
In such passages-and there are many
-the physical feel, the sense of place,
time, relationship and the contrasting
moods are played together in a deeply
satisfactory way. And without ostensibly
violating the perspective of the boy nar~-
rator, Hall can also comment out of hard
yet compassionate insight, as he does
upon the lifelong monologue of a mem-
orably portrayed eccentric, a master of
forgotten crafts, a decadent individual-
"He worked hard all his life at be-
ing himself, but there were no prin-
ciples to examine when his life was
over. It was as if there had been a
moral skeleton which had lacked the
flesh of the intellect and the blood of
. experience. The life which he could
recall totally was not worth recall-
If indeed there is a fault in Hall's
evocations, it is that he can permit noth-
ing short of perfect justice in phrase and
feeling. When that justice occasionally
comes short, the very slightly ill-tuned
phrase obtrudes, as in the elegiac con-
clusion to the sketch Just cited:
the best built hayracks rot
under rotting sheds; in New Hamp-
shire the frost tumbles the cleverest
wall; those who knew him best are
dead or dying, and his gestures have-
assumed the final waste of irrelev-
It is hard, from a brief quotation, to
say just what is slightly wrong here-a
little too much cadence, too elegant and

too easy an allusion?-perhaps only the
the-gilding of a truth into a truism. It
happens seldom, but in a writer of Hall's
scrupulous conscience, it must be noted.
It tinges the final sentence f the book.
In the last two chapters ("Late Sum-
mers" and "Out of the Garden") remin-
iscence gives way to more reflective yet
more hurried autobiography. The trans-
parent but almost impenetrable wall that
shuts anyone off, at least until old age,
from the worlds of childhood forms be-
tween the author and his New England
summers. The grandfather's death coin-
cides with the final hardening of the
wall and the narrator's awareness of
"exile." "On the farm," he reasons, "I-
felt myself protected by the old in a gal-
lery of the dead. They sang that I was
their own, and by answering them with
elegies for the rural past I evaded the
real taste of my discontent." In the light,
or the darkening, of these last chapters
the entire book may be read again, as an
elegy for a real and a symbolic figure,
as a pastoral at once idealizing and criti-
If there is some doubt and difficulty
about the meaning of the concluding
chapters it springs from their being live-
lier, and less "well-written," than the
others. Between the "living anarchy" of
the suburbs and "the nostalgic order of
the farm" some more important life was
being lived, one senses, for which the
sociology of pastoral summers is an In-
adequate idealization. It may be that boy-
hood reminiscence and grandfatherly
story-telling are not sufficiently flexible
and comprehensive narrative modes for
capturing a varied and valuable experi-
ence. Was not more life lived by the boy
and by his grandfather than these short
pieces of string can tie together?
The book ends by evoking the return
of the forest animals not only to the
emptying farmlands of New Hampshire
but to some more devastated place ("the
gas' tanks turned rust-red among the
litter of fallen motels"). It is like the red-
skin's dream of retaliation upon the
settlers, a boy's vision of revenge. The
feelings thus objectified are natural, in-
deed inevitable. To make-us feel so is the
virtue of this book.
--Arthur Carr
Department of English
"The Brave New World of the En-
lightenment," by Louis I. Bredvold.
Ann Arbor: The University of Michi-
gan Press. 1961. 164 pp. $3.95.
AT THE END of the 18th century, Wil-
lian Godwin proclaimed- that man
would eventually become entirely happy
and probably immortal: "There will be no
war, no crimes, no administration of jus-
tice . . . and no government. Besides this,
there will be neither disease, anguish
melancholy nor resentment. Every man
will seek with ineffable ardor the good of
all." In his latest book, "The Brave New
World of the Enlightenment," Prof. Louis
I. Bredvold traces the origins and progress
of the idea that man might discover his
natural virtues, throw off the shackles of
law and custom and live happily ever
after in utopia.
And the road to utopia seemed clear
to those writers who believed that man
was naturally good, that it was only insti-
tutions like marriage or government that
were evil, and that man might achieve
a scientific morality by the use of his rea'
son. Writers like Shaftesbury, Diderot
and Rousseau resolved their contradic-
tions by a species of self-deception, ad-
vising an emulation of the virtues of the
noble savage in spite of their awareness
that the newly discovered societies ini
Africa, America and the Pacific were no
closer to utopia than their own. Condorcet
could proclaim a new heaven on earth at
the same time that he was hiding from
the police of Robespierre who were soon
to send him to the guillotine.

Although Prof. Bredvold moves easily
among the Cambridge Platonists, the-
French Philosophes, Grotius, Leibnitz and
Herder, his book is much more than a
profound and witty history of 18th cen-
tury ideas. It is also a wise comment on
the ideas of our own century, for, as he
points out, the search for a utopia free
from the restraints of law and based on a
scientific morality is still the creed of the
modern social reformer.
Like the skeptical Tory satirists about
whom he has written so well, Prof. Bred-
vold regards man as a reasoning (not a
reasonable) animal, who tends to think
too well of himself and of his capacities.
It is not surprising therefore to find that
Edmund Burke is selected as the ideal
champion to do battle against the proph-
ets of the Brave New World. Burke is seen
as a practical man with a belief in the
traditions of society and, most important
of all, a belief in the natural law of Ci-
cero and Grotius, a faith in man's duties
and obligations to society and a concept
of J"jstice which finds its ultimate ori-
gins in the commands of God.
"Man," writes Prof. Bredvold, "is in-
curably moral, incurably metaphysical,
incurably religious." He should accept his
highest achievements as his best and
most natural product-Bach rather than
the primitive ballad. He should return to
the sense of good and evil which is in-
herent in the traditions of his religious,
artistic and political life, relying on his
conscience and the law of nature.
One might be tempted to ask if this
does not bring us back to the beginning.
If the law of nature is grounded in our
conscience and reason, does this not free
us to search -for our ideal solution? But
like Burke,' Prof. Bredvold argues that
man has a debt to the past and to tra-
dition, that he is wiser when he realizes
his limitations and strives after justice
rather than utopia.
-Maximillian E. Novak
Departinent of English

unable to cope
sound sources,
plicate matters I
atingly syncopa'
found in the s
only emphasize:
mota's-singing a
difficulty in fin
ter is poorly ma
gether, and alti
respectable job
tor's intentions,
consistent. Bot
of sonic mud in
Beethoven's N
record" at $1.98
for those who
music, the rec
available on on
Toscanini, Furt
will be much be
(Stereo) $5.:
chaser of the
No. 2 is: How m'
this seems rath
about the vario'
which vary wid
ploy. There seen
records:. the She
sion and A Cor
what almost eve:
is accounted for
one CV is on di
The Steinberg
sion, was made
film instead of
Everest several
technical respec
though close-mi
made the orchi
tubby sounding
choirs (notably
are featured at I
Steinberg's is a
and there are mr
the broad melod
suasive under l
climaxes are on
very end of the
fuzzed on the re
extreme latitude
Prokofiev: C:
March and S
For Three Or
inskaya Fant
Czar - Over1
Steppes of Ce
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sermet, cond
(Mono), CS 6
works of Russi
writer finds ver
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least from this
then it is rat]
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represented in t
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phony" and "L
die without ever
in one of the he
ever received; B
of Central Asia
suggestive qualit
formance on Vi
and even Glink
overture loses t
kevitch perform
the Karaminsk;
only two compet
worth the price

Beethoven:,Symphony No. 9, "Choral"
-Hilde Gueden (s), Sieglinde Wagner
(a), Anton Dermota (t), Ludwig
Weber (b), Der Singverein der Ge-
sellschaft der Musikfreunde, Wien,
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,
Erich Kleiber, cond. R i c h m o n d
B19083, $1.98..
ATER HEARING Kleiber's magnifi-.
cent recordings of Beethoven's Fifth
and Sixth Symphonies with the Concert-
gebouw Orchestra on London (CM1980,
1981), one is disappointed with the over-
all lack of quality in this production.
Here all proceeds fairly well through the
first three movements-if one can ignore
some ragged edges and the fact that the
Adagio is all but stopped in mid-note-
for the changing of sides-but the effect
is completely destroyed by the finale. The
antiquated recording, with its shrill highs,
muddy lows and loud hiss level, is simply

RICHARD BURKE is a teaching
ellow in the speech department and
oordinator of Laboratory Playbill"


- I

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