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November 22, 1964 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1964-11-22
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A NEW THEATRE by Tyrone Guthrie,
McGraw Hill Book Company, New
York. $5.00, 181 pages.
THIS BOOK BY Tyrone Guthrie
should be of special interest to Ann
Arborites, since Ann Arbor-Detroit was
one of the areas under consideration by
Guthrie and his associates when they
were searching for a home for their
new theatrical enterprise. A combina-
tion of circumstances landed the Tyrone
Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. This
book in part is the story of the con-
ception, gestation and birth of that
For many years now people have been
bemoaning the state of American pro-
fessional theatre - its commercialized
spirit; lack of audience and government
support; economic enslavement to Ac-
tor's Equity and a few big name pro-
ducers and actors; managerial fear to
experiment; ad infinitum. Add on to
the list the fact that professional the-
ater, with all its faults, concentrates it-
self almost entirely in one tiny geo-
graphic area of the country so that most
Americans have no opportunities to ex-
perience the professional stage. The only
antedotes administered in large doses in
the past have been the academic and
civic theatres.
They have been trying to do the job,
Guthrie contends, which the professional
theatre has failed to do: namely, to
offer some kind of live drama in places
and to people who would otherwise have
had none. "I applaud the attempt but I
question its wisdom." Guthrie says that
the lack of training by the actors and
producers, shoestring budgets and "mu-
tual jealousy" that exists between the
academic and professional theatres will
always prevent the academic theatre
from being the means by which lost aud-
iences are brought back into the fold.
Guthrie here is a little unconvincing-
there is more flat statement than an-
alysis of this mutual jealousy. And I am
inclined to believe that Guthrie is a
little too hard on the academic and
community theatres. There does not al-
ways exist in this breed of thespian a
loathing for the great White Way. On
the contrary, most student actors and
part-time volunteer slaves are more stage-
struck than the professionals. More im-
portant, however, theatre-going is a
habit, and community and academic the-
atre groups have been the only feasible
alternatives available to accustom people
to the live stage as an entertainment de-
vise (rather than a status symbol). I
don't quite understand why Guthrie
would dismiss all these efforts with a
scornful sniff: until we have the ideal-
a Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in every city
and town-the many pleasant evenings
produced by non-professional groups
cannot be disregarded.
But what is this obviously unique Ty-
rone Guthrie Theatre? Guthrie describes
it as a theatre with a policy. "The only
way to restore the theatre to health is,
in our opinion, to establish a policy and
gradually to collect a public which will
support it." The policy is concerned with
establishing a classical repetory company
with strong local attachments, aiming
gradually to achieve its own distinctive
style-a Minneapolis style.
Another revolutionary aspect of this
Guthrie Theatre is that "it is operated
neither in order to make a financial
profit, nor to express the private tastes
of a patron, or patrons, nor for the self-
expression of its leading artists. It is
owned by a non-profit distributing trust
and operated as a public service."
A Public Service: a peculiar way of
viewing a theatre-theatres can improve,
educate or enlighten, but serving is gen-
erally considered the perogative of a
force dedicated to work, not play. This
is where a real re-evaluation of the the-
atre by the public is necessary. What is

to be the role of the theatre and oher
playtime devices in our society? We are
constantly getting more leisure time, and
one of the biggest long-range problems
we face is what to do with it.
"The idea that entertainment should
be no more than past-time is dangerously
out of date," Guthrie says. We must be
educa'ed to play, and to play wisely he
If we, as a society, wish to reap the
most benefits from our newly found,
hard-fought-for leisure, we have to pre-
pare people to love the hours they have
free. Our American culture is based upon
the work ethic (dating from our Puritan
forefathers, the Industrial Revolution,
Horatio Alger, the American frontier,
and so on). Our cultural background leads
us to believe that going to the theatre,
like growing long fingernails, is a high
brow frill and downright undemocratic.
So what are we left with? Television and
movies aimed at the lowest common de-
nominator that purposefully will not tax
We fought the battle to free men from
working 14 hours a day because we feel
there is more to life than work. We be-
lieve that men have the right to expand
the boundaries of their spirits: that they
should have the chance to free whatever
creativity they possess and turn it to-
wards making the lives of other men
better; that men should have the chance
to live their humanness.
This is where Guthrie sees the theatre
fitting in our mechanized society.. The-
atre in its own way can provide enter-
tainment of a better caliber. The aim of
Guthrie and his associates is not to "up-
lift or to instruct, but to entertain, to
delight." But a good performance of a
great play cannot fail to instruct. And
isn't that what we truly desire in a leisure
hour activity-to be entertained, instruct-
ed and challenged all at once?
-Malinda Berry
MUNITY POWER, by Robert Presthus,
Oxford University Press, $8.50, 485
education, economic stability, a fair
degree of social mobility, a marvelously
efficient communication system and re-
lated advantages usually assumed to pro-
vide sufficient conditions for democratic
pluralism, the vast majority of citizens
remains apathetic, uninterested and in-
active in political affairs."
But everyone with eyes already knows
this - and everything else that Robert
Presthus finds out in this "study in com-
munity power."
For those who need it, the book pro-
vides close and thorough documentation
of a few simple observations:
That there is a quiet consensus on most
matters, with a belief that leaders know
best and will work, as they do, in the
community interest.
That the extent of local autonomy and
authority is being progressively restricted,
and that citizen participation in decisions
is proportional to the amount they may
be considered local.
That even on local issues, few citizens
participate in decision making.
Presthus' study used two methodologies:
the survey of reputational power and the
study (by survey-interview techniques)
of actual participation in decision mak-
ing and implementation.
But all of this is based on the method-
ology of the multiple-choice world. The
study considers only certain community-
level decisions known to have been made
and considers the degree of participation
in the yes-no choice on them.
Presthus (or others in the area) might
have chosen more fruitful attacks on the
question of power if he had attacked the
question of initiation.
He ha looked, admittedly, at the in-

itiation of certain issues: but he has not,
as he might have, examined the number of
issues never brought to the level of com-
munity discussion and the difficulties of
bringing issues to this level.
The question he asks is "how were these
five decisions (which are identified as
'major' by survey techniques) made?"
The question he does not ask is: why do
people consider these decisions "major?"
How was power employed to delineate the
areas in which decisions were to be made?
To this reviewer, at least, such studies
as Presthus' are worthless to any but
purely ivory-tower minds interested in
statistics, not facts, while consideration
of the power to initiate or innovate might
have some practical conclusions.
--Robert L. Farrell
witz, pianist. Columbia Monaural ML
5941, $4.98 (Stereo MS 6541, $5.98).
Horowitz, pianist. Columbia Mon-
aural ML 5811, $4.98 (Stereo MS
6411, $5.98).
OF THESE TWO Horowitz recordings,
one I find most pleasing and the
other surprisingly disappointing, the
moral here being that . a performer's
reputation is not a sure guarantee of his
future successes. Each performance must
be judged only in and of itself, divorc-
ing it completely from what the per-
former has already done and what he
is to do.
The album titled "Vladimir Horowitz"
is the disappointing one of the two. Bee-
thoven is played here-and I think in-
correctly-in a sterile, romantic manner.
Horowitz clearly brings out inner voice
melodies and subtle harmonic relation-
ships, a noteworthy aspect of the per-
formance, but he plays with a timidity
I do not associate with the Beethoven
On the other hand, performance of the
Debussy Preludes from Book Two ("Les
Fees sont d'exquisis danseuses," "Bruy-
eres" and "General ~Lavine") is too
heavy-handed and does not evoke the
mood of the piece as it should. I like my
Debussy Preludes played by Walter Gie-
The Chopin selections (Etude in C min-
or, Op. 10, No. 12 "Revolutionary"; Etude
in C-sharp minor, Op. 25, No. 7 ;Scherzo
No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20) lack the polish-
ed intimacy so characteristic of Chopin's
"The Sound of Horowitz" contains
repertoire spanning almost two hundred
years. Horowitz likes to program his re-
cordings with the variety of a live recital.
This is a pleasing aspect of the album.
The three rarely heard D. Scarlatti
Sonatas (Longo 430, 483, 209) are pre-
cious moments in the work of their com-
poser. The Schubert Impromptu in G-flat
major, Op. 90, No. 3, and the Schumann
Toccata, Op. 7, and Scenes of Childhod,

Op. 15, are presented, with the correct
historical perspective. The three Scriabin
pieces (Poem, Op. 32, No. 1; and the
Etudes in C-sharp minor, Op. 2, No. 1,
and in D-sharp minor, Op. 8, No. 12)
are mood pictures which require much
technical facility from the performer.
This is the better album of the two.
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 1. Erich Leins-
dorf conductinq the Boston Symphony
Orchestra. RCA Victor Stereo LSC-
2711, $5.98 (Monaural LM-2711).
TIS RECORDING of Brahms' First
Symphony by Erich Leinsdorf and the-
Boston Symphony Orchestra-"The Aris-
tocrat of Orchestras"-does not have too
much to say, musically speaking. Cer-
tainly they run through the score and
play all the notes, but that thing called
fire, or inspiration, is missing. It is one
thing to play all the notes and another
thing to make music.
Only in the fourth movement, the last,
does the orchestra begin to sound as
though it really cares about the music.
Here the spirit picks up and so does the
musical result. The first three movements
receive a ploddy, heavy-handed perfor-
mance which the thick sound does little
to improve.
-Jeffrey K. Chase
certo No. 2 in B-Flat Major; Piano
Concerto No. 4 in G Major. Julius
Katchen, pianist; Pierino Gamba con-
ducting the London Symphony Or-
chestra. LONDON Stereo CS-6374,
$5.98 (Monaural CM-9374, $4.98).
LONDON APPEARS to be starting a
new cycle of the Beethoven Piano
Concerti with Katchen and Gamba with
this recording of Nos. 2 and 4. (No. 5 has
also been released, while No. 3 came out
four years ago and was deleted two years
later; hopefully it will now be reissued,
along with No. 1.)
The Second and Fourth Concerti make
a logical coupling, inasmuch as they are
each approximately half an hour in
length and thus can be accommodated on
one record without too much trouble.
Furthermore, both offer plenty of oppor-
tunities for virtuoso display, beautiful
melodies and finales full of humor and
spirit. In short, both respond warmly to
a youthful, vigorous treatment, and that's
what Katchen and Gamba provide for
them here.
Probably the most overwhelming oppo-
sition this record must overcome is the
coupling of the same two concerti with
Leon Fleisher and George Szell on Epic.
Both pianists have the necessary elan for
these pieces, and both extract plenty of
fireworks from the cadenzas (Beethoven's
own, in both cases). Both are excellent
pianists, supported by .conductors who
bring out the beauty of Beethoven's or-
chestral score very well. The one differ-
ence is that it seems more natural with
Szell. (But listen to the way these sfor-
zando horns blare just before the pianist
offers the return of the first theme of
the Fourth-Concerto's first movement.)
The difference in sound might be the
deciding point; London's is full and rich,
but the piano tone is not as clear as
Epic's. The London Symphony must be
the noisiest orchestra around - London
Records' engineers should have edited out
the sounds of cellists- adjusting thei a-
struments, people closing doors 4
whatever else was going on in the bat.:-
Anyone interested in brisk, well-played
performances of these. two Beethoven
piano concerti on the same record will
probably find themselves deciding be-
tween Katchen and Fleisher in the long
run. I have a slight preference for Katch-
en's performance, but Fleisher's piano is
the better recorded of the two.
-Steven Haller


Vol. VI, No. 4

Sunday, November 22, 1964

Page Eight

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