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January 10, 1960 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1960-01-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

~jjg Aid ehan ~a
Seventieth Year

hen Opinion-s Are Free
Truth Will Prevail'"

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

ODAY, JANUARY 10, 1960


Pro ected Theatre
Worth the Gamble

PROBABLY the most exciting aspect of the-
atre in Ann Arbor right now is the prospect
of a new professional theatre coming to town.
New Yorkers Oliver Rea, Tyrone Guthrie, and
Peter Zeisler approached Ann Arbor's Dramatic
Art Center last fall about the possibility. Since
then Ann Arbor has been competing with sev-
eral large and well-known cities for the the-
atre's location.
The proposed theatre is to be established
along the lines of the Shakespearean Festival
Theatre in Stratford, Ontario. When this the-
atre was established nine years ago in the
small out of the way town, most people pre-
dicted an immediate flop. But Tyrone Guth-
rie directed for the first several seasons; and
he is largely responsible for the theatre's sur-
prising and immediate success.
HY IS HE thinking about Ann Arbor as a
possible setting for another professional
theatre, along with the larger, though no more
colorful cities of Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and.
Firstly he is seeking a location that is near
populated areas. All four locations can pro-
vide this. But he is also interested in a city
small enough so that the theatre can become
identified with it, just as the Shakespearean
Festival Theatre has become identified with
Stratford, Ontario. Only Ann Arbor is small
enough to make this possible.
Githrie, Rea, and Zeisler expect to announce
their decision on the theatre's location on Feb-
ruary 15. Their considerations must depend to
a considerable degree on pragmatic money
matters. An initial sum of one and a half mil-
lion dollars must be provided by the commu-
nity of its location for building a theatre build-
The other, competing cities have already
shown evidence of financial support; but Ann
Arbor began showing official interest in the
project as late as December, when the Chamber
of Commerce pledged to cooperate in attempt-
ing to obtain the New Yorker's decision.
BUT SINCE then Ann Arbor has made an ef-
fort to catch up with the others. The City
Council and the City Planning Commission
have recently announced their support of the

project, and the University has expressed en-
thusiasm as well.
As popular as the topic of whether or not
the theatre will locate here has been the ques-
tion of how such a large professional theatre
will fare in Ann Arbor.
That it would be a tremendous cultural as-
set to the community goes without saying. A
large professional theatre in Ann Arbor would
be an asset to the University as well, for it
would be attractive to faculty members.
IT WOULD give aspiring student actors the
opportunity to observe and occasionally work
with competent professionals. Columbia and
Northwestern have two of the finest speech
departments in the country, and both univer-
sities are near meccas of professional theatre.
Columbia is within subway distance of Broad-
way (to say nothing of the numerous off-
Broadway productions also in Manhattan),
and Northwestern is less than an hour away
from Chicago. Our nearest professional the-
atre, however - r only one is open the year
around - is in Detroit.
The new project would give this entire re-
gion the opportunity to see artistic, perceptive
drama, directed by Guthrie - a boon to any
BUT IN ORDER to survive, the theatre would
have to seat on the average of 1,200 a'day
for its entire 20 week season. Thus the theatre
would be dependent not only on Ann Arbor
residents and University students for its audi-
ence, but on Detroit and its surrounding com-
munities as well. But Detroit is reputedly not
a theatre-going town.
The only possible answer to this criticism is
that Guthrie saw the audiences pour into the
little town of Stratford from all parts of
theatre-barren Canada. So perhaps supposed
lack of theatre interest does not appear so
discouraging to him.
But the fate of a large professional theatre
here remains a question mark. Its future could
be the best of times or the worst of times. It
could rise to the triumphant level of Stratford,
Ontario - it could go direct the other way. In
short, it is a gamble-as worthwhile endeavors
usually are.

Play Series
.basic Aim
Daily Staf Writer
done entirely by students. The
faculty comes in only when needed
and asked for," declared Albert
Katz, coordinator of The Labora-
tory Bill.
"The Lab Playbill provides a
training ground for actors, direc-
tors, designers, lighting techni-
cians, and includes all facets of
production. While this is the prac-
tical function, we have the aes-
thetic function of all theaters-
that is, to entertain. We try to
put on good shows and we've been
fairly successful."
An example of the typical struc-
ture of a lab bill is the production
of parts of "Doctor Faustus" which
was done last year. The leads were
taken by relatively inexperienced
undergraduate actors and the
supporting actors were getting
their first training in this lab
bill. It was directed by a graduate
student, props were designed by a
senior in' design school, and light-
ing was done as a fulfillment of
the practical requirement for a
*f 4 "
THE BILLS, which are presented
on Thursdays at 4:10 p.m. are de-
signed to run from 30 to 40 min-
utes, are followed by critiques
which round out the entertain-
ment-packed hour.
This hour is the culmination of
many weeks of effort.
First the student director gets
a production date, selects his
script, and takes it to his faculty
advisor. The facutly advisor takes
it to the theater committee. Once
it is accepted, faculty instruction
to the student is over unless he
requests further help.
The costume and lighting tech-
nicians select dates on which they
can take a play and three weeks
before this datedthey confer with
the director and plan what they
will do for their production. From
then until the final week they
work on their own.
The designer works with the di-
rector making the necessary small
* * *
date the director will hold read-
ings which are open to all. For
three weeks of the four they will
rehearse five or six days a week
-three or four hours a day. From
Sunday through Wednesday of the
last week the cast hold their final
rehearsals from 6-12 p.m." stated
All these elements come togeth-
er in the dress rehearsal. The
production crew has three days
to make the production run
"The range of shows is typical
of any academic theater," said
Katz. Up until and through 1957-
58 the lab playbill was hindered
by the necessity of renting Lydia
Mendelssohn three times a se-
mester to present its .efforts.
Therefore only three directos got
a chance to work and only three
plays wre selected.
When the Speech Department
has moved to Frieze Building, the
lab gained access to Trueblood
Auditorium which is an excellent
proscenium theater, and has the
gym which has been remodeled in-

to an arena theater.
* * *
NOW THAT the Lab Playbill
no longer has to rent a theatre it
plans on about10playstper se-
mester. The range of the Lab
shows has covered not only well-
known playwrites such as Ten-
nessee Williams, Conrad, Saro-
yan, Inge, Moliere but also ori-
ginals by unknowns such as "The
Consent" by Mabelle Hsueh, a
student at the University, and a
medieval farce "Pierre Patelin" by
an anonymous author.
The Lab Playbill on Jan. 7, will
make the first use of the arena
theater. It will have a double bill:
Sean O'Casey's "Bedtime Story"
and "Hello Out There" by William
Saroyan. This will be the second
Saroyan play of the semester.
On Jan. 14 the last Lab Playbill
of the Semester will present both
the light and the dark side of man
caught by his environment. A
comedy by Paul Green "No Count
Boy" and a bitter Tennessee Wil-
liams, "Mooney's Kid Don't Cry,"
will be given. "When Green sees a
man caught by his environment,
he laughs gently. Williams is frus-
trated and he crys," said Mr. Katz.
This spring historical styles of
directing will be tried out when
Shakespeare and Greek tragedy,
as well as the comedy of Noel
Coward will be presented.
As Mr. Katz declared, "If you
have a new, unusual idea the lab
bill is the place to find out if it
will work."


Civic Theater 3it of Broadway'

Ike Myopic on Education

in Ann Arbor

IfHE FORMER president of Columbia Univer-
sity spent sixty seconds discussing educa-
tion the other day. His remarks, a fragment of
the State of the Union message, should not go
unnoticed to American educators, for they
promise no good in the coming critical years.
Mr. Eisenhower came out against increased
Federal aid to schools. .. . the route to better-
trained minds is not through the swift ad-
ministration of a Federal hypodermic or sus-
tained financial transfusion. The educational
process is essentially a local and personal re-
sponsibility and cannot be made to leap ahead
by crash, centralized governmental action."
the traditional concept of local control can-
not be eliminated overnight and replaced by
stronger Federal aid in the form of "crash ac-
tion." But no one is suggesting that local con-
trol disappear, much less overnight.
The need for aid is most evident in the area
of school construction. Teacher's salaries are
an equally critical need. Only the myopic could
see no need for a "hypodermic" in these areas.

Mr. Eisenhower suggests a "carefully rea-
soned program for helping eliminate current
deficiencies. It is designed to stimulate class-
room construction, not by substitution of fed-
eral dollars for state and local funds, but by
incentives to extend and encourage state and
local efforts."
INCENTIVES, of course, are valuable. And
as the President says, they are part of a
"carefully reasoned" approach.
But the contention here is that approaches
should no longer be quite so careful, given the
enormous swelling of needs expected in the
coming decade. If by 1970 enrollments will
have doubled, it takes little arithmetic to un-
derstand the increased needs in construction
and salaries. It is the sheerest complacency to
assume that the local school boards, much less
the public, will be able to meet the frighten-
ing demands of the 1960s.
And as the President wisely pointed out in
his speech, "we cannot be complacent about
educating our youth."

Daily Staff Writer
A TOUCH OF the splendor and
excitement of Broadway is
captured in the Ann Arbor Civic
Theater productions.
For twenty-eight years, actors
and stage hands -of the Civic
Theater have combined their tal-
ents to provide the community and
University students with a variety
of popular plays. All types of dra-
ma have been attempted, from
Shakespeare's Julius Caesar to
Tennessee Williams' modern Cat
on a Hot Tin Roof.
The 1959-60 playbill consists of
the plays, Diary of Anne Frank,
Nude with a Violin, Major Bar-
bara, Street Car Named Desire
and Wonderful Town.
S * * *
director with the approval of the
Theater's governing board. The
board includes twelveddirectors
and is headed by a president, vice-
president and treasurer.
Since1950the Lydia Mendels-
sohn Theater has served as a
playhouse for Civic Productions.
Before that, three yearly perform-
ances were given in Slauson Jun-
ior High School where the organi-
zation was working on a shoe-
string-relying on card parties
and donations for its support.
Now, with a new location and five
plays each year, the Civic Theater
is completely self-supporting.
Ted Heusel, Civic Theater di-
rector for the past five years, re-
cently told of the great effort and
enthusiasm which goes into the
production of each play.
* * *
HEUSEL SAID that the per-
formers are selected about four
or five weeks before the perform-
ance. These then participate in a
concentrated program of rehears-
als every week-day evening dur-
ing the three or four weeks pre-
ceding opening nght. Rehearsals
are held in a rented classroom in
Ann Arbor High School.
According to Heusel, acting is
open to anyone.dAs many as fifty
townspeople and University stu-
dents tryout for each play. Regu-
lar auditions are held, and the
prospective performers are re-
quired to read character parts.
Heusel claimed that it is diffi-
cult to find good men between the
ages of thirty-five and fifty as
they are busy earning their liv-
ings and not able to spend much
time acting. However, there are
a few actors who participate reg-
ularly in Civic Theater produc-
tions. Among the stalwarts who
have been with the CivichTheater
sinc its beginnings are three Mi-
chigan graduates, G. Davis Sel-
lards, '22, Richard Cutting, '22,
and A. B. Crandell, '18.
* * *
able to cast prominent professional
actors who are passing through
Ann Arbor. "One of the most stir-
ring performances," Heusel said,
"was given a few years ago by J.
Michaels while he was convalesc-
ing in Ann Arbor."
Michaels is the man who, ac-
companied by a portion of The
William Tell Overture, shouts,
". ..and out of the west on his
great horse, Silver, came the L-o-
o-o-ne Ranger . . ." Michaels
played the role of Captain Queeeg
in the Civic Theater's production
of The Caine Mutiny Court Mar-
All Civic Theater performances

dent three -years ago when George
Seaton, celebrated Hollywood pro-
ducer and head of the Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and Sci-
ences, was visiting Ann Arbor.
At that time the Civic Theater
cast was busy rehearsing for its
production of Country Girl. Sea-
ton, producer of the award-win-
ning film, Country Girl, had seen
the play thirty-eight times

throughout the world. Interested
in how a local, amateur playhouse
would handle this play, he at-
tended a rehearsal.
Seaton was so impressed with
the performance he saw that he
returned opening night and sent
flowers to the leading lady-a sig-
nal tribute to the Ann Arbor Civic
Theater and an acknowledge-
ment of its fine performances.

Offers Varied Fare
Daily Staff writer
THE DRAMATIC ARTS CENTER was founded in 1954 as a successor
to the Arts Theatre Club, which had maintained an arena theatre
in Ann Arbor, but the attempt met with financial difficulties, and so
after three years the Arts Theatre Club had to go out of existence. ,
The Dramatics Arts Center was formed by people who wanted to
keep up the tradition of fine professional theatre in Ann Arbor.
They leased the Masonic Temple Auditorium and ran plays there
for three seasons with,a resident cast of professionals. But the plays

Play Lab
Daily Staff Writer
FJBE OFFICE IS large, as Uni-
versity offices go, with desk
and file cabinets set well in the
back of the room, and one wall
covered with postcards of Spain
and Italy. Half a dozen straight
chairs are scattered around the
room. Books and papers obliter-
ate the desk. An orange and black
poster announces the dates of the
Playbill series. The door was open
and the light on. But no one was
A young man-an instructor
perhaps-rushed in, sat at the
desk for a moment, grabbed a
piece of paper, and on his way
out said, "Prof. Halstead is in
class, but he'll be back in a min-
Just as he left, three students
walked in. One girl-tall, with a
deep and lovely voice-talked ex-
citedly of a new dance she had
just learned.
* * *
PROF. HALSTEAD whirled in.
"Be with you in a minute, but I've
got to take a long distance phone
Another girl dashed in, wrote
Prof, Halstead a note and left.
Prof. Halstead put the phone
down and turned around. "Now
you were the young lady who
wanted to see me about .. "
"About the Playbill series, sir.
When it started, why, what you
do, how you do it, everything."
S* * *
"WELL, OUR primary purpose
is to train students; secondarily,
we want to give students, faculty
and townspeople the experience
and variety of good theatre.
"The first time there was a cur-
ricular theatre at the University
was in 1914. They gave their plays
at private performances-meaning
no admission charge-in thle the-
atre in the women's gymnasium
later they worked in University
Hall which stood where Haven
Hall is now.
"Valentine Wynt came to di-
rect in 1928 and by 1933 all the
plays were being given in the
Mendelssohn Theatre and in pub-
lic performances-they charged
"WE PUT a heavy emphasis on
pre-modern plays because they of-
fer greater variety in acting style.
Radio, television and other thea-
ters do predominantly modern,
naturalistic plays; this influences
us even more toward choosing
pre-modern plays so that we can
give variety to the whole.
"Our plays are approved by a
theatre committee composed of a
costumer, scene designer, our busi-
ness manager, the directors and
some instructors who do not di-
rect. We usually have two major
shows and four one-acts in re-
"Is it fun to choose the plays?"
A wry smile came with the
* * .*
"IT'S AGONY to equate all the
factors. We can't make heavy de-
mands on costume, scenery or cast
in two successive plays. We want
to provide variety for the audience
and still we must give some con-
sideration to the box office-first
of all because we have to pay a
good deal of our expenses and
secondlysbecause acting before a
full house, and therefore more
responsive, is very important to
our students."
"And it's good that we have to

consider the box office," Prof. Hal-
stead continued, "because other-
wise we could get terribly eclectic
and do plays no one but the di-
rector wants to do.
"AT THE MOMENT we have
more talented and experienced
people than we have had for a
long time and some who show
great promise. But finding a way
to communicate all the implica-
tions of a play is especially diffi-
cult with a pre-modern play
where the students have had less
personal experience with the lit-
erary tradition and style of the
"We have to find the right com-
promise in style which will pro-
ject as much of the period feel-
ing as possible and still appeal to
the modern audience which is so
thoroughly conditioned to real-
ism, even naturalism, that any
other style seems strange.
* *
"THE OBJECTIVE of a direc-
tor is to achieve sufficient unity
so that there will be no jarring of
style. In "Electra," for example,
I was striving for a bigness of
emotional reaction-and didn't
succeed because most of the audi-
ence was incapable of such a re-





were stopped in 1957 when DAC
had to leave the Masonic Temple
Auditorium-the Masons wanted
to use it for office space. N
* *
ANOTHER reason for ceasing
the program was that the produc-
tions had to be financially un-
derwritten each year. The continu-
ing difficulty that this presented
made the DAC hesitate about go-
ing on.
*While at the Masonic Temple
the DAC had supported other cul-
tural activities. Art Exhibitions by
the Ann Arbor Art Association
were held regularly.
It also worked in cooperation
with children's classes in art and
dancing, and drama held at pub-
lic schools throughout the city.
The children performed at the
Masonic Auditorium.
* * *
that has continued away from the
Masonic Temple is the play-read-
ing group. This groupbhas pre-
sented a number of public read-
ings of plays, whicch has led to
some full productions in the last
year. The group gave Ionesco's
"The Bald Soprano" last spring,
and Prof. Kaplan remarked that
other productions are planned.
The DAC also sponsors an ex-
perimental film program. The last
presentation was given in early
December, and the next program
is planned for January 15 and 16
at the Ann Arbor Public Library.
"We have kept a number of ac-
tivities going," Prof. Kaplan cam-
mented, all of which, we feel, are
worth doing."
SINCE THE theatre presenta-
tions in the Masonic Auditorium
stopped, Prof. Kaplan said that
the DAC has been anxious to get

professional theatre started again
in Ann Arbor.
"We have felt that the only
way to do this is to get the very
best in theatre here-the best ac-
tors, directors, and an appropriate
budget (one which would be 10
times as large as we could pro-
vide) ."
"For Ann Arbor has so many
fine competing cultural activities,"
Prof. Kaplan pointed out, "that
only the finest in professional
theatre could get enough support
to be a continuing success here."
"But we realized thatsuch a
theatre. would have to draw its
support only in part from Ann Ar-
bor. Other support would come
from the entire region."
* * *
SO IN .THE fall of 1958 the
DAC made vigorous efforts to find
a way to set up a top quality pro-
fessional theatre in Ann Arbor.
As a result, Louis Simon, promi-
nent in New York theatre, vis-
ited Ann Arbor for a week and
wrote a report on the prospects
for professional theatre here.
"Because of these 'efforts," Prof..
Kaplan related, "Oliver Rea, a New
York producer, heard of us. He
came to DAC and asked if we
wanted a professional theatre
here with Tyrone Guthrie as di-
The DAC now feels that its mis-
sion is to helpmake possible the
location of a new theatre in Ann
Arbor," the DAC president de-
"But the DAC feels it can be
in the background, now that a
formal steering committee has
been set up and a broader group
is taking over."
"We want to see the professional
theatre come to Ann Arbor," he
concluded, "regardless of what be-
comes of DAC.





Strike Legislation Needed

NOW THAT the steel strike finally has ended,
the pre-settlement talk of new strike legis-
lation has also ended. The general opinion
seems to be that strong governmental inter-
ference in collective bargaining is not desir-
able. And, as long as the strike has been settled
anyway, it is felt that there is no immediate
need for new strike laws.
Such an attitude, however, disregards un-
realistically the fact that situations like the
1959 steel strike could easily pop up again at
any time in the future. The costs of future
strikes might even be much greater than the
recent one.
Editorial Staff
Edaitorial Director City Editor
CHARLES KOZOLL .............. Personnel Director
JOAN KAATZ ...................,Magazine Editor
BARTON HUTHWAITE ............ Features Editor
JIM BL"NAGH........................Sports Editor
JAMES BOW. .............,. Associate City Editor
PETER I'^ WSON .............. Contributing Editor
FRED KATZ ............... Associate Sports Editor

For the government to remain handicapped
in its present disability to terminate these
harmful strikes just because of a relatively
lucky settlement this time is sheer and utter
nonsense. How is it possible to think that with
the present problem solved at last, there is no
reason to prepare for what might - and prob-
ably will -- occur again in the future?
EVEN FROM the recent steel strike, damag-
ing effects will be felt for quite some time.
Steel shortages piled up from the record 116-
day walkout are still acute. Countless workers
in other industries were forced out of jobs.
The money the steelworkers lost because of no
pay during the four-month strike period will
not be made up for by their new pay increase
until many years from now. The national econ-
omy was greatly endangered, and as of yet,
we are still not quite sure what far-reaching
effects this may have in 1960.
If the government had had the tools at its
disposal to 1) authorize fact-finding boards to
pinpoint major labor dispute issues publicly
before a strike develops or gets out of hand,
2) compel arbitration or mediation, or 3) even
use certain seizure powers, the present strike
might have been settled much quicker and



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