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September 08, 1978 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-09-08

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

Page 6-Saturday, September 9, 1978-The Michigan Daily

WeakJ
By CHRISTOPHER POTTER
Special to The Daily
STRATFORD, Ont.--Any production
of Julius Caesar must of necessity come
to grips with choosing whether to em-
phasize the play's crucial historial con-
Julius Caesar
by William Shakespeare
directed by John Wood
Stratford Festival Theatre
Julius Caesar ......................Eric Donkin
Marcus Brutus ..............Nicholas Pennell
Caius.Cassius .,..............Alan Scarfe
Marc Antony ...................Stephen Russell
Casa ...........................Frank Maraden
Calphurnia........ ......... Mary Savidge
Octavius Ceasar...........Jack Wetherall
tent, or to place prime attention on thea
basically timeless political interplayI
involved. Chronologically placed, the
events of Shakespeare's work mark a

Antony
crossroads in the history of civilization:
Caesar's assassination and the sub-
seq6ent extermination of his slayers ef-
fectively rang down the curtain on any
form of representative government in
the world for nearly two thousand years.
While this might seem of paramount
importance to a modern audience, it
hardly seems likely Shakespeare's car-
dinal concern lay there. And historical
perspective certainly isn't what the
current Stratford Festival production
seems to be after.
If director John Wood's rather
hesitant production opts for anything, it
opts in favor of stressing a simple exer-
cise in bald-faced power politics, a
deadly ongoing gamesmanship that
remains by and large chillingly
unaltered in form and practice some
twenty centuries later.
SHAKESP!ARE'S Caesar was

buries 'Caesar'

populated by passionate, complicated,
often mercurial men driven by needs
and desires that were often at odds with
themselves. Were Caesar's murderers
freedom-loving democrats or were
they crass usurpers? Were his allies
defenders of stability or worshippers of
tyranny? To understand the temper of
the times, one must try to get at these
men's very unsimplistic motives, the
shades-of-gray intentions that give the
play such magnetic force.
And this is where Wood's production
runs afoul: Placed against a
necessarily three-dimensional context,
actor Stephen Russell's Marc Antony~
the ultimate victor in the deadly game,
is the show's fatal weak link. Whether
through misguided direction or his own
lack of acumen, Russell is ex-
cruciatingly one-dimensional in his in-
terpretation of a profoundly complex
protagonist. Shakespeare's Antony
seemed driven by circuitous emotions,
at one moment an avenging angel nobly
righting the wrong done Caesar, at the
next a consummate politician
ruthlessly maneuvering his mentor's
death into a momentous personal power
play.
Russell catches none of this duality as

he utilizes his matinee-idol looks and
huskily earnest voice to turn his Antony
into a kind of breathless Marvel
Superhero-a simple, straight arrow
All-Roman Boy whose aspirations
couldn't conceivably extend beyond the
general good of his countrymen.
THUS ANTONY'S funeral
oration-Shakespeare's masterly quin-
tessence of public manipulation-is
reduced to a mere exhortation to let
justice be done. Russell's flat, one-level
delivery (spoken directly to the audien-
ce rather than to the traditional stage
crowd) catches not one whit of the subtle
inflections, the verbal twists and turns
through which Antony preys upon his
listeners. The speech personifies the art
-of political persuasion at its most
sublime and most insidious, yet for all
the sensitivity Russell lends to the
moment, he might just as well be
singing a rendition of "Stouthearted
Men."
The characters of Brutus and Cassius
fare rather better, largely because
Nicholas Pennell and Alan Scarfe are
such superb actors that their already
center-stage protagonists simply
dominate the assemblage surrounding
See WEAK, Page 12

&41
a

CINEMA II

r°'0$,

presents
Truffaut's-SMALL CHANGE
A truly delightful film with a profoundly serious message. Truffaut reveals
his true genius and limitless ability to work with children as he explores
the passages from a toddler's brave curiosity to the excitement of adolescent
love. "A must for all who were once children."-Andy Leavitt. French
with subtitles.
7:00& 9:00 $1.50 Angell Null Awd A
Sunday: THE BIRDS AND MARNIE

Appearing in the Stratford Festival Theatre production of "Julius Caesar" ar
Nicholas Pennell (Marcus Brutus), Frank Maraden (Cascci), Alan Scarfe (Caul
Cassius), and Eric Donkin (Julius Caesar).

Give AM radio a listen it's

By R. J. SMITH
Everybody nowadays is taking stabs
at AM radio - Elvis Costello writes
pointed songs about the American
airwaves ("They don't give you any
choice, because they think that it's.
treason ... and the radio is in the
hands of a lot of crazy fools/trying to
anesthetize the way that you feel ..."),
and even snide little movies like FM
milk easy laughs from the topic of AM.
And of course on the campus, any
man-on-the-street Joe College can
hardly muster a curled lip and a roll of
the eyes anymore - the common word
out is that it's simply too pathetic to
waste time on.
BUT THE fact is, AM is good stuff.
Back in the early seventies, FM was
flourishing creatively and as a
business, in those golden days of "free-
form" radio formats. But lust for the
big bucks and the philosophy that "we
can riot only give the kids what they
want, but we can do it better" (a
philosophy which nearly killed things
on the AM side back in the early sixties.
Remember Pat Boone?) strangled the
sort of freedom that could provide
listeners with Lou Reed-Miles Davis-
John Cage-Otis Redding sets, and left
us with the slag pile of top forty stations
to which I thought FM was supposed to
provide an alternative. (I know, I know,

except on friendly campuses like ours,
and in some fortunate big towns, not
like ours.. .). Certainly the number of
commercials are comparable on most
stations - the main difference seems to
be that FM dj's are duller (except for
WRIF's Arthur Penhollow -
reportedly the best-paid jock in Detroit
- who's gimmicks are rubber-libbed
pervoid babblings and heavy breathing,
that makes one long for boredom). ~
The point is, there really is some good
stuff to be found on the dark side of the
dial - perhaps especially this summer.
Granted, these are hard times, now that
disco has eaten the world, but people
should listen - for there is a certain
vitality poking through the dark clouds
once again.
THROUGH the nature of its songs
and programming, AM has always
made connections with American pop
culture that FM could never hope to
make (indeed, it has even had to deny
them).
Brevity and immediacy, one essence
of pop culture (which rings true in both
fast-food joints and minimalist art,
binding them) is the heartbeat of AM
radio - lengthy abnormalities such as
"Like a Rolling Stone"
notwithstanding.
Created by a nation of people who
bleed boredom, AM is a logically
essential forum - providing space for
both Rolling Stones and Beach Boys,
Phil Spectors and Bee Gees.
NECESSARILY bound up with this
necessity of quick identification and
gratification is our lust to be always On
The Move. The transiency and constant
mobility that shape our lives is echoed
in AM music - which really is created
for the man driving down the highway,
or thumping down hot busy streets
(there are countless images and
illustrations to conjur up: so many Phil
Spector singles, which sound not like
instruments - they were purposefully
blurred - but like fine machines rolling
down the road, or Tony Manero
pounding the pavement to "Stayin'
Alive").
Seemingly this summer had the
trappings of a real washout for AM
buffs, 'that kind that sends button-
jammers perpetually searching the dial
for "King Tut," Tiger baseball or an
oldies station.

Summer "heavies" like the E
Chicago, Fleetwood Mac,
Taylor, America and many
failed to cough up any product.
course, disco is still the cat's as
summer proved more than we h
right to expect, and there was
high ratio this time around of goo
to bad. Besides, on AM, if you do
it, it only takes three minutes
away. Ever try to get rid of the
version of "Life's Been Good"?
ANYWAY, HERE is an inform
of some of the best and worst (p
with Meatloaf on the list, that's
of AM summertime fare. It's in
mostly because I'm not wearing
after scouring various top ten
fifty lists, I think I've got a prett
scope.
The cream:
" "Miss You" : The Rolling S
As if the unforgettably peeg
rhythm weren't enough to mak
one good, there's some great vo
Mick (the lines about the Puerto
girls, especially), and those ha
breathin'-down-your-neck backg
vocals by the boys. That makes
best of the summer. Its simpli
unlike recent Stones efforts, and
it was merely nice; but skin and
impact grows on you. Superb w
the streets music.
" "Because the Night": Patti
Patti Smith selling out? Hell no,
like buying in - this artist, I
heard on FM, manages to connec
the mass audience of AM w
sacrificing her fervor - thisr
burns, everything about it: Io
Spectorian aura, the acousti
electric contrast, Patti's pass
voice, Lenny Kaye's sense of d
during the guitar solo. Perhaps if
people heard it, it would be my fa
song of the summer.
" "You're The One That I WA
John Travolta and Olivia Newton
Perhaps it's a doff of the hatt
fifties, but to these ears it's a grea
more: a strong declaration of fri
and fun for right now, in the sam
that keeps Animal House from b
mere period piece. Travolta ma
to even do more than stay in pitc
Olivia is spectacular, coming on
her giggles and her playful coo
the repetition of the last half, alon
all those great Ooh-ooh-oohs, lea
up to the listener. The most fun r
all summer - hey, even Patti like
0 "Two Out of Three Ain't F

electrifyin'!
Jagles, Meatloaf. I feel divinely evil abou
James liking this record - every word h
And of sins comes across as a lie -4 but th
s. Still, arrangement and his conviction in his
ad any deception sell it until you half believe it.
ad aey A fat hairy slob singing someone else's
a very words about true love sounds pretty
n' stuff weird, huh? And to think across
n't like America people will be crying over this
album song for years. I'll laugh pretty hard -
but this one's damn good.
al list '"My Radio Sounds Good To Me":
nerhasGraham Central Station. Another oldies
erhaps tribute of a sort, this one works because
wurst) of the unabashed doo-wops and pseudo
formal acapella vocals which are bouncy
a tie -enough to be remembered, but not ever
ponderous when the instruments come
in. It sounds both like an AM ditty and
zillion commercials, but it is merely
selling good-spirit. A one-shot, in all its
AM glory.
The on-deck circle: "Count On Me",
Jefferson Starship - "Used To Be My
Girl", The O'Jays, - "Shame", Evelyn
Champagne King - "Magnet And
Steel", Walter Egan - "Bluer Than
Blue", Michael Johnson.
The Curds:
" "It's a Heartache": Bonnie Tyler.
Q. What's worse than Rod Stewart
doing take-offs of himself (see his latest
album)?. A. A woman who sounds like
him doing parodies. Maybe David
Johanson can pump some humor into
these banal lyrics - see his latest
shows - but anything but cry-in-yer-
beer seems beyond her. I'd rather drink
to top more.
y good ' "Three Times a Lady": The
Commodores. It takes the Commodores
five minutes plus to sink into the gooey
tones. sentimentality of this' one, but I
istent guarantee you I'm listening to
e this something else way before then. With
als by their hit-all-the-bases philosophy, the
Rican Commodores are bound to strike out
unting every now and then. This is a grand
round error.
it the " "Boogie-Oogie-Oogie": A Taste of
city is Honey. Talking about a similar record,
at first one reviewer wrote something like, "I
bones always though sucking was fun, but I
valkin' can perceive the sentiment people are
conveying when they say 'disco
Smith. sucks'.". Ditto for me.
more . "Hot Blooded": Foreigner. 0
hardly second thought, I'd maybe rathe
t with boogie ooogie. There's no entire rotten
'ithout genre to prepare you for this travesty -
record unless you count all those bad dreams
vine s that keep coming back to haunt us, like
c vs. Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, anl all
ionate the rest of that cock rock set. Or else -
drama God help us - "super Groups".
more . "Too Much Too Little Too Late":
vorite Johnny Mathis and Denise
Williams/"Copacabana": Barry
ant": Manilow. If either of these records was
-John. even surprisingly bad, they would have
to the ranked higher. But these songs are
it deal nothing unusual for said people, who
ivolity have perhaps racked up an enviable
e way record of ill performances.
eing a "Copacabana" gets the nod for sheer
nages outrageous stupidity, but the idea oi
h and Johnny Mathis on the charts is equally
a with inane.
s, and Almost as bad:
g with "Love Will Find a Way", Pablo
ves it Cruise - "Every Kind of People",
ecord Robert Palmer - "Summer Nights",
d it. Olivia Newton-John/John Travolta
Bad": "You", Rita Coolidge.

eGI ipse

1

AnnArborJazzFestival1978
In Celebration of the Music of
DI IK F EI INGTON

L

Hill Auditorium September 21-24
THURS,21st8pm FRI,22nd-8pm
'4ARY LOU WILLIAMS JOHNNY GRIFFIN
STAN GETZ DEXTER GORDON
MAX ROACH Ot./ARCHIE SHEI'P FREDDIE HUBBARD

..j

Frank Cappa's 1938
YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU §
Kaufman and Hart's Rip-Roaring Comedy about a Classic (But not neces- §
§ sarily normal) American family, carefree folks led by Lionel Barrymore. §
When EDWARD ARNOLD comes in contact with them, fireworks explode
. . American free enterprise meets American free will. JIMMY STEWART
and JEAN ARTHUR bring them together.
- SUNDAY: HITCHCOCK'S NOTORIOUS
§ CINEMA GUILD TONIGHTat OLD ARCH. AUD.§
7.0&90 $1.50 §

SAT,23rd-8pm
STANLEY
'TURRENTINE
KENNY BURRELL
SUNRA

SUN,24th-1pm
Iu V i ORCHESTR
CHICO FREEMAN
HUBERT LAWS

SUN,24th-8pm MERCER.

MOSE ALLISON
ART BLAKEY

ELLIKrGTON/
DUKE EWNGTON
ORCHESTRA

FESTIVAL SERIES TICKETS NOW ON SALE
AT MICHIGAN UNION BOX OFFICE
(M-F 11:30-5:30) $30, 25,20

r - ----r --- - - - ___- -- -.---
so - so I
O Cottage INNO'
50 OFF any Pizza or Dinner
Offer expires Sept. 30, 1978 /J
Carry-Out and FREE Delivery'
Open 11 AM-2 AM 7 Days a Week
a 5;AA Pnrkcnrd nt ill-66-6005O

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