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November 03, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-11-03

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

4 4


A blood

Audience clowns
around, with Di*mitri

University Showcase left an audience
emotionally drained and chilled by its
production of Garcia-Lorca's Blood
Wedding, a stark tragedy of passion,
loss, and death. From the first scene,
the play foreshadows doom as motifs of
knives, ruin, and the spilled blood of
generations darken a plot that races
like a heat-crazed stallion to a black
Blood Wedding
By Federico Garcia Lorca
University Showcase Theatre
Trueblood Auditorium
Leonardo ..................... Loren Dale Bass
The bride..................... Ellen Sandweiss
Leonardo's wife..............Kate Conners
Servant woman .................Shelly Ballmer
The bridegroom ..............Mass Casey
The moon .'................. Richard S. Pickren
Mother ...... ................Candice M. Cains
Beggar woman.............Karen Keckler
and inevitable conclusion.
The set helps to create a somber
mood: Bare except for transient in-
cidental props, the stage is backed by a
huge drape of tattered burlap with a
gash in it. The characters remain
nameless, except one - Leonardo, a
married man in love with a woman who
will wed a man she does not love. In
Leonardo, restlessly portrayed by
Loren Dale Bass, runs the passion that
will destroy all in the end. Bass' -per-
formance conveys the innocence of the
crime of a man possessed.
THE OBJECT of his passion is the
Bride, played by Ellen Sandweiss.
While Sandweiss' performance is
predominatly effective, she lacks the
necessary sensual quality so nicely
captured by Bass. The pair ought to
draw the audience into feeling the
pathos and irrevocability of the true but
devastating love: Unfortunately, San-
dweiss comes off shrewish rather than


haughty; childish rather than wild and
independent. Although her performan-
ce warms up by the end of the drama,
the audience's sympathy tends to wan-
der toward Leonardo's timid wife,
played by the gentle, doe-eyed Kate
Connors. The resulting lack of am-
bivalence in audience allegiance un-
dermines a basic theme of the work:
that the blood shed by passion's knife
must be shed.
The opening act of Garcia-Lorca's
work sparkles with occasional
sprightliness and comedy, cheered on
by Shelly Ballmer as the Servant
Woman. Although obliged tossing more
often than either her voice or audience
tolerance could reasonably allow,
Ballmer's role becomes a key one due
in large part to her lively enthusiasm.
And the Bridegroom (Matt Casey), the
naive, handsome darling of the play,
lends another touch of sympathetic
humor to the first act.
PERHAPS THE most striking per-
formance of the evening is that of Can-
dice M. Cains, as the Mother. A strong
woman, stung by the grief of losing her
own blood through the death of
relatives, Cain captures both the
strength and the sadness: The audien-
ce clenches its fists along with hers as
the character with the greatest right to
tears bravely refuses to cry.
Although the first and second acts
shift from strong performances to
vapid crowd scenes cluttered with inef-
fective extras (the third act's bumbling
prophetic woodcutters represent the
performance's most embarrassing
low), it is the haunting third act that
makes the production both unbearable
and worthwhile. Against frigid lighting
and the needling whine of tuneless
violins, the scene grows suddenly and
weirdly symbolic. Richard S. Pickren
plays the Moon in eerie whiteface with
a black cape lined with blinding white

dling ti
silk. He should well subdue the cape
swishing and cut a few pseudo-balletic
turns as the costume alone makes his
performance worthwhile.
LIKE SOME kind of ragged and
dangerous weed, a heap of torn rags
suddenly becomes Death in the form of
a beggar woman, as Karen Keckler
startles the audience by suddenly
coming to life with a wild, jerky
strangeness. The audience suddenly
becomes uneasy and remains so until
the end of the hell-bound action.
Keckler's characterization is almost
too effective. An occasional misplaced

Dimitri, a clown-mime who perfor-
med at the Power Center Wednesday
night, is a one-man circus. Although he
calls himself a mime, the title hardly
suffices. He is also a musician, an
acrobat, a juggler, a yodeler, and,
above all, a performer who expresses
large emotions within short, polished
'The solo performance Wednesday
began with one in a series of minor gaf-
fes; Dimitri (Which is his full name)
played a mandolin and repeatedly lost
his pick in the instrument. He seemed
nervous and embarassed, as did the
audience, but they adjusted to his oc-
casional mistakes, which continued
throughout the performance, and
grew comfortable with the show.
WHEN HE found a stick in a big
trunk, he first used it to count the
people in the audience, and then as a
back-scratcher. No one was sure if
these were the stick's proper uses, and
all were impatient until Dimitri spon-
taneously settled the stick on his nose.
Everyone seemed to expect such
theatrics from a clown. But when he
tried to balance the stick on a woman's
diose, people began to adjust to the
Dimitri can bounce a ball onto the
strings of a mandolin and make music.
He can play a harmonica when it is
completely inside his mouth. He can
play two concertinas at once or the
ecorder from his nostrils. The clown is
a'master of the French horn( while he is
in a back-bend position and the in-
strument balances from his mouth). He
plays trumpet, plastic rope, ukelele,
guitar, clariet, and saxophone.
4h 'AND ALTHOUGH it took quite a
while to get them all'situated in his
mouth, Dimitri played two baby saxes
and two clarinets at once, to the
amazement of both the audience and
Dimitri's performance is not suc-
cessful because of the variety of his
talents, but rather because he allows
the audience to identify with him. The
audience shares his performance, and
loves him because of it. Dimitri used a
woman's purse from the second row; he
had a man give him a boost to help him
flip over his trunk - he let the audience
sympathize with his mistakes.
Once, he was juggling two balls from
his mouth and didn't catch one of them.
Gilbert honored
Elmer Gilbert, professor of aerop-
space engineering, was presented the
O.H. Schuck Award by the American
Automatic Control Council at the 1978
Joint Automatic Control Conference
held recently in Philadelphia, the
University announced.
The award - based on a combination
of technical contribution, technical ex-
position, and oral presentation - is
given each year to the author presen-
ting the best paper at the conference
the year before.#
,Glbert received the award for two
papers, "Functional Expansions for the
Response of Nonlinear Differential
Systems" and "Bilinear and 2-Power
Input-Output Maps," which concern
Mathematical techniques for the
analysis and design of nonlinear
dynamical systems.
TONIGHT at £ p.m.
University Showcase

I(VM F IrivUf1I1-4 1

He let it be known that such mistakes
are okay, the audience was relieved,
and they gave him a warm hand.
Truly, it is the man's emotion which
makes him such a magical delight.
During his production, the clown mime
evinced emotions so that everyone
could identify with the feelings of being
watched - by oneself and one's audien-
Dimitri gave his audience a delightfuli
evening of unusual entertainment, as+
well as a chance to look closely at itself+
as a collection of performers in their
own right.+

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