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December 01, 1978 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-12-01

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Page 6-Friday, December 1, 1978-The Michigan Daily

Nobody does it Macbetter

By DIANE HAITHMAN
The Actor's Ensemble attacked its
opening performance of Ionesco's
Macbett with admirable vigor.
Although plagued by a few first-night
flaws such as a late start and erratic
pacing, the Ensemble's production of
this "multi-media absurdity" was at
once bitterly comic, cheerfully bloody,
and bizarrely entertaining.
Ionesco's play combines the sixteen-
th-century Scotland of Shakespeare's
Macbeth with contemporary situation
comedy gagwork to illustrate how close
modern society parallels the hypocrisy

and barbaric lust for power that shed so
much blood in Macbeth. The twenty-
seven member ensemble captures that
irony admirably.
THE ACTOR'S Ensemble considers
itself a theatrical unit, rather than a
cast of lead and supporting players.
What it lacks in slick professionalism it
makes up in team spirit. Performers
play dual or multiple roles, and many of
the actors demonstrate exciting
promise in the freshness of their inter-
pretations.
It's a young company -the audience
is spared pompous, well-trained stage

i

196

JASON ROBARDS in

A THOUSAND CLOWNS
ROBARDS plays the unemployed eccentric who must choose between love
and non-conformity when the welfare department threatens to remove the
young nephew he is raising. MARTIN BALSAM won an Oscar as Robard's
disapproving brother. Also starring BARBARA HARRIS.
SA : Bogart & Bacall In KEY LARGO
SUN: ONE SINGS. THE OTHER DOESN'T

I I

CINEMA GUILD T7:00&9:0T

OLD ARCH. AUD.
$1.50

diction and misplaced Richard Bur-
tonisms in favor of new twists that don't
always work but always intrigue. Solid
performances by the majority cover for
the weaknesses of a few. It looks like
Ann Arbor has found a company that's
willing to try anything and does. They
are clearly on the way up, but those who
want the tried-and-true might well hob-
ble back to Power Center to be lulled by
The Best of Broadway.
The play itself well suits the Ensem-
ble, because it relies less on character
than on plot and action. Fairly
elaborate lighting, music and sound ef-
fects add an important dimension to the
Macbett
By Eugene lonescortranslated
by Charles Marowitz
the Actor's Ensemble
Arena Theater
Banco/Monk/Macol.........Greg Rosenberg
Macbett ..................... David Greene
Lemonade seller/Sick person/
Bishop ....... ..............Tom Sinclair
Lady Duncan/First Witch/
Lady Macbett............. Amy Rothman
Duncan ......................... Tom Stack
Servant/Sick person ........Katharyn Davies
Second Witch/Lady in
Waiting..............Carol A. Graham
Directed by the Actor's Ensemble; William
Craven, set designer and technicaldirector;
Kathleen Fletcher, costumes; Steven Kirk,
lihring.
production. Murder scenes draw
realistic blood and audience gasps. The
company manages to stage the many
overlapping scenes in such fashion as to
create an extraordinary visual har-
mony.
THE TROUPE'S treatment of comic
bits is particularly effective. At one
point, a cheerful Red Riding Hood-type
performs massive executions with "a
portable guillotine. Rather than
sacrificing their heads because the
show must go on, doomed actors hold a
basketball in front of their heads, allow
it to be "chopped off" and dropped into
a basket, then return it, with a neat
hook shot, to the next on the death roll.
King Duncan's throne is a Hollywood
director's chair with "Archduke" em-
blazoned on the back. Some credit goe
to Ionesco for scripting such absur-
dities, but the ensemble effectively
takes things one step further.
Few performers stand out from a
group that works as well in unison as
this one. King Duncan and Lady Dun-
can, however, played by Tom Stack and
Amy Rothman, come close to being

notable characterizations. Stack
amuses by portraying Duncan as a
whining, petulant brat afraid to be king.
The exotic-looking Rothman, as the
racy Lady Duncan, exhibits the same
strong-willed, almost masculine quality'
of Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth. Her
voice is monotonous at times and one
does become aware that she is "ac-
ting." However, the strength of her
general performance, as well as the
perfectly delightful handling of her dual
role as one of the witches, make up for
that.
B. DAVID Green's interpretation of
the title role has its moments as well.
Occasionally, the proud, heroic charac-
ter becomes more like a tired, resigned
college student during finals week: an
endearing quality.
A few characters spark within their
brief roles. Tom Sinclair as The
Lemonade Man, selling his beverage to
soldiers ("because it keeps you from
getting scared") sustained a wide-eyed
fearfulness that conveyed the attitude
of those who ignore brutality by
drowning it in sticky-sweet but
unrealistic beliefs. Katharyn Davies
becomes an appropriately put-upon
servant to two unreasonable soldiers.
Carol Graham joins Rothman in the
same superior level of performance as
the other weird sister. Garbed in stark
white masks and filthy rags, the two
echo each other with a gluey, mewing
tone.
Mark Pinis' short appearance as a
wounded soldier is perhaps the gem of
the evening. He bleeds badly, but
speaks of his injury with a cool, polite
matter-of-factness. When Lady Duncan
prepares to murder him, he replies,
"Oh, don't bother yourself, ma'am. I'll
just crawl over to that tree there and
kickoff." .
MACBETT COMES highly recom-
mended, but, be forewarned: it's long,
almost three hours. Perhaps a
tightening of the action will shorten it
between now and the end of its run on
Sunday afternoon. Try to catch it on the
weekend. For those who appreciate the
outlandish in script and action, the Ac-
tor's Ensemble's production of Macbett
in the cozy, cultish Arena Theatre is
just the thing. Although Ionesco's script
treats war and death with a jaded light-
ness, the message of protest against
government institutions comes through
clearly. As Glamiss says of Duncan:
he's "a miscreant, an ogre, an ass, a
goose .. . and the proof is, he's in
power."

I'm this much fun
Canadian reording artist and television personality John Allan Camero
returns to theArk this weekend for two evening concerts.
Perfoblrmance -rescue
-medium-wei gh t'Ia
By NINA ;HISHKOFF to tragic.
When pinned dcwn, Martyn Greene, On the surface, Gilbert's plot soun
for many years bie mainstay of the typicallyidiotic: it is the story of Pr
Doyle Carte Company, would say Prin- cess Ida, who would rather run
cess Ida was his favorite Gilbert and university for women than meet Prin
Sullivan operetta .e may have a point. Hilarion, to whom she was wed at t
Princess Ida isn't as wel-known as The tender age of one. Her refusal h
broken the prince's heart, and
Princess Ida father is about to wage war on Ida
By w.S. Gilbert and Arthr Sullivan father. It sounds somewhat ridiculou
The University of Miiigan but is really quite clever. Some of tC
Gilbert and Sullivan Sciety lyrics are Gilbert's best, notably
I. roia .'endeV'son Tfutre Lady Fair of Lineage High," which pu
the theory of evolution in a slightly ne
Prince Hilarion.............Fnest'ol Brandon light, and "Now Wouldn't You Like,"
The Lady Psyche.............-.nore Ferber deliciously malicious madrigal.
Cyril.......................DavidKitto LITERARY IDEAS date mo
Melissa...............Sara Dagish Chason rapidly than musical ones, however,
Florian .........................*.e Vahlsing
The Lady Blanche .... pat Rector the University of Michigan Gilbert a
King Hilderbrand.........CharleSutherland Sullivan Society has made soin
King Gama..................Dvid Curtis changes in the libretto for this produ
Arac.....................Mark. Kramer tion. In a program note, they expla
Guron .. ..................... Marchepherd t
Scyhthius......................Stve Senie that they tried to transform it from
Sacharissa ...Mar Locker satire of higher education f
Chloe .... Susan SGevenin women . . . to something of a femini
Peter-John Hedesky, drector; F. Ca tract'"
Daehler.,na'uicdirector; SueSinclair Princess Ida, like Shakespeare
we.l direcror; Alice Crawford, ses; Taming of the Shrew, is about an i
Brad Buler. mlyItin. dependent and well-educated wom"
who refuses to believe in ma
Mikado or HMS P , superiority, until she falls in love a
MiasdoioreSPinafore, but in ny "sees her error." Shakespeare's text
ways, it is more interesting. Sulliva's a bit more sacred than Gilbert's, bi
score is inventive, including few of ke even in his classic play the actors ai
patter songs and love duets whit c ceen in hi cls rpadheantos
usually make up a third of the fare. Th. compelled to wink, leer and pantomit
time we are treated to a delightfu their way through the last few lines.
variety of songs from solemn to farcica THE PRODUCTION itself was g
overall. The orchestra sounded bett
than usual, partly because Sulliva
-- :score gave them more to do. The st,'
F--- section, however, had its (by
traditional whining sound.'
As Princess Ida, Karen Holohan sar
ery well indeed, and acted as best
's possible. Ida's character blen
eual parts of fool and tragic heroine
n an easy combination to make c
vi'ing. Ernest Brandon was notew
thys Hilarion, with a wonderful voi
and nice, heartbroken look. The two
thenhad very few scenes together, b
in wking so well separately, th
rfi' made n admiliable team.
CH'REOGRAPHY and directi
a F . were casionally questionable. All t
movent on stage was very liter;
which vas fine, except things c
casionalV got carried away, as wh
chorus rembers drew out pom-po:
By William Shakespeare and tamnorines. There was never
2definite tatement made, and t
NOV 29- DEC.3 anachronsms and innovations i
troduced qce or twice, proved w'
thless as thwhole idea was dropped
Tonight favor of a more traditional into
Through Sunday pretation.
PTP Guest Artist Series - The most hpressive element ofti
production w the set of Ida's cast
PTP Ticket Office is located in With its archs, turrets, and doul
The Michigan League, 764-0450. wall, the castl could have served
" -+ HOURS: 10-1 and 2-5 pm. well as a set fo(Hamlet. It was one
the society's bet efforts, but too mu
Tickets also at all Hudson's of a good thing: etting it caused an
Ticket Outlets. termission that vks longer than the f
st act.
University of Michigan
Gilbert & Sullivan Society Present;

/
I

//
ti
__

SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT

BURT REYNOLDS stars as the Bandit and JACKIE GLEASON plays
Smokey. Gleason tries to prevent Reynolds from driving a truck
of Coors beer from Texas to Georgia to collect an $80,000 reward.
"It's all action, laced with C. B. communication and made solid
with those sterling personalities, Reynolds and Gleason."-N.Y.

Pc
Fr

OSt.
ri. Dec. 1

Nat. Sci. Aud.
--and-
SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER

7:00 & 9:00

. (Francois Truffaut, 1960) Truffaut followed 400 BLOWS with this
off'beat gangster comedy that shook up critics and audiences
alike. A concert pianist, seeking obscurity in the lower depths of
Paris' underworld, falls in love while thugs try to ferret out his
criminal brothers through him. The rapid direction and shifts of
mood and pace are bound to keep you on your toes as Truffaut
makes some personal and pointed observations on success and

i

pr

ice.

Sat. Dec. 2

Nat. Sci. Aud.
ADMISSION $1.50

7:00, 8:40, 10:20

THIS WEEK

"MACBETT:" Eugene lonesco's satirical
version of Shakespeare's "MacBeth." Performed
by The Actor's Ensemble in their major production.
Nov. 29-Dec. 3-Arena Theatre-Frieze Bldg.
$3.00. SPECIAL EVENTS
Christmas Art Fair: Dec. 2, 10am-8
pm; Dec. 3, 10am-5pm. 165 Midwestern artists
and professionals will offer a festive array of
artisanry. Art work on display will include sculp-
ture, graphics, painting, drawing, photography,
stained glass, fiber work, jewelry, pottery and
leather. Loads of great ideas for Christmas shop-
ninal UM-Coliseum rrner of 5th Ave and Hill

November 29, 30 December 1, 1978
'ydia Mendelssohn Theate
For ticket informationI
call 994-0221 After Nov. 25 763-10$
.,__. ______Friday-Saturday 7:15, 9:00
' -AVN E76!97 Sunday 5:30, 7:15, 9:00

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