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October 07, 1979 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-10-07
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The Michigan Daily-Sunday

Page 2-Sunday, October 7, 1979-The Michigan Daily




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Theater cabal's annual agony;
Choosing and refusing plays
By Joshua Peck

j KJLOW TVo ito
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ACH SPRING, a little ritual is
enacted before the Theatre De-
partment bulletin board in the
Frieze Building that might well baffle
any curious alien anthropologists.
Gaggles of two or three aspiring
thespians approach the board, digest its
proclamations (figuratively, in most
instances), and, depending on in-
dividual quirks which the ex-
traterrestrial observers would be hard-
put to discover, either squeal with glee
at the mysterious tidings or recoil in,
horror. What the aliens would need to
decipher in the cult's various behaviors
would be a grasp of the ins and outs of
human dramatic tastes; for the legend
borne by the brown planks of balsa is.
nothing more esoteric than the schedule
of plays to be staged by the department
over the following school year.
The task of tacking the dramatic
itinerary to the board may be elemen-
tary, but the months of speculation,
debate, and effort that department per-
sonnel pour into consideration of
productions to stage are not quite such
a lark.
In talks with Prof. Jack Bender, in-
terim chairman of the newly-
independent Department of Theatre
and Drama, and other Frieze Building
personalities, I ferreted out some of the
dozen-odd considerations that figure in-
to the final choices. The results were
not entirely surprising, and yet not as
dismaying as some dissatisfied studen-
ts in the department would have one
think. -
Joshua Peck is a theater critic for
the Daily's arts page:

In recent years, the first conference
for the play selectors has been held in
mid-winter. This season, Bender hopes
to get talks rolling earlier, perhaps
before Christmas. In on the decision-
making are several acting and direc-
ting faculty members, a representative
from each of the areas of design, a
couple of graduate students, and one or
two undergraduates.
Bender, whois also the interim direc-
tor of the Professional Theatre
Program, says the department has
tried to attain this goal in play selec-
tion: To offer a reasonable represen-
tation of each significant dramatic
period and style over the course of each
student's four-year tenure in Ann Ar-
bor. The wry, white-haired professor
seems to feel the department has done
relatively well with regard to its diver-
sity quotient, and in fact, if the last four
years are an indication, the major
productions provide a decent, if not
overwhelming, spread: two
Shakespearean tragedies, a history and
a comedy; three 20th Century English
and American plays by white authors;
two black musicals and two straight
plays; two Russian plays; an English
musical; a restoration comedy; and the
unclassifiable Under Milkwood by
Dylan Thomas. Outside the Power Cen-
ter, seasons have been filled out with an
overgenerous helping of contemporary
English drama, an undergenerous one
of Shaw, and much too little of O'Neill.
Bender, candidly enough, concedes
that certain eras have been neglected.
Shakespeare was largely given the cold
shoulder until the mid-1930s, whereas
the Bard's contemporaries under




Copyright 1977


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Guess the words defined at the
A 66 left and write them in over
their numbered dashes. Then,
x 88 transfer each letter to the cor-
responding numbered square
W 111 in the grid above. The letters
printed in the upper-right-hand
S 136 corners of the squares indi-
cate from what clue-word a
G 158 particular square's letter
comes from. The grid, when
T 179 filled in, should read as a
quotation from a published
work.-The darkened squares
are the spaces between words.
Some words may carry over
to- the next line. Meanwhile,
the first letter of each guessed
word at the left, reading down,
forms an acrostic, giving the,
author's name anI the title of
the work from which the quote
is extracted. As words and
phrases begin to form in the
grid, you can work back and
forth from clues to grid until
the puzzle is complete.

Elizabeth's reign have been undeser-
vedly ignored all along. Moliere and his
Gallic associates are sometimes given
the short shrift, save for interludes
when the French playwrights replace
the Bard as the most honored scribes.
Last and saddest, the fathers of us all,
Aeschylus, Aristophanes, and
Euripides, have gained rare exposure
in these frigid parts.
F THE department's goal is as
simple as achieving maximal di-
versity, what then is all the
haggling about? Why do the good doctor
and his colleagues spend all those mon-
ths bargaining in smoke-filled rooms?
(They don't really - costume chief
Zelma Weisfeld is an ardent anti-
smoker.) One would think the faculty
could spare itself a good measure of
agony by simply coming to some sort of
agreement about what the best plays of
each era are, and wade through them
once each, say, in a 20-year cycle.
The apparent cause of the hardship is
the host of circumstances and special
conditions that plague the selectors and
render impossible any manner of
straightforward decision. One such
consideration is the long-standing
preponderance of actresses at
American universities, a condition to
which the University provides no ex-
ception. It wasn't all that long ago that
the abundance of part-hungry women
was brushed aside when plays were
considered for production. No longer.
The difficulties are immediately ap-
parent: Shakespeare, to name just one
discriminatory playwright, offers at
most three or four sizable roles per play


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B. Boiling; enthusiastic
C. Depression of strata below the
the general level on one side
of a fault (Geol.)
D. Render vocalic
E. Current.TV soap opera
(with The) (3 words)
F. - Afternoon, Hemingway novel
(3 words)
G. Science that deals with the
division of mankind into races
H. Prophetic; inspired
. Byproduct of plutonium production
(2 words)
J. isclined; unruly: stubborn
K. Region of occidental radioactive
explosion in Soviet Union in
the late 1950's

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L. Site for scientifice experiments
M. Inhabitants of the world
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point (Comp)
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P. Somewhat peculiar
Q. Carl Fischer text for second
graders (4 words)"
R. --"90, chief contaminant of
Clue K
S. Frequented; accompanied
T. Clue I problem that led tb
accident according to author
U. American Island in current
disrepute (2 words)

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M~ 1a3

Answer to last week's puzzle
They became more and
more architects of the
national agenda, making
more decisions on what the
great issues were rather than
just responding -'to the
decisions of others. The press
corps was becoming a dif-
ferent, more serious, and bet-
ter informed body.
(David) Halberstam
The Powers That Be
, 'i-I.

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W. Type of plutonium
.production plant
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to make money.

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