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October 20, 1979 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-10-20

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, October 20, 1979-Page 5

'IDIOT'S DELIGHT'':

PTP serves up one smart play

By ANNE SHARP
The fact that Robert Sherwood's play
Idiot's Delight once won a Pulitzer
prize back in 1936 gives us pause. We've
been reared to respect the Pulitzer and
Nobel and Motion Picture Academy
seals of approval as the hallmarks of
great all-time achievements in science,
literature and the arts. Unfortunately,
we tend to overlook the fact that they
are merely temporal awards, given out
quickly and often rashly in the first

flush of the prize-winner's popularity
and success. They may provide a
momentary pat on the back for happy
achievers who once served the interests
of certain people at a certain time, but
they are exceedingly flimsy indicators
of eternal greatness.
Which isn't to say that Idiot's Delight
is a bad play. It is a cute, amusing
period pierce, like Arsenic and Old
Lace or Tosca, and I'm sure that's why
the PTP chose to put it on this year. Its

a. f
'Ers7erhead'.A flm
fior mom and dada,
By R. J. SMITH
force myself to contradict myself in order not to imitate
myself," said the great Dada mastermind, Marcel Duchamp.
And like, if contradictions means much of anything in modern art,
than David Lynch's.Eraserhead (1977) is some sort of readymade
classic. It makes a great amount of sense when you refer it to itself;
by any other standards it reads like a stretchy dream that bobbles
all over the place.
"We are seeking a new order to restore the balance between
heaven and hell," said the Dada sculpture Joan Arp. I don't think
Eraserhead achieves anything that lofty, but it does make powerful
connections between dream and reality, narrative and seemingly
chance story progression. It's shot in black and white, and this sort
of spider's web, snowy-dust aura dangles over everything. And the
lead actor, whoever he is, gives one of the funniest/scariest, per-
formances on film.
'It is the nature of the dream to spew forth fantasies too
troubling, too uncertain, for everyday existence. In the dream we
confront that which we subdue all our waking hours; when we sleep
it in turn subdues all the rest of our psyche. Eraserhead is the most
powerful sort of dream." I said that.

great significance to the folks at Pulit-
zer back in the late thirties was its eerie
relevance to the times. In it, Sherwood
creates an Italian Alpine border town
where he ignites the first broils of a
still-hypothetical second World War.
There is a cheap, genteel resort lodge
where a small group of mismated
characters mingle democratically, a la
Grand Hotel, bandying about a lot of
flapdoodle about the immorality of war,
none of it very original, puissant, or
radical. Delight is a weak attempt at
political commentary smothered by its
own need-to be "entertaining''; it is as
if Lerner and Lowe had decided to
follow up My Fair Lady with a musical
version of another Bernard Shaw play,
Major Barbara, sacrificing most of the
Idiot's Delight
Power (Ceer
October 17, 18, 19,20, and 21
Harry Van................Philip LeStrange
Irene........................ Mary Spengier
Captain Locicero..............Alan Comfort
Mr. Cherry................ ichard Pickren
Mrs. Cherry..............Elizabeth Jahnke
[Directeid hr James Martin ;csulinel hby
Nancy Jo Smith; lighin h Gary Musanta;
scenerv hy Dick Block
rhetorical dialogue about morality and
war-mongering for a nightclub scene
and a few extra lovey-dovey songs.
HAPPILY AND WISELY, the
current PTP production for the
most part plays down the sentimental
hystronics about pacifism, instead
reveling in Delight's golden-age
of-Hollywood drollery. The plays single
setting is a nice campy illustrationof
this; a cheesy, imposing Art Deco

cocktail lounge, all frosted .galss and
big white planes of all and streamlined
zips of chrome. From the big window
overlooking the lounge, the characters
jell us, one can see bits of Switzerland
and Austria, and, implicitly, the spec-
tre of Fascist War looming ever closer
on the horizon.
The inhabitants of this lounge include
a young Communist activist (Tony
Burdick, in a sweater vest and uneven
French accent) ; a German scientist
who debates the relative merits of
mowng to Allied country and*
developing a cure for cancer versus
conducting sinister experiemtns for the
Nazis; and the Cherries, a blithe, sen-
sible young English couple straight out
os any Arthur Rank film of the era.
INTO THEIR European calm bursts
Harry Van, a shady show-biz en-
trepreneur with a brassy Warner
Brothers wise-guy twang and an an-
noying gaggle of dumb-blonde hoofers.
Why, incidentally, do people still insist
onseeing this sort of condescending
caricature as funny? We got rid of
Stepin Fetchit, why not Suzanne Som-
mers? Van is a mild variety of the
snake-oil seller, the sort of person who
describes two lovers meeting in a sen-
timental song "like two ships that pass
in the night, or a couple of trucks who
sideswipe each other." LeStrange
played Van broadly, but endearingly
See PTP, Page 7

DAILY EARLY BIRD MATINEES-Adults $1.50
DISCOUNT IS FOR SHOWS STARTING BEFORE 1:30
MON. thru SAT. 10 A.M. til 1:30 P.M. SUN. & HOLS. Noon til 1:30 P.M.
EVENING ADMISSIONS AFTER 5:00, $3.50 ADULTS
Monday-Saturday 1:30-5:00, Admission $2.50 Adult and Students
Sundays and Holidays 1:30 to Close, $3.50 Adults, $2.50 Students
Sundav-Thursday Evenings Student & Senior Citizen Discounts
Children 12 and under, Admissions $1.50
-1mNR NO. 1 THR NO.4

The closer you get

. . .

the better we look.
0, he MWidligau f~IuiIl

FredericoFellini's 1974
AMARCORD
Amarcord is full of tales: some romantic, some slapstick, some elegaical,
some bawdy, and some as mysterious as the unexpected sight of a peacock
flying through a light snowfall. Winner of the 1974 Academy Award for Best
Foregin Film. Fellini's most beautiful and accessible film so far. In lush color,
35mm and Italin with subtitles.
Sun.: Pabst's PANDORA'S BOX
Mon.: Kurosawa's RED BREAD (Free)
CINEMA GU LD TONIGHT AT OLD ARCH.AUD.
CINE A G ILD 7:0 & 9:30 $1 .50

R

764-0558

Now Playing at Butterfe d fheatres
FRIDAY MID-NITE MONDAY NIGHT IS
WEDNESDAY IS SHOWSJ ,,GUENT NIGHT"
'BARGAIN DAY" A T STATE 1-2-3-4 Two Adults Admitted
$1.50 UNTIL 5:30 STUDENTS with For $3.00
LD. $1.50

State 12l-3-
231 S. Stat. 662-6264
AL PACING
ONCE IN A WHILE
SOMEONE
FIGHTS BA CK.'

(UPPER LEVEL)
Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri
7:15-9-55
-- -- Sat, Sun, Wed'
12:15-2:35-4:50-
7:15-9:55
It's five miles wide..
Aon""Tue, Sat Sun,
10-9:5012: 4571C
In DOLBY STEREO

Campus
1214 S. Univi ity 668-6416
DONALD
SUTHERLAND

Mon, Tue, Thu
7&9
l 1a.. A lkĀ« " Soi 7 $ 915
S 'aa FPG Sun, wed

Camp us
1214 S. Unive ity 668-6416
NIGHT OWE. FLICK
All Seats $3.00
Fri-Sat at 11:30 pm
(X)

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