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November 08, 1979 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-08

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, November 8, 1979-Page 5

Freshly decadent 'Devil' opens

By MARK COLEMAN
The production of a 17th century
English play normally attracts the at-,
tention of dramatists, academics and a
few culture-hungry playgoers. For
many people, the emotional immediacy
of -Jacobean tragedy is lost in the
rC,
eemingly obscure setting and referen-
tes, and the arcane language. This
4aturday, November 10, at 10 p.m., at
the Power Center, director Michael
Kahn and the Acting Company address
this problem. Their goal is to update
John Webster's The White Devil, rein-
trpreting Webster's unsparingly lucid
liew of human corruption through the
O)laring immediacy of punk rock and
tihe glaring decadence of disco.
WEBSTER'S original work is a
response to the decay f Renaissance
(deals and innocence in post-
Elizabethan England. The White Devil
(s a tale of amotal adultery and deceit,
seemingly limitless cupidity and
political corruption. Set in serene 17th
century Italy, Webster's unsparing
depiction of the basest motivations and
sinful conduct are a violent contrast to
the inspiration of Titian and Raphael.
Critics have often responded to The
White Devil with such comments as,
'But people did not do these things!"
But they certainly did, and they still
do. The shocking scope of Webster's
perception is embodied fully in the new
production. Jaded acts of violence and
lustful imagination are not only still
with us, but to a certain degree,
tolerated in present-day society. Hence
the replacement of Webster's courtiers
and noblemen with leather-jacketed

toughs, drag queens and prostitutes,
relocated in decaying urban America.
THE SEX and violence dealt with
implicitly in the original are now con-
fronted directly. Drugs, sexual thrill-
seeking, and ritualistic violence are the
modern metaphors for sin and evil
imagination. The 17th century
fascination with the darkest side of
human nature now pulsates with the
urgency of modern-day hedonism.
The White Devil is clearly not inten-
ded for relaxed, dispassionate viewing.
The shocking images of -lust and

cruelty, fueled by the immediacy of the
current idiom, make the play both an
arresting and unsettling experience.
Yet for all their depravity, the
characters depicted here are not mere
caricatures; they are real people en-
tangled in the outer limits of human
behavior. Webster's genius lies in the
fact that we can identify with these
characters, despite (or maybe as a
result of) their total decadence. This
identification should be amplified.
through the currency of the new
production; like the startled audiences

of 400 years ago, we can see a lot of our-
selves embodied in The White Devil.
The Acting Company, under Mr.
Kahn's guidance, has retained the
spirit of the original and updated it; the
result should be both artistically
challenging and extremely accessible.
Tickets are available all week at the
PTP box office in the League (open 10
a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m.) and at all
Hudsons. The White Devil promises to
be one of the most intriguing and con-
-troversial plays of the fall season.

Ecstacy on ice
Achieving that elusive position known as the "figure eight," Colin Beatty
and the Scarecrows contribute what we are-told is their "zany comedy" to
the 44th edition of the Ice Follies, which will be in Detroit in only a matter of
weeks.

Perhaps better left unexplained. A trio of actors perform in a scene from The White Devil. From
left to right are Janet DeMay, Randle Mell, and Scott Walters. The White Devil is being
produced by The Acting Company.

Kennedy takes the big plunge
(continuedfrom Pae )t flationary action that has occurred senator will also seek to debate with Washington tomorrow.
would be ''clear from the very start" in the past few years when he took the president head-to-head in New Brown enters the campaign a.
that the president was the person the step of decontrol of oil," Ken- Hampshire and Florida. more conservative alternative
responsible for the battle against in- nedy added. "I think anybody who seeks the Carter and Kennedy on econor
flation. In his announcement, Kennedy presidency should debate," Ken- issues, but is also trying to attr
ENUMERATING WHAT he called said, "The only thing that paralyzes nedy told reporters as he flew home liberals with his, opposition
:stark failures, Kennedy said us today is the myth that we cannot to vdte in Tuesday's elections, on the nuclear power, his appointment
"workers are forced to take a second move. If Americans are pessimistic eve of his announcement. "I look blacks, women and Hispanics
job to make ends meet because it is because they are also realistic. forward to that opportunity." high state offices, and highly visi
:wages are rising only half as fast as They have made a fair judgment on FOLLOWING yesterday's an- ties to such liberal figures as Cae:
;prices. Families go into debt and how government is doing and they nouncement, Kennedy was to launch Chavez and Jane Fonda.
suffer real financial hardship to are demanding something better." a four-day, 10-city campaign blitz in Both Kennedy and Brown
educate their children. This year eight other states in the northeast, taking calculated political risks
.the .poorest 10 per cent of our KENNEDY SAID he will run on midwest and deep south, making the only challenges to
population must pay 119 per cent of the basis of his 17-year record as a Carter faces an additional elected president of their own pa
their income for the necessities of senator, during which he has taken challenge for the Democratic Party in this century.
life. That means they go without." "positions on thousands of issues." nomination from California gover-
"The president of the United Kennedy and Carter have so far nor Jerry Brown, who plans to for-
States took the single most in- agreed to debate in Iowa and the mally enter the presidential race in

A Dems so
(Continued from Page 1)
code."
Carter supporters defend the
president against charges that he hap
been a weak leader.
"I think this has been one of the most
difficult times in history for that of-
fice," University Regent Thomas
Roach (D-Grosse Point) said yester-
day.
Roach is one of four University
Regents on a state committee to re-
elect President Carter. Co-chaired by
Regent Robert Nederlander (D-
Birmingham), the group also includes
Regents Sarah Power (D-Ann Arbor)
ard Paul Brown (D-Petoskey).
Roach said that in foreign affairs,
Carter had done "some very
cburageous things that people have put
off for years," such as normalization of
relations with China, the Panama
Cahal treaties, and the Camp David ac-
cord between Egypt and Israel.
' City Council member Ken Latta (D-
Fi'st Ward), who voiced support for
California Governor Jerry Brown's
candidacy, said the Kennedy mystique

ee Kennedy as leader

could be damaging in the long run. "By
expecting too much, nobody's going to
live up to our expectations," Latta said.
Blacks probably would not abandon
Carter quickly, Latta said, because his
record on appointments of minorities to
administration posts has been good.
At least two spontaneous "draft Ken-
nedy" movements emerged in the city
last month. The two groups recently
merged under the leadership of
Perrone, University law students Marc
Abrams, Foley, and Jakubowski.

Perrone and other "draft Kennedy"
leaders had planned to step up
organizing activities recently, until the
national Kennedy campaign
organization told the group to suspend
its plans until a regional director is ap-
pointed Nov. 12.
Former Second District Democratic
Party Chairman George Sallade infor-
mally is heading campaign efforts in
the district temporarily, according to
local Kennedy supporters.

ANN ARBOR

i

S 5th Avenue at Liberty St. 761-9700
Formedy Fifth Forum Theater

-

P Y

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THE $1.50
BARGAIN!

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Honk if you
love Brian.
MONTY
PYTHON'S

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