The Michigan Daily-Friday, April 13, 1979-Page 7
rts & enerainment
THE PAPER CHASE
A story about afirst year law student (TIMOTHY BOTTOMS)
trying to do well academically and date his professor's daugh-
ter at the same time. By the end of the film, he learns a pretty
important lesson about the grading system.
Sat, April 14 Not Sci Aud 7:00 & 9:00
-admission $ 1.50-
By DIANE HAITHMAN
The Professional Theatre Program
proves that the word "melodrama"
.need not have negative connotations
.:with its The River Niger, the situational
love/hate tragedy of a close-knit family
in Harlem. The large cast of the Guest
Artist Series production performs with
a rush of life and vigor almost alien to
the Power Center stage. Although not
every characterization captures the
Thr River Niger
By Joseph Walker
through April 15
Grandma Wilhelmena Brown ...Anna Aycox
Johnny Williams ............. Mel Winkler
Dr. Dudley Stanton ........... Louis Brown
Ann Vanderguild ............ ...Janice Reid
Mattie Williams .........Fran Washington
Rhonnie Washington, direcor
essence of the individual portrayed, the
total sense of the brief episode in
human action and emotion was caught
and held - with an overall effect both
vibrant and exhausting.
There were some technically lovely
touches. Most notable was the
ephemeral music, a sultry combination
.f bass and conga drums performed by
Abubakar Lo and Bamojuko .'
' Another was the authentic set of the
"Harlem home, startlingly warm and
cozy against the starkly ugly building
exteriors rising all around it. Both ef-
fects added to the sensuality of this
' hotly emotional play.
BUT IT WAS the actors, rather than
the peial effects, that made the show
click. Admittedly, the effectiveness of
.the drama waxed and waned along with
° performance quality, but the strong
consistent talents of a few held the work
together. Most praiseworthy was Mel
Winkler, in the leading role of Johnny
WWilliams. Winkler's performance was.
'first striking in. its understatement;
Walthough playwright Joseph Walker's
0-style of humor almost lends itself to
'overacting, Winkler manages to add a
'human and realistik touch to these
'btherwise cliche lines. Williams is an
hlcoholit,"bit ias a great deal of dignity
and a feeble yet glimmering hope for
-This family and his poetry. Winkler cat-
'ches the character as he is - both
failure and dreamer - in a surprisingly
r, The highlight of Winkler's perfor-
nance (and probably of the play)
comes at its end, with Winkler's
flawless death scene. It saves what
would otherwise be the low point of the
show, a hopeless muddle of gunshots
and distraught but aimless confusion as
'the police surround the Williams house.
One can go no further with this superbly
executed bit of pathos than to heartily
suggest going to experience it.
LET IT NOT be said that the show did
not also provide some top-notch actors
and actresses to complement Winkler.
Although no student performances had
quite the consistent polish of Winkler's,
a few were sharp and promising. First
on this list is Janice Reid as Ann Van-
derguild. Though the noble, true-blue
leading-lady role itself offers less room
for creative character development
than others in the work, Reid has a
rofessional stage presence and distin-
Sctive voice that command attention.
r Penguins cannot fly but can swim
through icy water as fast as a motor-
.goat. They can zoom out of water so fast
they can jump over a wall.
CINEMA II presents
COLOR A PARAMOUNT PICTURE
MALCOLM MACDOWELL (A Clock-
work Orange, O Lucky Man) delivers
a smashing debut performance in a
trio of conspiratorial and unruly sen-
iors in an English boarding school.
For those of you grimly facing im-
pending exams, this film should
provide a much needed catharsis.
The students' frustration and repres-
sion burst into a surreal, violent
climax as they extract retribution
from their prof-oppressors. "A movie
so brilliant-so special that, its dan-
gerous to write about .. .' Richard
She maintains the same high level of
quality she has displayed in a large
number of University productions. The
part could not have been better cast.
Anne Aycox, as Grandma
Wilhelmena Brown, does some nice
comic things with this ''character"~
role, although the stubbornly audacious
quality of the grandmother may be
more a product of the script than her
scene, in which she proceeds in a
feigned sleep to the kitchen to her stash
of secret liquor, was particularly well-
handled, hilarious, and well-received.
However, the humorous side of the
character never drops, and the true
emotions that might compel both the
members of her family and the audien-
ce to love her never break through.
Even at the death of her son, there was
no pathos to her reaction - and comic
relief definitely was not needed here.
FRAN WASHINGTON, as Mattie'
Williams, and W. Louis Brown as Dr.
Dudley Stanton, display laudable but
vacillating expertise. (When Brown is
good, by the way, he's really good.) The
members of Jeff Williams' gang,
played by Johnnie M. Woodston, Jr.,
Roy Harris, Lawrence Evans, and J.
Kenneth Smith all did tidy jobs of their
roles. Woodston, as Chips, made
audience members writhe in their seats
as they watched his cruel advances to
Ann Vanderguild. Lawrence Evans, as
the tautly-wired drug addict Skeeter,
was another key member of the gang.
Only Jeri-Lynn Rogers, as Gail, failed
to make anything significantof her
Marvin Dale Pettway, ' as Jeff
Williams, at first disappoints in his
handling of the role - although there is
nothing specifically negative about the
role he creates, one gets no sense of the
true character of Jeff in the first and
second acts. But, gradually, he warms
into an integral and strong facet of the
drama. One wishes the strength had
been exhibited earlier in the play as
Go see River Niger. Its fast pace, and
energetic rendering by PTP more than
do justice to Walker's drama - a work
of strange speech, strong commitmen-
ts, and strong love.
Lesbian & Gay Mole
Celebration .8 Dance
Saturday, April 14
9 p.m.-1 a.m.
Mirk$gan Union allroom
For information coll: 763-4186
Attention Freshmen !
NOVEMBER 1979- Better thdn ever ...
APPLICATIONS NOW TAKEN FOR:
COSTUMES * PUBLICITY * TICKETS * PROGRAMS
Applications Available at Michigan Union
2nd floor, Musket office
Apply by April 17
Tie Ann Arbor Film Cooperive presents at MLB 3
Friday, April 13
THE PINK PANTHER
(BlakeEdwards, 1964) f7only-MLB 3
PETER SELLERS created his best role, Inspector Clousseau of the Paris police,
in this justfiably famous comedy. Clousseau is the type of bungler whose
wife is not only two-timing him, but doing it with the jewel thief he's been
assigned to catch! THE PINK PANTHER has Sellers at his absolute best,
with David Niven a suave jewel thief. Famous score by Henry Mancini.
REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER
(Blake Edwards, 1978) 9 only-MLB 3
A smashing comeback for SELLERS and EDWARDS! This time, it's Inspector
Clousseau vs. the syndicate, out to smash the Hong Kong Connection. When
a contract is put out on Clousseau, he goes underaround. with soma of i
most outrageous disguises ever. "Just when you thought it was safe to go back
to the movies. . ." With DYAN CANNON, ROBERT WEBBER.
Tomorrow: Herzog's EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF
and GOD AGAINST ALL
7A9.. A L 15 A~ 2
HA.L-AUP1I0L?- tLL TAWAN
OF THE CLA
PEN & PENC
12 OR 14 KT.
)RS WITH THE
3HED LOOK AND
E TIME12 KT. List $3
A L Ours $21
14 KT. or List $4
Sterling Ours $3
/ f DESK SETS AVAILABLE
/ SPECIAL ORDER