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April 09, 1971 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-04-09

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Fridov. Anrii 9. 19711..

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Frdn~, Anrul ~ lQ71~..

i ,.iu y, . i it , i r

Tw

theatre
4ameo performances shine
in 'U' Plyer's 'Maxim's'

music

I

Melodious

'U'

Musicum

*

By WILLIAM TATE
The claim that Georges Fey-
deau is the greatest French
comic dramatist after Moliere
may say less about Feydeau than
it says about the comparative
paucity of French comic genius
since Moliere.
Feydeau farce is not written
but manufactured. Cosequently,
it- bears more than a little re-
semblance to a machine. The
Girl from Maxim's is a lot like a
Sopwith Camel. It's a sturdy ve-
hicle that is remarkably manu-
verable once in the air, but get-
ting it up is the tricky part. It re-
quires, in a word, delicacy, a sure
touch at the controls.
At moments the University
Players' production of Maxim's,
directed by James Coakley, evi-
dences the necessary control, but
too often the air is so full of
stapsticks and Punch bats that
the play is much obscured. Too
often Mr. Coakley has either
failed to restrain his actors, or
urged them to go too far. In so
doing he has done the play nnd
his cast a disservice.
Laughter, comes in as many
varieties as there are ways of
eliciting it. Knowing this Fey-
deau didn't write his play all on
one note. He was a professional
huntsman who knew netter than
to use an elephant gun on a
prairie chicken. This production,
'however, operates too much (on
one level. The audience can be
roared, gawked, and shouted at
only for so long before the whole
thing begins to pale.
Maxim's gives an audience
nothing to think or feel deeply
about, so there has to be a great
deal to enjoy. Stephen Wyman,
as Dr. Mongicourt, brings needed
nuance and subtlety to his per-
formance. His outbursts and
exclamations a r e theatrically
meaningful because he has cre-
ated something to set them
against. Time and again he
shows himself the master of be-
fuddlement that turns into an
understanding, thence into an
action. He works with, within and
against the play. He stands just
on the edge of the piece, always
working, but not so hard that
there's ever any sense of strain;
he allows Feydeau's magic an
opportunity to happen. When he
makes his second appearance late
in Act II one can only sigh with
relief, "At last".
Priscilla L i n d s a y, as the
Shrimp, brings to her part a
seemingly endless supply of ener-
gy and endearing vivacity. One
may disagree with elements in
her interpretation, but second
thoughts fall rapidly by the way-
side as she captures heas right
and left, on stage and beyond the
footlights.
Athhis first appearace there
is the possibility that William
Russ (Etienne) will go too far
with his limp-wristed retainer.
He clears the hurtle easily in
each of his subsequent appear-
ances and consistently leaves the
stage to applause.
All the complications that make
thenplay run fall upon Dr. Pey-
Pon. Everything in the world
seems to happen to this man, an
I think that his indefatigable re-
sourcefulness indicates a more in-
teresting person than swvan Jef-
fries lets us see. Mr. Jeffres
falls prey to that temptation, so
.persistent, in farce, to biucgeen'
everything to death. He begins
his heavyhanded attack early in
the production, and we tire of the
good doctor before the evening's
out.
While everyone is trying to tool
Mine. Petypon (Sr. FrancescA
Thompson) or dismiss her as
"that mad one", the audience is
fast laughing with and loving her.
She has many superb moments
dealing with seraphs, archangels,
ghosts, and amorous noblemen.
Terence Lamude epitomizes

Lieutenant Marollier in a meti-
culously executed construct of
eccentric arabesques for the
hands, arms, eyes, eyebrows and
cheek muscles. Steve Chapman
makes of his Streetcleaner a
youthful Groucho Marx sans
cigarand glasses. Glen Crane,
as the Abbe Chantreau, con-
NATIONAL GENERAL'S-l

vincingly sloshes in drunken be-
musement through much of the
second act.
Mr. Coakley has done himself
proud with his four provincial
fashion mongers, Cindy Ballard,
Anne Temple, Suzanne Diecknian
and Mary Poole. They are a gag -
gle of great geese honking and
breezing from one side of the
stage to the other.
Mme. Sauvarel, in Betty Ann
Gould's masterful interpretation,
comes hopping on in fear of fall-
ing flat on her face, her fingers
and fan going in 20 directions at
once. She never quite makes it
to the floor, but teeters pre-
cipitously on the brink for as long
as we see her.
John Arnone never lets us fcr-
get that his fickle popinjay,
Lieutenant Corignon, is not only
a weakling but a man only in
love with himself. Teresa Power
(Clementine) hewes an exact
line between the character's de-
mure self and her Newly ac-
quired role as a seductress.
There is insufficient space to
discuss e v e r y performance
worthy of note. Others deser ving
special mention include Walter

Mugdan as the Duke de Val-
monte; Irene Connors and Paul
Otis as M and Mme Vidauban.
Ursula Belden's super, art
nouveau setting is simply per-
fect. The same must be said for
the costumes of Zelma Weis-
feld. They appear to have been a
labor of love and are inspired
fun. Douglas Pope is responsible
for lighting the show. He suc-
ceeds in putting the costumes and
the set in the best possible light,
a light that exactly and unob-
trusively creates the various
moods required.
In spite of claims made for it,
there is too little honest comedy
in this production. Any farce that
takes three and a half lours to
engineer its particular orm ;orf
madness is likely to become more
than a little raving, especially
if it grinds to a more or less tech-
nological halt.
Maybe the production lets us
see too much of Feydeau the re-
lentless exploiter. In any case,
Mr.' Coakley's production fails in
the final analysis because it lacks
the qualities essential for suc-
cess-charm, sophistication, and
genuine joyfulness.

By DONALD SOSIN
It is always a pleasure when,
at a concert, both performers
and audience thoroughly enjoy
themselves, and for this, there
has been nothing on campus in
recent memory to compare with
the concert by the U-M Collegium
Musicum Tuesday evening in the
University Reformed Church.
The director of the Collegium
is Thomas Taylor, who, in addi-
tion to teaching music history and
rehearsing his group, is also a
virtuoso on the uncycle, as a
few students discovered Wednes-
day in an impromptu .adenza
outside the School of Music.
The group evidently relishes
performing and sharing early
masterpieces with others, as was
most apparent in the last work
on Tuesday's program, a Mass
of Jean Mouton. Discovered by
David Crawford two summers
ago in an Italian castle, the Moss
received its first performance
since Mouton's time (c. 1458-
1522) this week. It is a work of
tremendous beauty and deserves
a place among the best of the
choral literature. Similar themes
link the five sections, all gems,
although the Sanctus and Agnus
Dei were the most transporting.
The Collegium Vocal Ensemble

has an amazing sound, always
smooth and clear; one felt, fur-
thermore, that the singers were
involved to the utmost, a feeling
which the audience could not
help duplicating.
One was entranced from the be-
ginning of the program, when,
after a short prelude for veille
(a small stringed instrument)
and organ, the choir marched up
the aisle, led by Taylor who beat
time with a type of sistrum, a
long staff with bells on top, while
the choir sang a conductus from
the 13th century. The effect cre-
ated was indescribably delicious,
to coin a phrase, and one knew
that a real treat was in store.
After a setting of the chant
Haec Dies, accompanied by vari-
ous instruments, our attention
was diverted to the organ loft,
where Barbara Achte: played a
dance on the bagpipe. The sound
is at first compelling, but can be
monotonous after a while, as
Achter testified.
Next were a group of 14th cen-
tury Italian madrigals, which
did not make a very strong im-
pression, but were pleasing
enough. Two outstanding soloists
were Anita Kalousdian and
Roger Holtz, both of whose voices
are characterized by a refined,
gentle tone.

Some dances for shawms and
percussion preceded the next vo-
cal group, three 15th century
English carols. The bells which
made up part of the accompani-
ment seemed the perfect choice
as an unobstrusive background,
and worked particularly well la-
ter in the Mouton, where ihey
added a floating quality to their
function of keeping the pitch up.
After intermission came works
by Josquin des Prez, renowned
master of the motet and other
vocal forms who died 450 years
ago, which anniversary is being
noted this year with seminars
and special concerts.

A brief, charming selection by
an excellent quartet of recorders
led to two light songs, "Petite
Camusette" and "Basies Moy,"
full of canons and refreshing to
listen to, although one wished the
solosits in the latter had been
more audible.
And then the Mouton Mass. One
could not have asked for a better
close to such a satisfying pro-
gram that was a much fun as it
was musically enriching.

MARINA $300 TO 450
WEDDING RING 34.75

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U;

C

records
Reworking the country theme

By MICHAEL BERNSTEIN
Although the press has turned
its attention during the last two
years fromhcountry-rock to jazz-
rock and then to the individual-
istic troubadour, long-haired rock
stars equipped with steel guitars
still abound. Randy Burns and
the Sky Dog Band presents yet
another reworking of the coun-
try theme. The results are plea-
sant, but hardly earthshaking.
Although picking out influences
is a dangerous and often fruit-
less method by which to review
a record, it is impossible to avoid
in Randy Burns' case. The vocals<
often sound like Neil Young, but
more often like the Bee Gees,
which is pretty startling in what
is basically a country album. And
some of the guitar licks must
have been taken straight from
Neil Young's first album. The
words are typical for the c un-
try-rock genre, mixing homey
sayings ("If you take to the city,
mama, the city treats you well")
and semi-obscure love songs,
which are comforting while far
from stimulating. The feel of the
album as a whole smacks of

Jesse Winchester's excellent al-
bum. Winchesterbis a must;
Randy Burns is borderline.
While this album shows no
great originality, I refrain from
panning it, because, at the vety
least, Burns often shows good
taste in the artists he chooses to
emulate. The tunes vary from
folk to country and western to
bluegrass, and David Bromberg's
bottleneck guitar and dobro liven
up two numbers. But there re-
mains no reason to buy Randy
Burns instead of the origifals.
There is a tendency among rock

fans to limit their country se-
lections to groups like Poco and
the Flying Burrito Brothers.
While there is much to be said
for these groups, ignoring s-
kickers like Merle Haggard and
Buck Owens is being as narrow-
minded as buying Janis Joplin
and Joe Cocker for soul to the ex-<
clusion of Ray Charles or Otis
Redding. It may be harder to
identify with a middle-aged right-
winger in spangles or a black
man in a shiny suit than with a
young white guy in bell-bottoms,
but in terms of hearing all the

music that is deserving of at-
tention, it is well worth the ef-
fort. So if Randy Burns might
moderately please you, Jesse
Winchester or even Merle Hag-
gard might really make you lis-
ten, and there's a world of dif-
ference.
fI

The two motets we heard were r
followed by two works played by
the consort of viols, led by F
Charles Bikle. In the second, Pa- 121
tricia Deckert's lilting contralto Do
voice blended superbly with the Old
viols for a rare thrill.
. ~~ ~.*"4 ": : .:: :V *r:.: ....... - . r .... ". r *f."ti..*. . . ::: ":: :ri:i:::}:
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"FLASH GORDON-:-
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(1938)
starring BUSTER CRABBE, JEAN ROGERS and
CHARLES MIDDLETON (as "Ming the Merciless")
Feature film made from the original
Flash Gordon serials.

I

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FARCE COMEDY!
w{ The Girl
from
Maxim's
by Feydeau
Mendelssoha Theatre
Box Office-12:30
$2.50 TOP!
THRU SAT.

Fri. and Sat.
7:00, 9:00,11:00 (three big shows)
Aud. A, Angell Hall

April 9, 10

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Hitchcock's "THE 39 STEPS" will be
shown during Exam week.
Due to technical difficulties, "The Loneliness of the
Long-Distance Runner," orignally scheduled for this
weekend, will not be shown.
NEXT WEEK:
An explosive double-feature:
"THE DUTCHMAN" and "SCORPIO RISING"

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