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October 15, 1970 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-10-15

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

w

ThursdQy, October 15., 1970

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Thursday, October 15, 1970

theatre
Cactus Flower.
Classical-fa rce
By JAQUES
The Ann Arbor Civic Theatre production of Cactus Flower
opened last night at Trueblood Theatre. Abe Burrows" delightful
comedy based on a play by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy,
is a classic farce complete with multiple sets, eachcontaining at
least three doors, and multiple characters each with at least three
lovers. More about the plot cannot be said without spoiling it for
you-suffice to say that Cactus Flower is a very enjoyable evening.
I was astonished by the number of settings achieved on the
Triieblood stage. Designer Dwight Stevenson deserves credit for,
great ingenuity in putting them all together, for the Trueblood
stage has not only an apron, which is an excellent device for
bringing the action of the play out into the audience, but also
a second level about six feet back and three steps up from the
regular stage level. For productions such as Shakespeare and the
epics of Brecht, the floor plan is very suitable. It lends itself to
pageantry. But it seems a needlessly limiting device upon those
who,.would use this fine theatre for other styles of production.
See Cactus Flower as an example. (While we're on real estate, is it
not possible for the University to place a few lights in front of the
Frieze Building to suggest there might be a theatre within?)
The performance started off a little roughly. Robert Reinhart
in the leading role insisted on punching his lines until they began to
cry for mercy. They are funny and play well of themselves, if al-
lowed. I would also suggest that- another night's run should tight-
en up some of the timing which was about half a beat slow.
Judy Levitt as Toni Simmons is delightful, but I think the
part plays better with more naivete and innocence. She is an
idealist, impractical and whimsical. As such she is set in sharp
contrast to the solid Miss Dickinson. In this performance, she
came out far too bitchy which destroys the essential humor of the
situation. Betty Ann Gould as the nurse grew better and better as
the evening went along. Her metamorphosis in the second act was
breathtaking-costume credit here-arid one hopes that after the
strain of opening night, she will relax a little more and enjoy
it. Michael W. Bott as the writer, Igor Sullivan also started
slowly, but in the end did a commendable job.
Farce demands, precision of -character and precision of tim-
ing. Civic's Cactus is still a little prickly on these two points. The
humor comes primarily from the situation in which the char-
acters unnaturally find themselves in. This is in the script or
should be. In performance, the actor makes a mistake to think
of his laugh lines as isolated instances, for when the audience
is slow he tends to lean too heavily on the lines and away from
the character which debilitates the humor even further.. This
play is somewhat misleading to the amateur, for Burrows has in-
eluded some lines which are genuinely funny in. and of them-
selves. But a play is not a series of one liners strung to the
end. There are many would-be playwrights strung end to end
along Forty-Fourth Street as proof of that. A play is people
reacting to a situation. It is the actor's job to make these people
come alive. And for the most part, in Cactus Flower, they do.
r re
Oppenheimer combines
relevance and repertory

music-
Stanley Quartet dispas unity

By DONALD SOSIN
The string quartet is perhaps,
the most delicate relationship
that exists in music, and to
achieve a sense of unity in quar-
tet playing is a difficult feat. To
do so, moreover, when there has
been a recent change of person-
nel, poses problems that can-
not be solved in a short space of
time. The Stanley Quartet,
which gave their first concert
of the season last night in
Rackham Lecture Hall, never-
theless seems to have overcome
many of these problems.
Edwin Grzesnikowski has tak-
en the position of first violin
More Arts coverage on Page 6
which had been held by Gil-
bert Ross, who founded the
quartet in 1949, and just re-
tired last term. One can only be
amazed at how quickly the oth-
er members. Gustave Rosseels,
Robert Courte, and Jerome Je-
linek have apparently adjusted
to their new colleague. T h e
playing throughout was precise
and the quartet always func-
tioned as a whole, with never
the feeling thathone member was
dominating, except, of course,
when required by the music to
do so.
The program consisted of
three works, the first being the
Quartet in F, Op. 77, No. 2,
by Haydn. The work is n o t
particularly distinguished, but
is pleasing and the Quartet's
playing was assured and equal
to the virtuoso writing. As us-
ual, Haydn comes up with some
surprises, in this case in the
Scherzo, which contains rhy-
thmic elements that look f a r
ahead to the corresponding
I4

movement in Beethoven's Op. 18,
No. 6. The Andante is serene,
and interesting in the fact that
the theme appears in a work of
P.D.Q. Bach (1807-1742).
Leslie Bassett wrote his Five
Pieces for String Quartet for
this ensemble; it has become
well-known in America and
abroad, and is an effective work.
Each movement follows basically
the same pattern, beginning
tensely, building to a climax,
and dying away; this gives a
unifying feeling to the pieces.
The, repetition of various ef-
fects irl combination from
movement to movement also un-
ified the piece: trills, pizzicato
and setting off one instrument
at a time while the others pro-
vided a tense accompaniment.
The endings of the pieces, al-
though similar, were always
poignant, 'usually fading into
high harmonics. Once again, the
feeling of true ensemble play-
ing was all the more amazing
considering that Grzesnikowski
probably had a very short time
in which to learn the work.
Finally, William Walton's
Quartet in A minor demanded
the most concentration. It

changes frequently in mood
from lyrical to frenzied, but is
always dynamic and powerful.
The four movements are well
organized, particularly the bril-
liant Scherzo, played with a
precision seldom felt.
One criticism of almost all
School of Music concerts is the
lack of program notes. As
knowledgeable as the Ann Ar-
bor community may be, many
people would undoubtedly ap-
preciate knowing something
about works which they have not
heard before. At present, only
Contemporary Directions c o n-
cert programs have notes.
The Quartet will give three
more concerts this year and one
can hope for continued growth
in their new partnership.

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INTERESTING PEOPLE...
BACH CLUB
presents
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a talk by
WILLIAM LICURSE

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A Fresh Idea

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L

71

TONIGHT AT 8:00!

THIS WEEK ONLY!

THE'NAVTRSF MCOMPA
INTRODUCES
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OCT. 13-18

Do something different
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OCT. 18 5-8 P.M.
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The performance of Heinar
Kipphardt's play, In the Mat-
ter of J. Robert Oppenheimer,
was a marvelous reaffirmation
of the reasons why universities
should support repertory com-
panies. Michigan's Professional
Theatre Program has, of course,
been doing this for ten years,
and the debut of The Actors
Company put another feather in
the PTP cap. Surely we m a y
wish this new company as much
success as WTP's first foundling,
the APA.
One of the major reasons, for
assembling a 'company to play
together- overan extended per-
iod is to achieve "ensemble act-
ing." This goal is to have each
performer react on stage almost
instinctively to his' fellows. It
is such long associations which
give -the final penache to the
superlative performances of
such groups as the Moscow Art
Theatre and the British Nation-
al Theatre. That this ensemble
has not_ been achieved by The
Actors Company should be no
real disappointment, for their
first effort results in a fine ev-
ening of theatre. I was totally
engrossed by the play and sur-
prised at the end that we had
been there three hours.
The scene of the play is the
1954 hearings on the security
clearance of Dr. Oppenheimer
and presents an intellectually
fascinating counterpoint

of ideas. The theme is a scien-
tist's responsibility in a world
where the nature of his discov-
eries force a division of loyalties
between his government and
mankind. In the course of the
discussion about limiting one's
personal freedom for the sake
of the government was a very
significant kernel which w e n t
almost unnoticed. Do not gov-
ernments have a similar respon-
sibility tplimit their own sov-
ereignty where matters of hu-
man survival are at stake?
Oppenheimer speaks at t h e
end of the play of a re-evalua-
tion of his life's thrust as it has
played before him during the
security hearing; he will change
this pattern as a result of the
experience and "study war no
more." All this is well and good,
but we do not see this decision
,See A DOCUMENTARY, Page 6

I I

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f

State & Liberty Sts.

I3
I
p
f~
al

Regents' meeting and
demand more housing.
In the New Ad. building
TODAY

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Joseph ELevnepresens
An AvoEmbassy ff
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next door

STUDENT ACTIVISM
A World Wide Phenomenon
a five-week Thursday lunch series of the
Ecumenical Campus Center, 921 Church
THIS WEEK-OCTOBER 15-12 NOON
"Student Activism in Technological Societies"
Speakers: GIACOMO, COSTA, Italy
GABY ESPENSHADE, Germany
DANIEL OKIMOTO, USA-Japan
is an international "student culture" developing?
Does the world wide movement have common roots?
LUNCH RESERVATIONS: 662-5529

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Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
presents
"CACTUS FLOWER"
by ABE BURROWS
October 14-17, Trueblood Theatre
Ticket Prices: $2:00 -$2.50
Box Office Open Mon. & Tues., 10 A.M.-5 P.M.;
Wed.-Sat., 10 A.M.-8 P.M.

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Featuring the WHIZ KIDS
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