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September 04, 1970 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-09-04

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday, September 4, 197041

Friday, September 4, 1 97~b6

theatre
'Hedda': A psychological study

By LAURIE HARRIS
(EDITOR'S. NOTE: Leo Ciceri was killed in
a car accident a day after I saw him in three
plays at the Stratford, Ontario Festival. That
weekend he had played a subtley beautiful An-
tonio in "Merchant of Venice," a compassionate
LovbQrg in "Hedda Gabler" and a passionately
clever lachimo in "Cymbeline." He had been
with the Stratford company since 1960. There
will be continuing references to his work in these
p 1 a y s throughout the series of criticism on
Stratford's season.)
Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler gains much of
its dramatic potency through its placement in
a single room developing feelings of no escape;
no way out of the intense psychological drama
with which the viewer is confronted. The Strat-
ford Festival's production has mislocated the
play and put it on the thrust stage of the Fes-
tival Theatre rather than on the tightly knit
proscenium arch of the Avon.
Hedda Gabler is Ibsen's story of a woman
who searches to control the lives of those that
surround her. Loveberg, once her lover, has fin-
ally overcome his drunken habits to become a
brilliant natural historian, but under Hedda's
venomous guidance decides that he must kill
himself. He does so, not in the beautiful fash-
ion Hedda had prescribed (a bullet in the tem-
ple), but shoots himself in the stomach while
visiting a whore. Hedda's life is brought under
control of another, Judge Brack, and she de-
cides to take the only control over herself she
is now allowed - suicide. Judge Brack utters,
"People don't do things like that," the key to
Hedda's real character.
Once the viewer has overcome the psycholo-
gical difficulties of the thrust stage he is treat-
ed to one of the most brilliant performances I
have ever seen on the stage. Irene Worth car-
ries herself with all the grace and vindictive
thoughtfulness of which Hedda Gabler Tessman
should be comprised. Never once over or under

dramatic Hedda becomes powerful through Miss
Worth's subtle understanding and portrayal of
Ibsen's most fascinating female. She has the
furtive secretness of a cat ready to pounce, and
carries it in her haughtily raised chest through-
out the play.
Donald Davis plays the suave, assertive char-
acter of Judge Brack to be the male compliment
of Hedda's cunning. Constantly smiling, with a
slight bit of smirk, he is at ease with Hedda's
game of control and a bit too self-complacently
brings her under his power.
The passionate and intense character of
Lovberg is played by Leo Ciceri with an astute
comprehension of his past drunken ways, his
shaky present and suicidal future. Gillian Mar-
tell plays Thea Elvsted with too much emotion
compared to the others in the cast. She is al-
ways a little too frightened by Hedda and a lit-
tle too anxious over Eilert Lovborg. The weak-
kneed, 'yes-dear' Tesman is casually and well-
portrayed by Gordon Jackson.
Excluding the play's misplacement in t h e
Festival Theatre, director Peter Gill utilizes the
stage well for a play of inaction. The second act
opens in pitch darkness, rare in this particular
theatre - a shot - then raising the lights to
Hedda poised gracefully on the balcony - now
porch. The effect is shocking, but ideal. It some-
how typifies the character of Hedda as s h e
stands above all the others, essentially alone, in
a stark, high-necked, black dress.
Unfortunately, the intimacy one develops
with Hedda, Judge Brack, Lovborg, Tessman
can be partially lost on the thrust stage as one
gazes through the panorama of actors to the
backdrop of rows and balconies of people. At a
time when the Avon Theatre is feeling great fi-
nancial loss because of the public's nonaccept-
ance of modern drama, it would have been wise
to put this popular and actually excellent pro-
duction of Hedda Gabler in t o the setting in
which it would have been most effective.

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EVENINGS 169-4026

*

41

Coffeehouse
Welcomes You
Back to
Ann Arbor

Al

--Robert C. Ragsdale, Ltd.; Toronto
Irene Worth, Gordon Jackson and Gillian Martell in 'Hedda Gabler'
music
C.ooneyis, plin and simple fun

By DANIEL ZWERDLING.
Before Michael Cooney started
singing his first 90-minute set
last night at the Ark Coffee-
house I knew almost exactly
what I was going to write, sim-
ply because I think Cooney is
one of the most engaging folk
'singers in the country. Cooney
hasn't made headlines from New
York to Los Angeles, folk fans
don't drop his name as a fam-
ously-obscure "find," but if he
had the desire to expose him-
self around the States as much
as he has over the past four
years in Ann Arbor where he
first sang at the old Canter-
bury House, I'm convinced he
would become a hot "find" on
the folk market.
An evening with Michael
Cooney is rambling with his 12-
string guitar, banjo, concertina,
'harmonica and kazoo, lounging
through lazy ballads, stomping
with his incredible banjo reels,
laughing at his magic tricks,
sometimes drifting nostalgically
over deep personal problems
when he sobers down for a real-
ly lyrical, beautiful tune. Since
he started playing commercially
in Hollywood in 1961, with Bud
Travis, ;Cooney has become a
first-rate technician, 'especially-
on banjo and the 12-string. But
Cooney's charm lies beyond his
playing and singing - he says
himself that whether or not his
technique keeps improving (it
does) doesn't particularly im-.
press him. It's Cooney's attitude
tow a r d performing, which
makes him so rare; his relation-,
ship with his songs and his lis-
teners deflate his performance,
of all the pretensions which
good performers often build
over the years, and turn the
evening into an ingenuous, re-
laxed song-chat.
. Cooney isn't always good. Last
night I didn't enjoy him as much
as I have on other occasions; I
wanted him to play more, and
talk less. But that didn't change
the total good feeling about
Cooney, the same way in which
you don't begrudge a wonderful
friend when he Isn't terrifically
funny or incisive or brilliant.
Cooney doesn't perform, he
i s n 't a three - dimensional,
breathing color copy of a rec'-
ord, like so many coffeehouse
performers are today.
(He has cut a record on Folk
Legacy, but doesn't like it. Some

of the songs were recorded in a
living room, on a couch, just
like at the Ark, but without the
happy crowd w h i c h keeps,
Cooney smiling as he sings.)
He makes mistakes. Cooney
dreads becoming a "star" be-
cause it would, put him on a
pedestal, audiences would expect
perfection and be disappointed
if they didn't get it. "I love to
feel like I don't have to worry
about making mistakes," says
Cooney. "I could play a few
same songs over and over with-
out making mistakes, and go
crazy. I'd much rather play new
songs I like and make lots of
mistakes-like when you play
for friends. The songs I learned
last week are the ones I love
most."
Cooney has about 500 songs
under his belt, and says there
are 1000 more he's forgotten

I .-..-__ -.- ~-,-.*,-,,,,. ,-,,,,______________

With another
semester of
fine traditional
music

how to play. One he played last
night, "Nobody Knows the Way
I Feel This Morning," begins
with a delicate introduction high
on the frets; Cooney tried once,
muffed it, wdrked it out, played
it a second time absolutely
beautifully. I enjoyed the song
better than if it had rolled off
like a tape because I felt as if
the people sitting there, letting
Cooney know they wanted to
hear him, helped him develop it.
When Cooney sings and talks,
people have fun. Period. He's
one of the few performers who
has the whole crowd singing by
the second song. Anyone who
hasn't heard Cooney before-
especially freshmen-will start
, off the year with a great time if
they treat themselves to the
Ark tonight and tomorrow-the
lovliest folk coffeehouse in town
-and discover Michael Cooney.

"IT MAY BE THE MOST GLORIOUS BACHANAL
IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA. -SATYRICON'
IS LIKE AN ATLANTISTHA T HAS EMERGED
FROM THE DEEPEST ROOTS OF THE SOUL

TO MARK THE RETURN OF

FELLINI."
-Time Magazine

4th SMASH WEEK!
THIS
COTTON
DOESN'T SHRINK!
"THE FIRST GENUINELY COMIC, TASTEFUL PIECE OF FILM TRIVIA
SINCE SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF' .. GREAT FUN" ., .
says Susan Stark, Detroit Free Press
"CONSIDERABLE FUN... A PLOT THAT
TWISTS AND TURNS IN THE MANNER
OF A JAMES BOND SAGA"...
says Ken Barnard, Detroit News
- e
GOIDWYN JR'
44
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OPEN 12:45
TB OW TA ,57, & 9 P.M.
BO FFICE OPENS
dpo 2:45 P.M.
Corner State & Liberty Sts. NEXT
DIAL 662-6264 "House of Dark Shadows"

1431 "Kill STRET
FRISAT.
Michael
wCooney
"Two young men proved to
be both natural show stoppers
and serious performers of rare
skill. Bob Dylan and Michael
Cooney."
-San Francisco
Examiner
"Cooney drew a standing ova-
tion until he reappeared."
-Tucson Daily Citizen
proceeded to amaze
n other words one doesn't
about M.C., one listens
to him."
--Mich. Daily
$1.25
1421 Hill STET
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Before~ Chit

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Doors open Shows at DIAL
12:45 7,9P . NO 5-6290

IrJILW

"If you see with innocent eyes, everything is divine"
-FELLINI

An ALBERTO GRIMALDI Production
'FELLINI SATYRICON'

SAT. 1 P.M. a.
(AFTERNOON)
FREE
Woody
Guthrie
Workshop
by Guthrie biographer
DICK REUSS
SUN. 8:30
Bob Franke
composer of songs good
enough to have captured the
interest of Joan Baez
Ann Arbor culture-hero now

4

starring
MARTIN POTTER - HIRAM KELLER.+ MAX BORN - SALVO RANDONE - MAGALI NOEL
ALAIN CUNY - LUCIA BOSE .TANYA LOPERT- GORDON MITCHELL with CAPUCINE
Story and -o
Screenplay by FEDERICO FELLINI and BERNARDINO ZAPPONI
COLOR by DeLuxe' PANAVISION' Untd ApI'th
dr *" -- e aomn~n

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'Ma ' 13..~ I

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