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December 02, 1970 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-12-02

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Wednesday, December Z, 1970

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Wednesday, December 2, 1 97C

r

Black Theatre grows to meet
the needs of its own people

records
Re-issue of Copland
is sound satisfaction

By LAURIE HARRIS
There has always been a need
for Black Theatre across th e
country. The demand has not
necessarily been on New York's
Broadway for the black aud-
ience is not on Broadway; it is
within the various communities
of every town and city. And now
it is in Ann Arbor.
Realizing the necessity f o r
Black Theatre, University Play-
ers has imported director Leon-
ard Smith from Detroit a n d
Wayne State University's facul-
ty to direct Ron Milner's Who's
Got His Own, opening this eve-
ning in Lydia Mendelssohn
Theatre.
Smith has, been involved in
black drama since his under-
graduate days at Langston Uni-
versity in Oklahoma. This all
black college would not allow
the production of black drama
and Smith, along with several
other students, broke off from
the traditional school of drama
and started their own group.
Seen as a developing theatre
area, Smith believes that Black
Theatre "can be a leader for
black people in the directions of
pride, awareness' and freedom."
Smith says that American
drama and even the classics do
not .speak to the black heritage.
Blacks have difficulty believing in
Hamlet, for instance, because
he does not relate to their heri-
tage in Africa. And, Smith adds,
this heritage stems from a
rhythmic vibration - a dif-
ference In emotions; "Our 1 if e
style is based on music and op-
pression" - inherent tribal feel-
ings still remain in the back-
ground of the black today.
The reasons these feelings
have been retained, according to
Smith, is because of the white
class structure which slotted
blacks into the slavery system
for so long. "We still feel we are
from somewhere else - not ne-
cessarily because we want to
feel that way, but because of the
caste system we live (under."
Smith sees the moving and
expanding Black Theatre as
capable of presenting the var-
lous backgrounds of the people it
represents. In the past there were
only a few black playwrights,
but with growing interest in arts
and the theatre, the influx and
growth of blacks in this move-
ment has expanded to include a
great many more facets - all of
which are viable. And, S m i t h
believes, the movement will go
on growing, as the interest in
the arts also continues.
This interest, according to
Smith, was obviously present
during the tryout period for
Who's Got His Own. About
twenty-five or thirty students
showed up for the very few parts
in the play. And though most of
them were not really good act-
The Michigan Daily, edited and man-
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By DON SOSIN
If there is anyone who is re-
ceiving as much attention as
Beethoven these days, it is Aar-
on Copland, and in honor of his
70th birthday, Columbia has re-
issued some o 1 d recordings.
Among these is Copland con-
ducting the London Symphony
Orchestra in his Music f o r a
Great City and his Statements
for Orchestra. No one else, to
my knowledge, has recorded
these works; the Statements
are available on Everest with
the same personnel, while the
other work exists only on this
record and the previous CBS
issue.
As it is the composer himself
who is conducting, one must as-
sume that these works are per-
formed as he wants. His repu-
tation as a conductor (and pi-
anist) as well as composer is
well established, and these re-
cordings show a very high level
of musicanship. The orchestra
has a rich sound, especially in
the Music for a Great City. This
piece was commissioned by
them, incidentally, and the ma-
terial was taken from a film
score Copland wrote in 1961.
The original music dealt with
New York life, but by stretch-
ing the imagination, o n e can
picture London also. The music
itself contains echoes of Ingolf
Dahl and elements of jazz cre-
ating an effective tone poem.
The Statements for Orches-
tra are s i x brief movements,
each describing a specific mood
- militant, cryptic, dogmatic,
etc. This is an earlier w o r k
(1934) but the traits that one
perceives in the Music for a
Great City are here also, as they
are in all of Copland's music -
majestic phrases, references to
American folk material, and in
many cases a good deal of wit.
Here this is particularly evident
in the Jingo section, which at
times sounds like Stravinsky's
L'Histoire du Soldat and then
suddenly shifts into East Side,
West Side. There are times when
I would like to hear a freer in-
terpretation; the notes are oc-
ii
2 $00

4

F,

-

-Daily-Jim Judkis

ors or actresses they displayed
the interest Smith feels is grow-
ing in black youth.
But this brings out another
issue in the development of
black drama. To be quality work,
there must be competent play-
ers and good plays. So far there
has not been a derth of either.
according to Smith, but there
is a need for more. In one se-
mester of his teaching exper-
ience at Wayne, fourteen stu-
dents enrolled for his Black
Drama course. The next semes-
ter over seventy-five desired ad-
mission. The interest of blacks
to expand their culture through
drama is obviously present as
displayed by both of these ex-
amples.

Black Theatre is a growing de-
velopment. "The community is
becoming aware" says S m i t h.
"Black people support b 1 a c k
churches because of the ritualis-
tic vibrations," Smith believes
and he adds that blacks will,
support their own theatre if
these same vibrations and rit-
uals are built up within it.
Even though Black Theatre is
dealing with all class levels and,
either directly or indirectly, with
politics, Smith believes it must
retain an artistic level. "T h e
theatre is not a propaganda
platform," says Smith, "But it
must retain a political level"
and the difference between the
two is that of artistry.

I

4

RADICAL FILM SERIES
presents
SERGE'S PARAJANOV'S
WILD HORSE OF FIRE
(SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS)
IN COLOR
'--T" NIGHT -
7-9-11 P.M. Admission
CANTERBURY HOUSE
330 MAYNARD

75c

____
at
5 I

DIAL
5-6290

.M ICNIGIIM

Shows
1, 3
7, 9:01

POTTER'S
GUILD
SALE

I

"The funniest movie I've seen this
year! Just go, run to see it!"
- New York Post

THURS., FRI., SAT.
0
MUSICAL
PARTY
with
MICHAEL COONEY
(Thurs. and Sat.)
LARRY HANKS
JOE HICKERSON

A!
4W

December 6,1970
9 A.M. to 3 P.M.

LOVERS AnD
OTMER STRANGERS
*V CRC W
COLOR
-NEXT -
"The Baby Maker"
Daily Classifieds Get Results

... in the tent
201 HILL ST.

SARA GREY

(Fri. and Sat.)

Ann Arbor Blues Festival Benefit

BARRY O'NEILL
ROGER RENWICK
"better folk music than

AD

FEATURING

can
else

DEC. 6, 1910

EVENTS
BLDG.

be heard anywhere
in the country."
MICH. DAILY,
MARCH 27, '70

"Folk music has never
been more alive in Ann
Arbor."
MICH. DAILY,
MARCH 27, '70

~' '~ u
BUDDY GUY and
~~*M0101?, WELLS ~ ~ :

NoWED

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