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December 03, 1970 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-12-03

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday, December 3, 1970

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Thursday, December 3, 1970

Black consciousness
explored in U' drama

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By JIM HENNERTY
Black Theatre is a new and
important concept in the Ameri-
can cultural scene, and last
evening the University Players
introduced us to the movement
with a production of Ron Mil-
ner's Who's Got His Own.
The playwright claims that
the function of Black Theatre is
considerably different from tra-
ditional concepts of what drama
is all about: "Black Theatre is
an attempt to explore the
psychic conciousness of black
people . .. (it) functions . . . as
in the most primitive cultures
where it was the primary ve-
hicle for the transmission of
cultural values ..."
M i I n e r has written a play
which attempts to illustrate the
dehumanization of black people
resulting from the oppression of
white society.
The three members of the
Bronson family each have dif-
ferent approaches to life and
how to mitigate its pain and
suffering. Mama Bronson places
her faith in religion. Clara tries
for an accommodation with the
white man, a sort of ideal inte-
gration. which fails. Tim has
come to realize, through experi-
ences with his dead father, that
all illusions must be shat-
tered, and he does his best, on
the day of his father's ;funeral,
to make his mother and sister
face the ugly truth: that they
are more than ever under the
thumb of the white man. This
cathartic process is painful for
all three characters. But, by the
end of the play, they have at
least partially succeeded in this
realization.
But Tim's is an impotent
rage, which needs a construc-
tive outlet. His striking out at
the white man by physical as-
sault is useless. There are no
solutions to this particular prob-
lem in the play, only a hope
that the black man will devise
an answer. When Tim learns of
his father's hidden rage, similar
to his own, he hopes that that
/ is an indication of progress. He
sees an ,evolution from enslave-
ment to revolt to positive solu-
tions. To borrow Faulkner's fam-
ous phrase; the black man will
not only endure, but overcome.
Unfortunately, Milner's dra-
matic skills are not adequate
enough to put his point across
forcefully. The play is too loose-
ly structured and too sluggishly
paced. Tim's rage and the pow-
erful family catharsis fall flat-
.too diffuse to hit the audience
where it hurts. The dialogue is
very talkative, the speeches are
too long, the action minimal and
not very well placed.
Leonard Smith's direction only
emphasizes these faults, allow-

ing careless timing and a slow
pace to get the best of the per-
formance. Little attention is
paid to building climaxes and
giving the play ultimate shape.
The humorous lines don't come
off due to this general sluggish-
ness. Worse, the actors often
'step on' their colleagues' lines
at the wrong times, entering too
soon or waiting too long to
speak.
Despite these faults, Robert
McCullough, Gaynelle Clement
and Cassandra Medley perform
well, making the characters be-
lievable enough. Their gestures
should be more frequent and
more varied, and their timing
is often slack. However, McCol-
lough's Tim has a good deal of
vitality and Medley's third act
speech, as Tim's mother, is the
best part of the evening.
This is a worthwhile experi-
ence as an introduction to Black
Theatre, but it has serious dra-
matic deficiencies. Hopefully
we can look forward to the im-
provement of Milner's skills in
this area. Then, he will be able
to communicate his interesting
and important ideas more ef-
fectively than he does in Who's
Got His Own.
Barbour
The University almost t o r e
down Barbour Gymnasium. But
somewhere along the line the
building priorities got screwed
up, and they repainted it in-
stead. The lockers are still too
small to hold your clothes, and
the heating system often gets
the sniffles, but otherwise the
old barn, with its fresh pink,
blue and yellow walls, is almost
as good as new. Squatting in the
shadow of the 1950-sterile Chem
Building, it seems almost hom-
ey, quaint.
Every day a lot of leotard-
clad girls, swathed in sweat
pants, sweaters, and long under-
wear for warmth, and a few
brave b o y s in tights and T-
shirts, climb the wide staircases
of Barbour to the second floor
dance studio, where they twist
their bodies into attitude crois-
es or rotate their hips to an Af-
rican drum beat. For this high-
ceilinged studio, baby grand in
the corner and a closetful of
Wigman drums, is the sole home
of the University's dance dept.
Yes, a select group of dancers
are alive and kicking in Ann
Arbor, trying to get their heads
aid bodies together and to learn
why dance has suddenly become
so important here - now. And
it ain't easy when you are stuck

THURS, FRI., & SAT.
A MUSICAL
PARTY
with
MICHAEL COONEY
(Thurs. & Sat.
LARRY HANKS
JOE HICKERSON
SARA GREY
(Fri. & Sat.)
BARRY O'NEILL
ROGER RENWICK

I
U

Gym is somewhere

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away in the physical education
department and have no the-
ater and no lighting equipment,
few costumes and no money.
But they keep trying, though
they sometimes get discouraged
and almost depressed. They keep
beating their heads against
those freshly painted walls, for
the sheer joy of moving.
This Friday night, at 8 p.m.,
the dancers of the University
want to share their moving ex-
perience: they want you to be
their guests, gratis, at an infor-
mal little dance-together. They
will dance together while you
watch, or you can dance while
they watch, or everyone can sit
and watch each other. It will be

about movement, about what
they have been brewing all
term up in that stone-cold stu-
dio in their sweat-stiffened
longjohns.
It won't be the Rockettes -
what can you expect f r o m a
bunch of phys. ed. students? It
won't even be Martha Graham;
you'd have to pay a tidy sum to
get close enough to her dancers
to hear their joints crack. But
the Barbour crowd crack f o r
free, and at a close range too.
So climb the stair to the Studio
Friday night, and see the shape
of things to come as well as a
few nostalgic bits of the Ann
Arbor dance past. See for your-
self: Barbour Gymnasium lives!

4 -0
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Thurs.,
Fri., 7,

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9,

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HELD
OVER
AGAIN
6TH
WEEK

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ENVIRONMENTS DISC TWO CAN HELP YOU FEEL.

30oer

We'll spare you a science lesson. This is a new type of sound
-in astonishing stereo. It can do for your mind what a mas-
sage does for your body.
Environments, Disc Two has two sides, each superb in its

thoughts. Colors and smells will become more vivid. What
else it can do for you, we don't know exactly.
Side Two is"Dawn at New Hope-a superb re-creation, in
stereo, of rural America as it might have sounded 100 years

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