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April 12, 1975 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1975-04-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Saturday, April 12, 1975

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

'Brel' offers sharp
cabaret theatre show

By ANDREW ZERMAN }
A very special show opened at
the Campus Inn on Wednesday'
night. Jacques Brel Is Alive and
Well and Living in Paris, after
playing all over the world, has1
arrived belatedly but none the
worse for it, in Ann Arbor. If
this production of the Belgian's
songs isn't ideal, it's quite close
enough to it to warrant an un-
equivocal recommendation.
What marvelously effective
musical theatre the songs of'
Jacques Brel make! They pre-
sent specific characters and sit-
uations, not simply abstract
moods or feelings. Spoken words
are superfluous; all is express-
ed in the music.
So what Jacques Brel needs
are singers who are also actors
-actors who can put over a
song. Director Michael House
has collected five of them. All
not only have natural talent
but an air of confidence, polish
and intelligence onstage that al-
loys them to make the most of
their talent. And herein lies the
not at all mysterious success of
this production: with the excep-
tion of Judy Manos, whom I felt
was sadly miscast, the perform-
ers are excellent.
Whether cynically speculating
on his funeral or relishing the
dream of acting "cute in a

stupi-assed way", or, most pow-,
erfully, remembering the horror
of an unusual army induction,a
David Paymer interprets Brel's
songs flawlessly. He demon-
strates extraordinary versa-
tility, evoking shivers in one
song and laughter a few min-
utes later. He is the best ofI
a fine lot.
Early in the show Mardy Med-
ders stands at the side of the
stage and sings about death.
The number is a textbook ex-
ample of what stage presence
is all about. Medders barely
moves her body, but her face is
so warm and enchanting that
she mesmerizes the acdience.
She doesn't need histrionics or
fancy stage business. The al-
most breathtaking sincerity and
loveliness of her face suffices.
There should have been more of
Medders in this show.
Which brings us to Manos,
whose abilities are perhaps
greater than anyone else in the
cast but who is simply out of
place here. "Marieke" demands
a sense of vulnerability in the
singer, a suggestion of fragility.
It should be sung by a wide-
eyed waif. (Since Edith Piaf
isn't around, I suspect Medders
could have handled the song
quite well.) Manos overwhelms
it, as she does "Sons."

The audience, I admit, was
clearly moved. But storm-
trooping through the song, so
proper for much of American
theatre music, is not what
should be done to Brel, whose
songs reek of Gallic flavor.
House's direction, for the
(most part, is simple and effec-
tive although now and then his
staging distracts from the
songs. "Brussels" was a bit too
chaotic and it was a mistake,
I think, to play "Mathilde" and
"Timid Frieda" just for laughs.
But "Marathan," "If We Only
Have Love" and the stunning
"Carousels" made up for the
others.
Candles added beautifully to
the atmosphere, as did Craig
Wolf's lighting - at least until
"Carousels" when spotlights
were used annoyingly to convey
what the cast and musicians
were already conveying bril-
liantly on their own.
A Jacques Brel song needs no
more than good performers and
a small, lively band to work its
magic. The Campus Inn has
them both and should have re-
sisted the occasional tendency
to give us more, whether in the
form of a too imposing per-
former or a too clever director.

TOUGH FURNITURE
NEW YORK (M)-Sturdy an
damage-proof, fiber-glass furn
ture is fast becoming bas
decor in high-traffic, high-u
public places.
At Kennedy Airport. mor
than 5.000 fiber-glass chairs
the International Arrivals ai
Departures Building are retai
ing their appearance and soun
ness despite extensive use.
"Lov
thy
This is a religious precelpt tha~
challenges the mind. Love my ei
emy when I can barely deal calmi
with my in-laws? Yet this hard sa
ing lies validity in a world w~her
even a small act of violence hi
such unforeseeable repercussion
Scientific advances have heightei
ed our mutual vulnerability. Gnl
love and non-violence can sustai
us. We may coned~e violence is
all of us. So is God. Try His wa;
It works. Get together with you
family, friends, neighbors, or
workers to discuss the problems
Sviolence and how you can work L
Sgether to help solve them. For
Shelpful discussion guide and fu
then information write: Religion I
IAmerican Life. 475 Fifth Ave., Ne
York, N.Y. 10017. Play an activ
role in yourcommunityR A
and help show thewa- .m.,a
Mlake ity~otr wai
1y
I.

n- CAMPUS CHAPEL
d- 1236 Washtenaw Ct.
Pastor: Don Postema
10:15 a.m.-Morning Service.1
. Special on World Food Crises.
6:00 p.m. - Evening Service.
Discussion on Communal Living
and Christian Life Style by
Andrew Foster.
FIRST UNITED METHODIST
, ICHURCH
State at Huron and Washington
Communion in the Chapel at
8:30 a.m.
Worship Services and Church
School at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.
(Nursery Care). Sermon: 'The
Great Divorce" by Dr. Donald
B. Strobe.
10:30-11:00 a.m. - Fellowship:
Hour in Wesley Lounge.
Worship Service broadcast
over WNRS AM (1290) each
Sunday, 11:00-12:00 noon.
WESLEY FOUNDATION:
Sunday, April 13:
4:30 p.m. -Program: Finger
Painters'I-leaven. Come and
experience a creative time.
Wesley Lounge.
6:00 p.m. -S u p p e r, Pine
Room.
6:45 p.m.-Celebration.
at Thursday, April 17:
n- 6:00 p.m.-Wesley Grad Com-
Y munity, dinner and program.
Y- Call 668-6881 for details.
e Friday, April 18:
as 6:15 p.m.-Young Marrieds-
Is dinner and program on the food
n- and hunger situation in the
Y world.
n * * *
n UNIVERSITY CHURCH OF
Y. THE NAZARENE
ur 409 S. Division
'O- M. Robert Fraser, Pastor
Of Church School-9:45 a.m.
°- Morning Worship-11:00 a n.
a Evening Worship-7:00 p.m.
r-I
n* *
'W ST. ANDREW'S EPSICOPAL
e CHURCH, 306 N. Division
8:00 a.m.-Holy Eucharist.
W 10:00 a.m. -Morning Prayer
and Sermon.
CANTERBURY HOUSE

LORD OF LIGHT LUTHERAN
CHURCH (ALC-LCA)
(Formerly Lutheran Student
Chapel)
801 S. Forest Ave. at hill St.
Gordon Ward, Pastor
Sunday Service at 10.30 a.n.
ANN ARBOR CHURCII
OF CHRIST
530 W. Stadium Blvd.
(one block west of
U of M Stadium)
Bible Study - Sunday, 9:30'
a.m.-Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Worship-Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
and 6:00 p.m.
Need Transportation? C a I I'
662-9928.
BETHLEHEM UNITED
CHURCH OF CHRIST
423 S. Fourth Ave. Ph. 665-6149
Minister: Orval L. E. Willimannj
10:00 a.m. - Worship Service
and Church School.
6:00 evening service.
UNIVERSITY REFORME)
CHURCH, 1001 E. Huron
Calvin Malefyt, Alan Rice,
Ministers
9:30 a.m.-Church School.
5:30 p.m.--Student Supper.
10:30 a.m -Morning Worsiip.
*. * *
UNIVERSITY CHURCH
OF CHRIST
Presently Meeting at
YM-YWCA, 530 S. Fifth
David Graf, Minister
Students Welcome.
For information or transpor-
tation: 663-3233 or 662-2494.
10:00 a.m. - Sunday Worshipt
Service.

FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST,
SCIENTIST
1833 Washtenaw
Sunday Service and Sunday;
School-10:30 a.m.
Wednesday Testimony Meet-
ing-8:00 p.m.
Child Care-Sunday, under 2
years; Wednesday, through 6
years.
Reading Room - 306 E. Lib-
erty, 10-9 Mon., 10-5 Tues.-Sat.
* * *
ST. MARY STUDENT CHAPEL
(Catholic)
331 Thompson-663-0557j
Weekend Masses:
Saturday: 5 p.m. and midight.
Sunday: 7:45 a.m., 9 a.m.,
10:30 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m.
(plus 9:30 a.m. North Campus).
* * *
UNIVERSITY LUTHERAN
CHAPEL (LCMS)
1511 Washtenaw Ave. 663-5560
Alfred T. Scheips, Pastor
Sunday Services at 9:15 and
at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Bible Study at 9:15.
Midweek Worship Wednesday.
Evening at 10:00.
F

Chw-c / Z-r --eicej

I

I

DUTCH SEAMAN'S CAP $8.95
Peaked trawler cap, borrowed
from a Dutch Seaman's gear
bag. Wind and water repellent.
Dark blue nylon. Sizes: Sm.
(6%-6%); Med. (7-71); Lg.
(74-7%); XL. (7/-7%).
NORDIC CAP $11.95
Some call it Swedish - others
call it the Greek Cap. High
quality, dark navy wool serge
with black braid embroidered
on visor and band. Sizes: Sm,
(6%-6%); Med. (7-7%); Lg.
(7%-7%); XL. (7/-7%). Also
available in blue twill with black
braid $8.95.
WIDE INTERLACE BELT $9.95
All cotton braided macrame in
a fashionable 11 " width. Buck-
les are nickel silver. Specify
color; White or Navy, and spe-
cify buckle: Anchor or Shin's
Wheel. Sizes: Sm. (28-32);
Med. (34-36); Lg. (38-42);
XL. (44-46).
Send check with order to:
SURF 'N SAIL
278 City Island Avenue
City Island, N.Y.10464

Brecht's 'Woman' seems
uneven in RC performance

GESTALT THERAPY
CONTRIBUTION
THEORY
WEEK-LONG
WORKSHOP
MAY 1-7 $125 fee
PETER FLEMING
Dir. of Pellin Institute
Montecorice, Ita ly
Call PETER or CLEA
for info and registration
769-3806

Read and Use
Daily Classifieds

By CHRIS KOCHMANSKI
Experiencing the Residential
College Players' production of
Bertold Brecht's The Good Wo-
man of Setzuan was rather like
sitting through a particularly
excruciating Sociology 100 lec-1
ture.
Brecht's work is, according to
the subtitle, a "parable play,"
and the-efore one is continually
bombarded with double-talk phi-
losophy and twisted plays on
words. Brecht forsakes subtle-
ty altogether in his symbolic!
representations; the result is
three hours of overblown Marx-
ist philosophizing and a serious
deficiency of dramatic tension.
Setzuan concerns a prostitute-
turned - shopkeeper who seeks!
the "impossibility of goodness."!
Shen Te, "this whore with a
heart of gold," is exploited in
every way, shape, and means
by her acquaintances - and in
the play's best scenes, is cheat-
ed in love - but remains good
natured and trusts her instincts
for charity throughout.
Setzuan is performed very in-
formally by the RC Players, but
is imbued with middled expres-
sionistic touches. Actors march
up and down aisles, performing
scenes amidst the audience, and
generally make hearing difficult

for the balcony crowd.
Most characters run through
their scenes in eerie white or
transparent, masks which they
remove indiscriminately at what
seems (to them, or to Brecht
perhaps) appropriate times. Vi-
deotape machines on. stage in-
termittently commence opera-
tion, creating the effect of a;
television program being taped.
In one of the production's
most effective touches, the cast
provides most of the sound ef-
fects themselves, and at times
they sound like the ghostly chor-
uses from 2001: A Space Odys-
sey. In fact, the entire first
sequence resembles the "Dawn
of Man" sequence from that
same film.
Maureen Sullivan, in the' cen-
tral role of Shen Te, can hardly
be faulted for her performance.
She is an extremely attractive
and natural actress, and she
handled the sex shifts in her
character with uncanny effec-
tiveness.
Paul Rocklin too was excel-
lent as Wong, the water seller
(another central character), but
he and Ms. Sullivan are fre-
quently required to directly ad-
dress the audience (a la Tevye
in Fiddler on the Roof). These
acts emphasize the theatrical,

"stagey" quality of Setzuan,
which, although Brecht's inten-
tion, draws attention to its
preachiness.
Other actors fared less well,
however as a number of missed
and stumbled-over lines were
easily noticeable. The set design
like the play's very structure,
was loose (i.e., informal) and
left too much to the imagina-
tion.
The Good Woman of Setzuan
aspires to represent something
bigger than itself, but for most
will seem no more "heavy"
than an episode of Ozzie and
Harriet. In many scenes,- the
play indeed greatly resembled
that program.
J, . ...Vj"t L V .}.. V { "'1?rJ l.' :: :f

lb....

4
.

University of Michigan Men's Glee Club
Spring Concert
with guest solosit ROSEMARY RUSSELL-mezzo soprano
Saturday, April 12 8:00 p.m.
HILL AUDITORIUM
Box Office Opens April 2

I

,3
i
:r

218 N. Division--665-0606
R6c --eN - - --e- mr , c;w Sundays at noon: Holy Eucha-
"*rist with a meal following.

'1pt4

41

F'

THE
GOOD WOMAN
OF SETZUAN
by BERTOLT BRECHT
Sat.-Sun., April 12-13-8:00 p.m.
East Quad Auditorium $1.25
FOR ADVANCE TICKET RESERVATIONS
CALL 763-1172-5-6 P.M. MON.-FRI.
An RC PLAYERS PRODUCTION

I

Square Dance
Live Band-Fiddle,
Dobro, Guitar
Saturday, April 12
8:00 P.M.
at former
People's Wherehouse
404 W. HURON
( 1 block west of First,
post the railroad tracks)
Benefit for Community
Baking Co-op
DONATION $1.00
No experience needed-
No partner necessary

i

Direct from the
RW6KOPERA TOMMY
Design by ANN MARGARET!
NOW SHOWN EXCLUSIVELY AT
TOMMY'S HOLIDAY CAMP!

The "Wizard"

PINBALL MACHINE!

Winner of weekly high score receives
TICKETS to the MOVIES
632 PACKA RD

I

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE-BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
. X incredibly powerful and inspiring .
-John Barbour, NBC-TV

."
r

"The best film at the Cannes Festival. A brutal,
mind-blowing experience that shattered every
American who saw it." -Rex Reed

"Excruciatingly

bri lIant."

-Zimr

merman, Newsweek
"I

"...an incredible achievement .
-Stone, S.F. Chronicle

"The most hardened hearts and closed minds will
certainly be penetrated, if ever the American
public gets a chance to see it." -Playboy

"Should

be seen by every American."
-Charles Champlin,

L.A. Times

p .EAulBTS

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