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November 03, 1973 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-11-03

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Saturday, November 3, 1973

I1HE MICHIUAN LDAILY

.Page Five

Soph

show

misses

By ALVIN CHARLES KATZ
In what was certainly one of
the great theatrical disasters of
recent memory, Wonderful Town,
this year's Soph Show, opened
Thursday night at the Power
Center. The production had all
the makings of, a flop - b a d
acting, crummy sets, poor tech-
nical work, sloppy choreography,
and raunchy orchestra work -
and flop it did.
Word must have leaked out in
advance regarding the quality of
the show, for the theatre w a s
only about one fourth full, and
many of those who stayed for
the second act looked suspicious-
ly like friends and relatives.
Based on an earlier dramatic
play called My Sister Eileen,
Wonderful Town was brought to
the Broadway stage in 1953, fea-
turing music by Leonard Bern-
stein and lyrics by Adolph Green

and Betty Comden. Not much at-
tempt has been made here to
update the play; nor is it ap-
proached as camp. The result is
a seriously dated play which
hardly works as nostalgia and
definitely does not work as
contemporary musical comedy
The plot, which can partialy
be deduced form this particular
production, deals with two sis-
ters from Columbus, Ohio, who
come to New York's Greenwich
Village looking for love and suc-
cess. One is a flighty, attractive,
dumb blond type, the other a
plain, bright, practical girl. This
unlikely pair weaves its w a y
through a number of silly episod-
es to the happy ending, w h i c h
seems to emerge from nowhere.
The best that can be said for
the current production is that
everyone seemed to be trying
hard. Technically, it was a de-

bacle. The sets were undoubtedly
some of the chintziest and least
imaginative ever to grace the
Power Center stage. Worse were
the set changes, which in at
in at least three cases were
total failures, resulting in sca,:es
being played on part of the set
from the previous scene. The
lighting was equally incornpe-
tent.
Director Susan Groberg a n d
Conductor Michael Roth seem to
have conspired to prolong t h e
fiasco, the former setting a ted-
iously slow pace, the latter choos-
ing lifeless tempos for nearly
every musical number.
Nothing in Wonderful Town
seemed to work right. Ac:ors
blew their lines, people axihed
where there were no doors, and
what doors there were contioued
to swing open mysteriously, re-

vealing action in the wings or a
bright exit sign. One of the best
laughs in the show, in fact,
came when an unidentified hand
appeared from the bathroom to
close a wayward door.
The acting, with a few excep-
tions, was shabby and unconvinc-
ing. Sadly, one of the female
leads, Sheila Heyman, was side-
lined with a throat infection for
this opening performance, al-
though director Groberg filled
in nicely for her and ironically
gave what was probably the
show's best performance.
In the other female lead, Lian-

he m
ne Mather displayed an extreme-
ly limited acting range, based
primarily ,on whining, although
she does possess a pleasant sing-
ing voice. Nearly all the in a 1 e
characters were extraordinarA.'
bland, with the exception of Mlark
Forth, who gave a nice perform-
ance as a, dense football player.
The cast generally lacked comic
sense and timing, as was evi-
denced by the number of :eLy
funny lines which passed by
unnoticed.
If Wonderful Town has a bright
spot, it was the singing. Aided

immeasurably by Bernstein's
strong score and some very ur-
bane and witty Comden-Green
lyrics, the singing in many spts
was pretty good and provided
whatever high points the show
had.
I really felt rather sorry for
the company of Wonderful Town.
Everyone certainly gave it their
all, but the show just n e v e r
came together. Hopefully t h e
production was personally a n d
eaucatiorpally rewarding for ev-
eryone involved. From an aud-
ience standpoint, Wonderful Town
would be best forgotten.

ark

Open Theatre reflects
absurdities of society

By PENNY BLANK
The Open Theatre opened its
Ann Arbor appearance Thursday
at Trueblood Theatre with the
satiric but disturbing group-
authored Nightwalk, a study in
the movements and sounds of a
rather repulsive but familiar so-
ciety.
The ensemble possesses the
quality that all good avant garde
theatre companies should have-
the ability to create a steady
building emotion by using pro-
gressive wierdness without boring
the audience or turning them into
nervous wrecks.
D i r e c t o r Joseph Chaikin's
Nightwalk relied only on metal
pipe and board platforms pushed

acters and caught in the growing
tension the company created.
Two main characters observed,
reacted and often reflected the
actions of the six bizarre char-
acters as they played in and out
of their conflicting roles. Exud-
ing coy coos, screeches and Mar-
cel Marceau-like mime move-
ments was a primal -bird played
by a woman in rags and fringed
fishnet wings. Her counterpart on
the nightwalk through society
was a tattered and patched man
wvho seemingly tames the bird-
woman by feeding it apple peal-
ings and holding its hand
(wing?). These two elements pro-
vided welcome freshness and

A RTS

Daily Photo by KAREN KASMAUSKi
A vanishing breed
Margaret Barry, Queen of the tinkers from Cork City, Ireland, plays at the Ark this weekend. She
sings songs, that have been passed down in her family from parent to child and accompanies them
with mandolin or banjo, interrupting this occasionally to tell Irish stories.

through a collective decision will.. .A m- u " IN II .
dissolve in December after 10
y.ears of bringing polish and vi- -
tality to avant garde theatre.
Their imagination and expertise
in presenting the audience to
themselves will be missed by an______________
art which sorely needs innovation
and daring.__
CINEMA, II
*** tonight only **
DAVID LEANS 1962
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
Like the desert itself, this film about the famous British soldier-adventurer, T.E.
Lawrence, is vast, awe-inspiring, beautiful with ever changing hues, exhaustive,
and wide screen. Peter O'Toole, Omor Sharif, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn.
aud a ongell hail sat. nov. 3-4:45, 10:00 X1.00
sunday french cinema: Godard's CONTEMPT
- w
~~ med iatrics
.C
The French Connection
Starring GENE HACKMANx
Fri. & Sa. 7 &, 9:30, Natv S,#Au.
$1.00

I IN

Learn to do your own
thing' at Art Worlds

By MATT GERSON,
Is belly dancing your bag?
Hatha yoga or kung fu? Have
a deep desire to club some male
ruffian with a karate chop? You
can cultivate these and other
creative talents at non-profit Art
Worlds.
The multi-media workshop tp-
ened just early this year, but
already some 50 different classes
are being offered in five-week
or longer terms. Students come
from as far away as Pontiac,
Lansing, Toledo, and even Lon-
don, Ontario, to take classes at
the studio. Students range from
14 to 65 years old.
Cecil Taylor, present director
of the studio, formerly was em-
ployed by a variety of aerospace
firms. By late 1972, he relates,
he had become deeply frustrated
by the "specialist and things
oriented" processes of his job.
The idea of creating a, finished
product in the non-competitive
and non time-obsessed atmos-
phere of the creative fields in-
trigued him, he explains.
Instructors for the program
work as what he likes to call
"paid volunteers." He elaborates
by saying that they are not "cat-
alogued in any way with a forced
curriculum," in teaching cours-
es they desire.
"Above all," he comments, "we
try to set up actual working
conditions in our classes, n o t
drawings on a blackboard."
Field trips for photography class
students to work on nature photo-
graphy, and public performances
by the belly dance class point
out this idea.
At least one floor of the 2132

Main location that Taylor found
has an unusual history. Floor
three, now housing the kung
fu and belly dance areas, was
"the largest speakeasy in Ann
Arbor back in the twenties," Tay-
lor muses. ,
Getting instructors for the new
studio was difficult at first, Tay-
lor recalls. "I wanted more ex-
troverted, and not so money-
oriented, creative people," he
says.
The backgrounds and exper-
iences of some of the 23 current
instructors are interesting and
unusual.
Dave Rubello, who teaches ac-
rylics, water colors and the art
of field drawings, fias exhibited
works at the University and the
Pyramid Gallery of Ann Arbor.
Likewise, William Pelletier, Art
World's photo-director, present-
ly displays his "macro-photogra-
phy" offerings at different Na-
tional Bank of Detroit branches.
Fred Golden, a businessman in
Ann Arbor and now an Art World
irstructor, uses a process called
"serigraphis" in his sere-i print
ing work.
Last, but certainly not least,
is Suheyla, who teaches b e II y
dancing. Actually bor, in the
U.S., she has studied at the
Martha Graham Studios of dance
in New York. She has also been
in an international folk dance
group in Turkey for several
years.
From a beginning of 16 wo-
men in October, 1972, the Jan-
uary-March 1973 classes reached
200. Attendance has petered out
to a mere 150 this term.
Taylor pointed out that a new
development at the multi-media
studio may have great future sig-
nificance for them. Art Worlds

had applied for "non-profit sta-
tus" with the state of Michigan,
having as its main purpose the
"cultural advancement of the
arts.''
Donations from individuals and
foundations, allowable for "write
offs" from either source, "will
allow us to pursue a matching
funds contributing system," he
says. "We on no account want
just hand-outs," he explains.
Taylor, allowing his mind to
drift a bit, mentions that per-
haps this status could one day
lead to Art Worlds becoming .a
kind of "trade school" of the
fine arts. But he sees it as one
without all the grade a n d
achievement impertives he so-dis-
likes in such institutions today.

about on wheels by ensemble
members and on percussion in-
struments to compliment the
remarkable voice and body con-
trol of the eight cast members.
The plot, or "image," as it is
called by devotees of the avant
garde, wound around pieces of
people and fragments of per-
sonalities that can be found at
cocktail parties, on city buses or
in any other setting in which so-
cial intercourse occurs. In es-
sence, the company presents so-
ciety and all its inane and ab-
surd character stereotypes. The
pushy Texan, the gossips, the
whiners, the bigots and more are
all present in Nightwalk.
Social graces and polite con-
versation were conducted in in-
tentionally garbled and mum-
bled dialogue relying instead on
the intonations, phraseology, dy-
namics and patterns of linguistics
for meaning. The audience, many
of whom strained for some sense
of understanding of the quasi-
dialogue, was nonetheless reach-
ed by the humor of the char-

harmony to the otherwise per-
verse and disquieting facades of
the rest of the company.
Description usually.fails at this
point to encompass the cathartic
feeling and extraordinary dyn-
namic output that a fine avant
garde theatre piece such as
Nightwalk gives the audience.
Many observers resign them-
selves to simply taking in the
actions and sounds before them
and accept the piece for what
it is-an expression of whatever
the viewer is looking for. Other
people walk out on the production
for lack of understanding, em-
pathy or because their sensitivi-
ties may have been violated. The
majority of the audience fortun-
ately being the former, stayed to
witness a talented and studied
group of actors displaying their
crafts, even though the bare be-
hind of a male cast member
caused several persons to shout
obcenities at the stage and walk
out.
The Open Theatre company

I

r.

1AR-DAYSTAR presents
on the last day of classes:
ia
CRISLER AREA-8:71-P.M
3 ' mu .a
at. £
,Vt. : as
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1973
CRISLER ARENA 8:00 P.M.
$6.50, $6.00, $4.50 (rear stage)
all seats reserved

RELIABLE
ABORTION SERVICE
Clinic in Mich.-1 to 24 week
pregnancies terminated by li-
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24 HOUR SERVICE

This Week NEW WORLD FILM CO-OP presents * * *
VISCONTI'S KEN RUSSELL'S VONNEGUT'S
The Stranger The Boyfriend Slaughterhouse-5
* based on the award winning The surreal re-creation of Big- . winner 1972 Cannes Film Fes-
* novel by Albert Camus. ger Than Life early-Hollywood tival Jury Prize Award.
* p 1 a t contrivances of B u s b y "One of the most daring, total- K
-with- Berkeley ly fascinating pictutes e v e r
' MARCELLO MASTROIANNI -with- made."-Rex Reed
* and Twiggy, Christopher Gable Last showing before Christmas 1
* ANNA KARINA and Tommy Tune
TUES. Wed. and Thurs. THURS.
* NOV.6 NOV. 7 & 8 NOV8
* 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. MLB Aud. 3 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. MLB Aud. 3 . 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. MLB Aud. 4
ATTENTION-please make these changes on your New World Schedule. Little Big Man dnd A Man 41
* Called Horse are cancelled. Diary of a Mad Housewife is replaced by CABARET.
?*"iiri4i. rtatt rtrtttir** ryrh*"A t +fyrr*****frr*,k*t**7** ***** * r7*ryr4'

rw7r7r7r A X=mAA 7rr

...

"TOPS HIS OWN 'DIRTY HARRY'. IT
IS ONE OF THE ALL-TIME GREATS"
-London Sunday Mirror
"I HAD A TERRIFIC TIME" -Gene Shalit, WNBC-TV
"AN ATTENTION-GRABBER!"
---Ann Guorino, N.Y. Daily News
Charley .
Varrick
Last
of the
Indle-
pendents _ / Ielj

AVAILABLE ONLY BY MAIL ORDER

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