Rogg 6-Friday, April 14, 1978-The Michigan Daily
Busy direction mars'Gondoliers'
w ------!.. -
i a By JEFFREY SELBST
E UNIVERSITY of Michigan
Gilbert and Sullivan Society has
come up with yet another offering, and
this time ti's not quite strictly up to par.
he Gondoliers, which opened Wed-
AR~day night at Mendelssohn Theater,
a very very busy production.
' is busy when it dances, par-
ticilarly, though the stage direction
r aliy never stops moving at any time.
4hJg strings in the orchestra are im-
'aI F S Stareo . V Sevice
,15 S. Ashley 769-0342
Downtown, s block west of Main,
between Washington and Liberty
mensely busy, always running like a
toilet whose handle has cease operating
properly. (This applies especially to the
omnipresent lower strings.)
There are some terrific performan-
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
Duke of Plaza-Toro ......Peter-John Hedlesky
Duchess .................. Felicia Steinberg
Casilda ......................Sara Dalgleish
Luiz ...............................David Kitto
Marco ....................Dan Boggess
Giuseppe ..........................John Meyer
Gianetta.................... Sigvid Johnson
Don Alhambra ....................Geoff Isaac
Mary Joanne Tanguay, stage direction
F. Carl Daehler, orchestral direction
Deborah Lynn Kulber, choral direction
Presented by U-M Gilbert and Sullivan Society
ces here, though. The Duke of Plaza-
Toro is played with mincing effec-
tiveness by Peter-John Hedlesky, an
old G&S alum from way back. The
Duchess was played stiffly and well by
another talented performer, Felicia
Steinberg (she who played Ruth in the
near-perfect Pirates of Penzance of a
couple of years back).
DAN BOGGESS, as the gondolier
Marco, had a lovely, supple voice and a
charming comic countenance. Among
some of-the funniest parts of the show
lare his expressions as he performs cer-
tain comic bits of stage business; the
admission price is nearly paid back
John Meyer was appealing and sappy
as Giuseppe; the best ensemble work
occurred between the two gondoliers
and their wives, Tessa (Julie Tanguay)
and Gainetta (Sigrid Johnson), par-
ticularly in their quartet in Act II.
These two lovely women did simply a
The rest of the cast deserves praise
as well. Luiz (David Kitto) was doggy
and lovable, though his voice wasn't
quite strong enough to project beyond
the orchestral ,barrier. Casilda, his
lover (Sara Dalgleish) was very nice in
her role; her vocal talents are matched
by her coquettish acting.
WELL THEN, rave, rave, rave. Why
do I still have strong reservations about
this show? What, exactly, was wrong?
The orchestra was never quite
together-not at entrances or at exits
(as it were). The conducting was flat,
and the group literally sounded like
they were coming from every direction.
The soloists on stage were frequently
out of tempo with the musicians. I
listened closely, and I believe this is due
to variation in tempi introduced by F.
Carl Daehler at odd moments.
But the direction-that was - the
trouble. The stage direction. It moved
simply too much. During the choral
numbers as well as the soli, everyone
had too many gestures, too many steps,
and far too many things were going on
at once. Some viewers were distrac-
ted-I was exhausted. Moreover,
posturing of the chorus was artificial
and stilted-really stiff.
Nonetheless I liked this show; the
Gilbert and Sullivan Society's off-days
are better than most groups' on-days,
at least in Ann Arbor, and you can have
a very enjoyable evening at The Gon-
doliers, even so.
Jlust for the
health of it.
Physical Education Public Information
American Alliance for" ea"th
Physical Education and Recreation
1201 16th St N W. Washington D C 20036
Happy Hopper high
on his 'Last Movie'
By MICHAEL BROIDY
"I'M STRAIGHT NOW," actor/director Dennis Hopper told a student
audience in an appearance sponsored by the Ann Arbor Film Co-op. The
creator of the hugely successful Easy Rider spoke in conjunction with a
showing of his 1971 film, The Last Movie, a work for which Opper displayed
"I've bought all the prints and the negative from Universal (the film's
original distributor), and I've payed the government $75,000 in taxes; I'm
very happy." Hopper recounted that Universal was less than enthusiastic
when he presented the film to them: "I think they opened it in a few theaters
in New York and Los Angeles, then wrote it off as a loss."
After viewing the film, one can understand the studio's trepidation. The
Last Movie begins when the cast and crew of a western movie being shot in
Peru packs up and heads for the States, leaving stuntman Hopper behind.
The Peruvian villagers who have been curiously watching the filming then
proceed to re-enact the plot of the movie, replacing Hollywood violence with
real savagery of their own.
THE FILM's attempts to alienate the viewer are largely successful. It
careens carelessly from flashback to flash-forward and ,from illusion to
reality, all the while forcing the viewer to question what he sees. When a con-
fused member of the audience inquired as to what Univeral thought they
were getting, Hopper quickly responded, "They thought they were getting
the director/star of Easy Rider, a film which grossed more than $40 million
on a $340,000 budget."
The director called his film "a very literary work." He added, "One
must listen to the words of the songs (written by then-unknown Kris Kristof-
ferson) to get any meaning from this picture." Unfortunately, a 16mm print
of the film was exhibited; making such auditory interpretation a nearly im-
Hopper's enthusiasm about The Last Movie led him to dramatically re-
enact scenes from the film on the Angell Hall stage. When asked about the
improvisatory style of the film, Hopper replied that this was natural:
"everything is 98 percent accident, one percent logic and one percent in-
tellect ... you have to work with the accident."
THE FORTY-THREE YEAR OLD Hopper was trained for five years at
Lee Strassberg's Actor's Studio, has been acting since the mid-1950's in films
such as Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, and True Grit. Recently he has ap-
peared in Francis Coppola's much-delayed Apocalypse Now, a film which
has generated much interest, even though no one has seen it.
Hopper also plays the title role in Wim Wenders' latest film, The
American Friend (to be shown Saturday evneing in the Modern Languages
Building). Hopper said that Wenders is "like a big St. Bernard dog ..
very gentle, sweet, and meticulous. Coppola and Wenders really care; they
make movies that people want to see but at the same time they are movies
they really want to make." This is a goal fowards which Dennis Hopper is
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