The Michigan Doily-Tuesday, November 15, 1977-Page 5
Mother Courage triumphant, stu
By STEPHEN PICKOVER
A FTER HAVING viewed The Act-
ing Company's four Ann Arbor
productions of two years ago, it was
with great and eager anticipation that I
awaited their production of Brecht's
Mother Courage and Her Children.
They did not fail me. All aspects of the
show, from the technical to the direct-
ing to the acting were excellent and
Mother Courage takes place during
the Thirty Years War between the
years of 1618 and 1648. Mother Courage
is a travelling peddler with three chil-
dren.: Eilif, her eldest son, Swiss
Cheese, the youngest son and her mute
daughter Kattrin. Soldiers are her cus-
tomers and war her world. She is a
shrewd and independent business wom-
an, always looking for the deal, the
bargain or the haggle to lower the
price. She is tough, authoritative and
incredibly resilient as she manages to
pick up the pieces and continue her bus-
iness after the death of her three chil-
Brecht foreshadows the way the chil-
dren are to die in scene one. Each child
draws a slip of paper with a black 'X'
upon it, prophesizing death. The irony
of the situation becomes apparent when
their mother scolds them, demanding
that they stick to their best virtue, and
nothing shall happen.
SHE TELLS Eifil to be smart, use his
head. But, he is smart once too often
and kills a peasant woman. Guards
drag him past his mother's wagon to
see her for the last time, but she is away
on a business deal. Swiss Cheese is told
to stay honest because he has no sense.
However, he refuses to tell the enemy
where he has hidden the regiments
money. When he finally admits its
whereabouts after being tortured, it is
too late. His mother could have bought
his freedom if she sold her wagon and
given the captain the money. She
bargains too long, and he is shot by the
firing squad. Kathrin is warned to keep
silent. However she manages to warn a
sleeping town of a surprise attack by
the enemy with her loud banging of a
MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN
November 13, 1977
Mother Courage............. Mary Lou Rosato
Kattrim ......................... Frances Conroy
Eilif........................... Judson Earney
Swiss Cheese ................. Jeffrey Hayenga
Cook ........ ................. David Schramm
Chaplain,................... Anderson Matthews
Yvette......... ............ Patricia Hodges
Directed by Alan Schneider
Music and Lyrics by Paul Dessau
Written by Bertolt Brecht
drum and thus seals her fate. At the
time her mother is selling goods in
While the play shows war in all its
human stupidityand savageness, one
can't help but notice the business motif
as an important theme. Mother
Courage loves her children, cares for
them and tries to protect them as best
she can and yet it is her business which
helps cause two of her children's
deaths. Yet one can ask, what other
choice did she have? If she saved Swiss
Cheese's life with all of the money she'
had, how would she support him when
he came back? She would have no
By PAUL SHAPIRO
T HE ART ENSEMBLE of Chica-
go, displaying the originality and
creativity that has brought them to
the forefront of creative black music
in America, performed to a standing
room only crowd at the Michigan
League ballroom Friday night Com-
prised of Joseph Jarman and Roscoe
Mitchell on reeds, Malachi Favors -
bass, and Dony Moye - drums, the
Ensemble played a non-stop 80-min-
ute set of explosive, spiritual, and
Appearing with painted faces and
an arsenal of instruments that in-
cluded congas, bells, marimbas,
shells, harmonicas, gongs, chimes,
and whistles, the quartet played with
an intensity that was overwhelming.
The Art Ensemble eschews conven-
tional jazz forms and plays purely
improvisational and heavily rhyth-
mic music that forces the audience to
struggle and ultimately expand its
Lideas of what music can be.
Constantly changing instruments,
the Ensemble often moved toward
being a totally percussive unit. They
chanted, screamed, danced, and at
~all times were searching and striving
toward a newness in their music that
See ENCHANTING, Page 7
means of livelihood.
Just before her youngest son's death,
Mother Courage says "I believe - I've
haggled too long" and after Kattrin's,
the peasant woman says "If you hadn't
gone off to the town to get your cut,
maybe it wouldn't have happened."
MOTHER COURAGE'S philosophy is
one of surrendering to the inevitable,
although she does not always follow her
preachings, and neither do her
children. In scene four she sings "The
Song of The Great Capitulation" to a
young soldier who is furious at the cap-
tain for not giving him a deserved
monetary reward. Mother Courage is
there to protest a tax penalty she has
had to pay. After her song, the soldier
leaves parting with "kiss my ass." He
has been calmed yet cannot thank
Mother Courage for his decision. She
also heeds her words, and decides not to
bother the officer with her protest.
The set for this production was stun-
ning. Designed by Mng Cho Lee, its
main constituents consisted of a
background done in varying hues of
gray, a curtain, used as a screen for the
slide projections painted in pastel earth
tones, and finally the beat up, dingy life
supporting wagon, complete with sign,
"Mother Courage's Caravan." The
musty browns and silvers of the ragged
costumes done by Jeanne Button, and
the melancholy blue lighting by David
Segal combined to give a very moving
effect of dispair and sepression. No
matter how many jokes were spoken
and laughed at, one always had the
feeling that this was not a happy time,
place, or locale. It was eerie.
To aid this uncanny effect was the
musics sometimes haunting, wrenching
or military. The pieces largely resem-
bled Kurt Weill, with whom Brecht col-
laborated on such works as The Three
Penny Opera and The Rise and Fall of
the City of Mahogony. Like Weill's
tunes, Dessaus' are not flowery but ex-
tremely realistic and strongly meliflu-
THE ACTING was a treat. Obviously
strongly directed by Alan Schneider,
the timing was exact and the blocking
was effective and not even superfluous..
Rosato, as the grand matriarch was
outstanding. Her courage was compas-
sionate sympathetic as long as it didn't
stand in the way of her livelihood. Her
pain and grief could be seen behind the
tough heartless veneer, as well as her
incredible drive to carry on with her
work. She has marvellous hand ges-
tures, expressive, helpful, and even
Earney's Eilif was bold, passionate,
cruel and marvellously 'executed. His
eyes gleamed as he discussed his
slaughter of the peasants and his blood
boiled with the thought of a fight. Yet,
when his mother smacks him in the
face and scolds him for getting himself
into trouble, he not only accepts it with-
out a word, but pouts like a five year
old. He is still his mother's son.
Hayenga portrayed the slow, dim-
witted honest Swiss Cheese with vical
and physical perfection. His closeness
to his sister and his fanatical loyalty
were apparent. A homely twenty-five
year old mute, afraid of the world, Con-
roy's Kattrin gave us the antithesis of
their mother. Her facial and physical
expressions, especially her sometimes
brooding, sometimes horror stricken'.
eyes were incewsivle.
David Schramm as the cook, Ander-
son Mathews as the Chaplain and Pa-
tricia Hodges as Yvette deserve special
notice. Shramms's coarse but wise
chef, Mathew's love stricken pedantic
parson and Hodges faded and noble;.
whore were admirably characterized1
and acted well.
The Acting Company's production is
a triumph, and the notion of courage it-
self can be summed up by this quote,
from Francois de Salignac de la Mothe,
Fenelon: "Courage is a virtue only in a
porportion as is directed by prudence.
WIQB and Dave Alan Present
SATURDAY-DECEMBER 10-8 P.M.
The NEW RIDERS of
The PURPLE SAGE
and The DAVID BROMBERG Band
RESERVED SEATS-$7.50.8 $6.50
Tickets Available at the Michigan Theatre Box Office, Music Mort on State Street,
Bonzo Dog Records, and all Hudson's
MIDNIGHT TICKET-HOLDERS NOTE:
Show Has Been Moved Up to 8:00 P.M.
ANN ARBOR'S MICHIGAN THEATRE
603 E. LIBERTY
For More Information Call 668-8480
A FULL MOON PRODUCTION
Daily P'hoto by ANDY FREEBERC
Joseph Jarman playing bass clarinet at League last Friday
uns an hums at Ark
By BILL O'CONNOR,
HE'S A FLURRY of small mo-
:ions. His voice is relaxed, spill-
ing out dry, anecdotes about his
music. While you're still pondering a
pun, he's starting the next song.
Paul Geremia, billed with Madcat
Ruth at the Ark coffeehouse Friday
night, gives a fast-paced concert.
While some performers stitch a few
songs into a whole set, Geremia gave
us twelve songs in the first hour. Ac-
companying his singing and harmon-
ica work with guitars, the program
flowed from up-tempo country blues
to his own more reflective songs.
THIS ERA, set between ragtime
and the big bands, was the heyday of Y
the delta blues musicians. Most
listeners associate the music with
southern blacks, but Geremia sees
northern whites as' also fitting into
"Vaudeville and the medicine
shows took country blues to all parts
of the United States," he said after
the concert, "and there was a lot of
give and take between black and
white musicians. The racist view of
the music of the twenties and thirties
was mainly due to record companies
trying to keep distinct categories of
black and white music."
The black Southern influence was
strong, and Geremia absorbed it
well. When he' sings a song like
"Dying Crapshooter's Blues," he
uses the forceful style of the old blues
masters. He gives each song vibran-
cy and humor.
GEREMIA'S MASTERY ,of the
country blues idiom has taken time.
It's been more than a decade but his
musical directions have remained
constant through the years.
"I've been striving to acquire a
flavor and style since I started," he
said. "I never set out consciously in
any one direction, but I knew what I
wanted to sound like. It was an ideal,
and now I'm getting closer to it."
Madcat Ruth, an Ann Arborite
presently on-tour, opened the even-
ing with a solo set. He is a fine
harmonica player who utilizes all the:
possibilities of the instrument.
UNFORTUNATELY, while his
harp playing is strong, he chose to
concentrate on his mediocre vocal
See GEREMIAH, Page 7
\ ' .
ENTIAL COLLEGE PLAYERS present
T QUAD A
8 o'clock PM
An Evening with Shakespeare, Congreve,
Dickens, Chekhov & Coward; starring
Nicholas Pennell and Marti Maraden
by arrangement with Stratford Shakespearean Festival Foundation
Devised by Michael Meyer
Proceeds from these performances will go toward Theatre Student Scholarships. Reserved
Tickets--5.00 to $3.00
Trueblood Theatre, 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., November 18-19
The University of Michigan " Professional Theatre Program
Tickets at P.T.P. Office-764-0450; and at Hudson's Stores
SUNDAY NOV 20th +
STON CANYON BAND
Plus the RFD BOYS +
43 two shows, 7and 11P.m.
NEWS FROM THE
MAJOR EVENTS OFFICE
Most opening acts give a ooncert-
audience the chance to look ahead, to
recognize a superstar of the future, before
the general public jumps on the band-
wagon. Not so, at the "America" concert,
this Saturday night at Crisler, because
we'll be seeing the favorite songwriter of
artists like Art Garfunkel and Glen Camp-
bell, for the first time in-person. Song-
writer Jimmy Webb, on his first national
tour, will perform some of his, biggest
hits like "McArthur Park," "Up, Up and
Away," and "By The Time I Get To
Phoenix." With Webb opening for America,
hot on the tracks of their new live album,
the shtw stands to provide an evening of
The special effects for the November
5th Earth, Wind & Fire show were developed
and desiohed by magician Doug Henning,
star of Broadway's "Magic Show'" With a
guitarist suspended in mid-air and people
disappearing right andleft, the Crisler
audience was mesmerized.
Columbia Records has just released a
new Billy Joel single, "Just The Way You
Are," from his "Stranger" album. Since
it's probably the best cut off the album,
the credit for breaking the single goes to
the' late-night disc jockeys who began
playing it directly off the album a few
weeks ago. Columbia responded to all the
enthusiasm by releasing it to all the stations
last week. Joel recently sold out the Nas-
sau Colliseum (N.Y.) for his December
New York "homecoming" concert. He will
appear in Hill Auditorium this Friday evening.
Tickets for all concerts are available at
the Michigan Union Box Office (11:30 to
5:30, Mon.-Fri.). Please call 763-2071 for
Tidbits: Ann Arbor favorite Steve Good-
Artists & Craftsmen Guild presents:
Speaking on, "The Object as Poet"
Tuesday, November 15, 8 p.m.
Pendleton Arts Information Center, 2nd Floor of Michigan Union
Mr. Slivka, editor of CRAFTS HORIZON MAGAZINE, brings to a
close the "Objects-Insights-Yeats" lecture series co-sponsored
by the U-M Theater Department.
Viewpoint Lectures presents:
speaking on "Blind Ambition"
Wednesday, November 16, 8 p.m., Hill Auditorium
$1 students, $1.50 general admission.
Tickets on sale at UAC Ticket Central
A canoe trip turned nightmare. Starring Burt Reynolds.
Friday, November 18, 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
A super intrigue. Games within games involving a detective-
story writer, an unfaithful wife, her hairdresser and priceless
jewels. Starring Michael Caine, Sir Lawrence Olivier.
Saturday, November 19, 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
All films in Nat. Sci. Aud. $1.50 admission
MCAT - DAT - LSAT - GRE
GMAT -DCATY- VAT -"SAT
NAT'L DENTAL BOARDS
Flexible Programs & Hours
a ISadtfferenc !
Soph Show presents:
Winner of 1970 Tony Award for best musical.
December 1, 2, 3, Mendelssohn Theater.
Tickets on sale now at UAC Ticket Central
Applications currently being taken for the following Spring show
positions: director, choreographer, and designers. Applications
and further information available at the UAC offices.
If you missed out on CABARET don't miss out in the Spring!
I I A ~ r* I --.'--.