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December 09, 1977 - Image 7

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-12-09

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, pecember 9, 1977-Page7
Herzog speaks to eager crowd

Daily Photo by ALAN BILINSKY

Bunthorn displays a "morbid love of admiration."

Rector steals

P

By STEPHEN PICKOVER
NCONSISTENCY marks the
opening of the University of
Michigan's Gilbert and Sullivan So-
ciety's production of Patience, or
Bunthorne's Bride. While the total
effect of the evening was enjoyable,
one couldn't quite help noticing that
several of the leads did not measure
up to past Society productions. This
surprising feature became most ap-
Patience
by Gilbert and Sullivan
Medelssoh Theater
Dec. 7-10,1977
Reginald Bunthorne .................... Ed Blazier
Patience...................... ...Sue Sinclair
Archibald Grosvenor............Graham Wiks
Lady Janea.....r............ Patricia A. Rector
Colonel Calverley............... Lee Vahlsing
Lady Saphir ........................ Julie Tanguay
The Duke of Dunstable........... Daniel Boggess
Lady Angela........ .......Felicia Steinburg
Major Murgatroyd .............. Mark A. Kramer
Peter Hedlesky, stage director; F. Carl Daehler,
music director; Alice B. Crawford, scenic designer;
William Craven, technical director; Timothy Lock-
er, costume director.
parent as Lady Jane. (Patricia
Rector), from the first chorus of
"Twenty Lovesick Maidens We" to
the finale in Act II stole the show, an
occurrence which should not take
place in any Gilbert and Sullivan
operetta.
Thereason for this surprising
accomplishment is explained, not
because of Rector's marvellous act-
ing (which was superb), but by the
other cast member's lack of it -
particularly Gosvenor (Graham
Wilks) and Bunthorne (Ed Glazier).
This is not to say that Glazier was not
good and funny, because he was,
especially when he dropped the
aesthetic veneer declaring himself a
sham. However, his Bunthorne
lacked a gentleness along with his
humorous poetic affectation. Glazier
gave us a caricature rather than a
character. We should not fail to have
sympathy with Bunthorne at the end
of Act II when he is left .spouseless,
paralleling Jack Point in Yeoman of
the Guard. Perhaps his "morbid love
of admiration" was misplaced by his
"wile of guile."
WILKS, ON the other hand, while
sporting a mellifluous tenor, was ex-
tremely stiff, both in gesture, facial
expression (or lack of it) and vocal
execution. In his first entrance,
"Prithee, Pretty Maiden" I took his
"Oh too solid" stance for a bad case
of nerves, but he was consistently
one-dimensional. He was spared
from most attention by Sue Sinclair,
who played a lovely Patience. Her
clear and fully supported soprano,
along with the ability of being naive
and simple without being bratty
"earned" her a praiseworthy per-
formance.
PATIENCE concerns the aesthetic
movement which was sweeping
Great Britain at the time Gilbert was
penning stinging farcical operettas
and had such famous supporters as
Whistler, Oscar Wilde and Walter
Crane. It was these three personali-
ties in particular who took the
movement to ridiculous heights, and
Gilbert excentuated their antics and
mode of dress in his character of
Bunthorne. Gilbert's satire, while
dated concerning the specific move-
ment, is still alive, fresh and mean-
ingful to a modern audience. Pom-

pous affectation certainly has not left
us in the seventies. Sullivan's score
is beautiful, ranging from terribly
melodramatic in "Am I Alone and
Unobserved" to sweet tenderness in
"Prithee, Pretty Maiden". The latter
is much like his other young lover
duets, such as "None Shall Part Us
From Each Other" from Iolanthe,
and his fast-paced, whimsical "So Go
To Him And Say To Him" is a
delight. Music director Carl Daehler
did a fine job of keeping songs lively
and frolicksome or gently melan-
choly. It would have been even better
if the orchestrawas in tune.
LEE VAHLSING as Colonel Cal-
verley was fine as the commanding
officer of the Dragoons whether in
"primary colors" or in something
"jolly-utter Botticellian." His pleas-
ing bass could have had more power
during his amusing solo in "The
Soldiers of Our Queen," which rivals,
if not surpasses "I Am the Very
Model of a Modern Major General".
The chorus especially should be
emphasized:
Take all these elements all that is
fusible
Melt them all down in a pipkin or
crucible,
Set them to simmer and take off
the scum,
And a heavy Dragoon is the
residuum.
I question some of Peter Hedles-
ky's direction. His insertion of the
"Miya Sama" chorus from the
Mikado was well timed, especially
applicable since the Society just per-
formed the Mikado in the Winter of
'77 and it recalls the Pinafore chorus
inserted in Utopia Limited, a later
work. However, why choose not to
take an encore on the marvellously
sung and danced quintet of "If Saphir
I Choose to Marry," especially when
the audience's applause well war-
ranted an encore.' It's a nice tradi-
tion, makes for some humorous
staging and folly.
Special mention goes to all techni-
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atience'
cal aspects of the show. The set was
plain and simplistic, done in pastel
shades, and the lighting was beauti-
ful, especially during Lady Jane's
solo "Sad is that Woman's Lot".
Costumes of aesthetes were done in
black and white, while Lady Jane's
"amorous dove" on the shoulder
brought reminiscences of the Queen
in Iolanthe. These costumes were
sharply contrasted with the bright
reds and yellows of the Dragoons'
uniforms - a stunning visual dis-
play.
No Gilbert and Sullivan show
would be complete without a good
chorus. While seemingly unimport-
ant, the chorus is on stage most of the
time, and if they drag and look bored,
so will the audience. I am pleased to
say that both the men's and women's
chorus showed good vocal quality
and had excellent facial expression.
Patience is not a triumph, but is
well worth viewing - it has its mo-
ments.
An
apology
THE DAILY ARTS staff
would like to offer its
deepest apologies for misspell-
ing the first name of the late
Rahsaan Roland Kirk on yes-
terday's "Arts Arcade" page.
Kirk played here last spring as
part of the Eclipse Jazz series,
and this year's Eclipse Jazz-
sponsored "Bright Moments"
concert series is dedicated to
him.

T By DOBILAS MATULIONIS
HE COLORFUL and eccentric
German New Wave director Werner
Herzog passed through Ann Arbor
recently with two of his films -
Every Man For Himself and God
Against All (or The Legend of Kaspar
Hauser] and The Great Ecstasy of
the Sculptor Steiner. These enigmat-
ic titles provide a glimpse of not only
the odd, deliberate charm of the
films, but also of Herzog's captivat-
ingly bizarre persona. These two
films, both highly characteristic of
Herzog's style, are humanistic (in a
strange way) and intensely personal,
almost to the point of self-destruc-
tion. Few directors have achieved
such honest celluloid confessions or
such lucid insights of the quirks of the
human soul.
The first film, Every Man for
Himself, relates a tale of the social
indoctrination of a young man, a
savage innocent who cannot speak or
read. Herzog evokes tremendous
pathos by contrasting the man's good
natured naivete with the demanding,
often cruel townspeople who are at a
loss as to how to treat this man. The
actor who plays Kaspar, Bruno S.,
has had a life vaguely similar to the
character. As a result, his perform-
ance is nothing short of spectacular,
and Herzog takes keen advantage by
highlighting his acting with a myriad
of medium close-ups and "personal
conflict" situations. Nevertheless,
Herzog never loses the immediate
realism of the film and retains its
documentary-like flavor.
Herzog's other film, The Great
Ecstasy of the Sculptor Steiner, is a
forty-minute documentary portrait
of the famous ski flier, Walter
Steiner. Herzog has tried to present
Steiner's motivation and character,
instead of just concentrating on his
athletic achievements; thus it be-
comes more than just a "sports"
film. The fact that Herzog chooses to
call Steiner a sculptor rather than a
ski-flier reveals his concern with the
artistic, spiritual side of Steiner. The
film contains many predictable mo-
ments, such as the super slow motion
shots of skiers flying through the air,
but its main thrust is a refreshing
"whole man" approach to Steiner's
characterization. The music, as in all
of Herzog's films, is absolutely su-
perb, and he is able to achieve a
a, ltafter
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virtually perfect integration of music
and image.
HERZOG, WHO speaks English
remarkably well, answered ques-
tions from the audience after both
shows. His confidence was especially
noteworthy, as he often dispatched
uncertain queries with a straightfor-
ward "No" or "I disagree." He
claimed that "My films are not state-
ments. They are films," yet some-
times he waxed philosophical, stat-
ing that "Film has to do with the
reality of our collective dreams" and
that "Real culture is agitation of
mind." Questions concerning his
filmmaking mechanics were an-
swered with particular enthusiasm.
Herzog talked at length about Bruno
S. and about his use of chickens -
"Take a long and very close look into
the eye of a chicken and you'll see the
most frightful kind of stupidity . . .
It's the most horrifying, cannibalistic
and nightmarish creature in this
world."

When asked about his cinematic
tastes, Herzog replied that he en-
joyed Ray's Apu Trilogy, but that
Ingmar Bergman's latest movies are
like "stillborn babies". Herzog also
mentioned his theories on the differ-
ences between masculine and femin-
ine loneliness - "the ultimate privi-
lege of masculine loneliness is to be
funny". He called attention to the
fact that there were many great men
comedians (Chaplin, Keaton, Woody
Allen) but no great women come-
dians.
Herzog's best personal revelations
came when he spoke of his controver-
sial film Even Dwarfs Started Small.
He stated that "Dwarfs is my
strongest film It has come out of
pain. It articulates my state of
mind." Herzog's greatness seems to
stem from his sizeable personal
anguish, which he is able to channel
into film His films are intensely
moving, and he stands as one of the
most talented young European direc-
fors.

MARX BROTHERS NIGHT
ANIMAL CRACKERS (at 7 & 10)
One of the earlier Marx Bros. films that for a long time was not available for
release but is recently back in old top form. A sure-fire cure for finals
freakout.
COCONUTS (at 8:30 only)
The first Marx Bros. film, though their theatrical style is in evidence. It's one of
the funniest debuts ever.
Sat: No Showing
Sun: MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN

CINEMA GUILD

OLD ARCH. AUD.
$1.50 each

BOTH SHOWS
FOR $2.50

I ii

Friday December 9,1977
Michigan Union Ballroom
Big Band, Entertainers,
Cash Bar, Dancing.

Dinner Optional
University Club 7-&30PM
Show $4 single, $7couple
Ballroom 9PM

Tickets available in
Michigan Union Lobby
Sponsored by WCBN
UAC, Michigan Union
Progamming Committee

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