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March 29, 1977 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-03-29

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Ars& Entertcinment JTuesday, March 29, 1977 Page Five
TP play: Absurd, absmal


IT IS 130TH ABSURD and sin-
gular that Alan Ayck-
bourn's Absurd Person Singular
should have run one perform-
ance, let alone the 591 is lasted
on the Great White Way. I
would elect to think it is Eng-
land's way of getting back at
us for the Revolution. The rea-
soning must have been some-
thing akin to: if we couldn't
shoot them to death, perhaps
we can bore them to death. Let
it be known here and now that
I didn't wait for them to see
the drooping lids of my eyes.
I escaped what was passing for
T1 7N - a

clever barrage after two abys-
mal acts.
Alan Ayckbourn is supposed
to be the British equivalent of
Neil Simon and i assumsed that
comparison was meant an as
accolade. Very well, I had guf-
fawed my way through a few
Simon comedies and I was in
the mood for something that
would have the same salutary
effect. Just .to make absolutely
sure that I would be in good
guffaw, I saved this past week's
store of laughs for Sunday night.
I wouldn'e give so much as aI
smirk to M.A.S.H., Maude or
Mary Richards.
If only I had known, I would'

have saved last week's supply ! act. Unfortunately for us she
of coughs instead.! doesn't succeed but her' tries at
defenestration, electrocution,
THE PLOT - such as it is - hanging and gassing offer the
concerns three couples in vari- only moderately funny moments
ous states of malaise who gath- of this sad business.
er together for. three consecu- Naturally when Eva, the neu-
tive Christmases. The action, rotic, has her head in the oven,
such as it is, takes place in the tidy Jane walks in and assumes
kitchens of the three couples. that Eva is having a go at clean-'
There are comings, goings, dis- ing. Well, nothing will do but
appearances and door slam- that Jane must do it for Eva.
mings which, perhaps, are While Eva is thinking of a new
meant to call up Feydeau's bed- way to end it all, Jane's hu's-
room farces. Ayckbourn may band is on hand to fix the drain
have been trying to introduce a in the kitchen sink and the bank-
new theater genre - kitchen er husband Ronald attempts to
farce. fix the wiring connecting the
One wife is a maniacal clean- light bulb. As you might ex-
er a la Felix Unger. Her idea pect he succeeds in momentar-
of a hot time would be defrost- ily electrocuting himself and
ing the refrigerator. Her hus- the acts ends with as assemb-
band is trying to wheel and deal lage intoning the "Twelve DaysI
a loan from a banker who is one of Christmas."
;half of another of the couples.

bad situation comedy at that,
we could have stayed horne and
tuned into "Laverne and Shir-
ley." Somehow I expected bet-
ter from an English playwright
whom someone has had the te-
merity to mention in the same
sentence with Sir Noel Coward.
There were a few interesting
bits of * wordsmanship. The
kitchen curtains were described
as being of "an insistent color;"
a smell was described as "poig-
nant", but Tom Stoppard and
Simon Gray may rest on their
laurels and be assured that they
have nothing to fear from their
regrettably prolific country-
The cast, soap opera stars
all, had little material to work
with and appropriately enough
did little with it. Uneasy lay the
tongues that attempted the En-
glish accents.
The less said about the sets
the better; in fact the less said,
about this play the better. The
only thing one can do with a
turkey is stuff it.

Iiatalailia players
prove enjoyable

Chaka Khan


- r I I

''j uIN AMERICA, a balalaika is
uIJerIIVI 'Imore commonly used as
an ornament than as a musical
LEE DONALDSON CHAKA KHAN carried off the ; band and walked off the stage instrument. In the Soviet Union,
show with only shades of confi- so casually, I scarcely expected it has a rich heritage i folk{
T-ONALD BYRD'S Blackbyrds, dence. Thdugh she sauntered .her to return, music, which the Osipov Bala-
who opened Sunday night's sexily up and down the stage, The entire concert leaned to- shared with Ann Arbor Satur-
Rufus concert at Crisler Arena, there seemed something truly wards a mocking taunt, corn- h day night.
had more than the usual share desperate in her voice. Sh0~, plete withma minstrel dancer
of difficulties. From the onset, seemed just as frustrated as the: running throughout the audi- A balalaika is about as big as
the audience was .suffocated audience as she mockingly point- ence. Hostile screams were typi- a mandolin with a similar
with bulky instrumentality that ed her finger at it. cal responses to Chaka's histri- sound. The three-stringed tri-
added little more to the music - angular instruments are accom-
than loudness. Then, as the There is no question that Cha- onCh ka Khan soon became the.panied by huge balalaikas the
Blackbyrds began to refine their ka -can -do something powerful hakaKhunusob ecamefthesan size of bass fiddles. They are
sound and hit a mellower pace, to you. Her appeal is a curious grou Rsmbut Rufu sem held, remarkably, like guitars.
band leafer Donald Byrd an- psycho-sexual experience that is to
nounced that "due to a stupid expressed both in her gyrating'ence was too stoned to tell the THE OTHER PRINCIPLE
and asinine ruling, we cannothips and her piercing laments. difference between performing instrument of the orchestra was
continue." ' Chaka's renditions of "Tell Me efo ing.he bantto and uSt the domra, which looked like
levedtoso TllM efrig h an re oatresrndlute.Itsod
The band stormed off, leav Something Good" and "At Mid- atone fo f this by increasing the wassofter than lute Itsasod
ing a stunned audience to fig- night" were not only directed at volume, but many songs such balalaika.
ure out that since the group the mobs of men before the as "I am a Woman" seemed
had started a half-hour late, stage, but also at all of the audi- slower in tempo and more aim- In addition, the orchestra in-
their set was cut unexpectedly ences sensual feelings. The ef- less than should have been for cluded flute, piccolo, reeds, and
short. feet was a vague euphoria that an audience that was already percussion. As if that wasn't
After more tedious delay, Ru- sent the audience to their feet lulled, enough, two opera singers and
fus appeared, fronted by lead without quite realizing what! Chaka admitted having had a pair of ballet dancers joined
singer Chaka than. One brisk made them jump. the flu but that doesn't com- in to make the experience com-
swivel of her hips sent the audi- pletely explain away her list- plete.
ence into a frenzy. Yet the high THE PROBLEM, however, lessness. Toward the.end of the The orchestra broke the ice
energy that sells the group's al- was that Chaka probably took show, she asked the audience with a trio of Russian selec-
bums, seemed only remotely this too much for granted. She to make as much noise as they tions, which ended up with Mar-
present here. "Sweet Thing," screamed instead of sang and could; "to tear this goddamn garita Kuss's "Shutochnaya"-
the opening number, was off- minced about the stage with an roof off." But the subsequent a piece with comical percussion
tempo and muffled in tone. air of sultry indifference. She screaming was probably more effects which sounded like, of all
There was little left for the danced, mimed the musicians, a reflection of an agitated and -people, Spike Jones.
audience to do except clap hesi- howled and did everything but! puzzled audience, than one that IN FACT, the concert ended
tantly and hope that the pace convey enthusiasm. At one point I was in tune with Rufus that on a humorous note, too. During
would pick up. in the show, she introduced the night. _ _
Mozart's Cossi charms AUDI

a lively march, the orchestra
members began leaving one by
one, waving merrily as they
left. Eventually only the snare
and bass drums remained, with
the snare drummer realizing it
but the bass drummer pound-
ing blithely away. The snare
drummer alerted his comrade
and they stopped and slipped
offstage. The crowd loved it.
Conductor Valeri Petrov took
his bows alone.
For all the levity, the orches-
tra remained precise and pro-
fessional. Traditional orchestra
pieces like Rossini's Overture
to the opera La Gazza Ladra
and Paganini's Venetian Carni-
val were rendered with feeling
and style,
Venetian Carnival was partic-
ularly satisfying. It featured
Alexander Tzygankov and Vla-
dimir Yakovlev on domras, and
for a while they had a Russian
bout of "dueling domras". They
then surpriped the audience
with a fast-paced ragtime coda.
Both soloists were fast enough
for Paganini and ragtime.
The music bypassed any bar-
riers of language or politics that
exist between the U. S. and the
Soviet Union. No one needed
language to understand the rela-
tionship between the- flamboy-
ant boy and the shy girl, por-
trayed by ballet dancers Maria
Smolich and Sergei Lukin. All
in all, the event was very en-


a of V3another of3 Vt theViF.in I
Another husband (are you with
me so far) is a fairly frank phi-
landerer and his' wife is a pill-
popping neurotic who attempts
to commit suicide in the second

IT WAS ALL very predict-
able, and its seems to me that
predictability is desirable only
in the weather. If we wanted
to watci situation comedy, and

audience at Mendelssohn



A cial success of George Ben-
son's last album, Breezin', one
could not really expect him to
return to the serious jazz that
earned him the reputation as one
of the finest jazz guitarists to-
In Flight (Warner Bros. BSK
2983) is quite similar to Breezin'
in its disco nature, and it is sad
that Benson apparently is com-
mitting himself to producing
soupy albums of homognized
strings and mediocre v o c a l s.
George Benson is a great musi-
cian, but unfortunately for his

followers he is making much remark, "The only thing that's
money and not much music. He important to the musicians in
has joined the growing jazz-rock the so-called jazz-rock fusion, is
fusion that has prompted gui- the fusion between themselves
tarist-composer Frank Zappa to and the cash register."


New jazz by Benson & Co.

rTHE SCHOOL of Music can
well be proud of its stunning
production of Mozart's comic
opera Cossi Fan Tutte that play-
ed at Mendels3ohn Theatre last
week. The performance Thurs-
day night was charming, witty,.
and imaginative.
What made the opera such a
success was a combination of
creative directing, attention to
details, and overall profession-
alisr. I was so swept away by!
the performance that my imme-
diate reaction when it was over
was to ask where I could get a
recording of t h i s company's
marvelous rendering of Mozart's
score and Da Ponte's libretto.
Visually, the show had great
impact. The set, lighting, and
most (f allcostumes, were beau-
tiful and graceful. These fac-
tors worked well in determining
the spirit and 'one of the opera
as a whole. They added great:
depth and color which contri-
buted to the unity of the produc-
Herbert's creative talents and
obvious dedication toward mak-
ing this production reach the
pinnacle of perfection are two
qualities which surely led to the
opera's well - rounded .solidity.
.Musically speaking, the per-
formance was smashing. Even
though the orchestra and singers
had some minor technical prob-1
lems in the first act, they still
m a n a g e d Mozart's difficult
score with style and distinction.
By the secon'd act one could
only be aazed at the virtuosity
and grace of .the-- musicians. It
appeared as though we were
hearing experienced profession-
als who are so absolutely sure
of their craft that 'they are ablet
to develop even the subtlest*
mood changes without having to
sublimate their music. Their
performance was rich, yet pre-

Maureen Born (Dorabella) were ances of Dorobella and Fior-
delightful as the two sisters diligi. The two pairs compli-
whose virtue is slowly being mented each other perfectly in
eroded "against their will" by terms of characterization and
the machinations of Don Alfon- vocals.
so (Stephen Bryant). Both Gray All of the characters showed:
and Born are endowed with tremendous musical skill in
exceptional voices and dramatic their difficult ensemble num-
flair. The casting of Stephen bers. The control of musical di-
Bryant as the worldly-wise Don rector Gustav Meier's conduct-
Alfonso was a stroke of genius. ing gave his rather large orches-
Bryant displayed an uncanny tra the exactness and delicacyl
perception of his character. His essential to a successful playing
movements and facial expres- of Mozart's music; and for the
sions often clued the audience most part the orchestra did not
into what was happening in the over-power the singers. A spe-
relationships of the other char- cial mention should be made for
acters in terms of plot and psy- Gloria Hill, who played the part
chology. of Despina. Despite a problem
JAMES RUSSEY and Stephen with vocal volume, Hill gave
Poulos (Ferrando and Gugliel- such a magnificent performance
mo, respectively) were also dramatically that she nearly
marvelous as the beguiled fi- 'stopped the show.

A student singing/dancing/instrumental group
performing popular music, show tunes, vocal
and jazz standards; and Michigan favorites.
1:00 p.m.--APRIL 2
Room 2058, School of Music
For further inforamtion, call 764-0384 or 764-0593

'Israel I
Office of Admissions
Bar Ilan University i
641 Lexington Avenueu
New York, N. Y. 10022
1 II
1 1I
Live on cam)pus,
6 college credits
Fully Kosher
I 1
.I..®._ . j

We received thanks from Judy Collins' manager this
past week, who called her sold-out Hill performance
last October- the most professionally-run show of her
nation-wide concert tour. He said she loved the Ann
Arbor audience...
Harry Chapin's concert this Friday night at Hill Audi-
torium will be an entire evening of Harry and his story-
songs. He is a socially-committed artist who will be shar-
ing some of his very articulately stated ideas with the
Fri. April 1-Harry Chapin
Wed. April 20-Doobie Brothers wth
Commander Cody
Sun. April 24-Elvis
Reserved seats for all shows are available at the Mich-
igon Union Box Office (11:30-5:30, Mon.-Sat.). Three
additional big shows are on the way and will be an-
nounced shortly.








in Concert

ZionISm and Messianism"
Prof. Alfred L. Ivry
HI1LLEL, 1429 -Hill Street1
(Prof. Ivry will also speak at 4 p.m., in Angell
Hall Aud. C, on: "The Common Heritage of
Islamic and 'Jewish Philosophy," co-sponsored
by the Philosophy Department and the Program
in Studies in Religion)

Saturday, April 2
8:00 p.m.-Hill Aud.



Tickets $2, $3, $4


* Do you have personality and organizational skills?
0 Would you like to get involved in the decision-making process
at U of M?
Because of graduation and term expiration the Student Government
has student openings on the following committees:
Board in Control of Intercollegiate Athletics
Program Evaluation
Budget Priorities
Residency Appeal Review Committee
University Steering Committee
Office of Student Services Policy Board
ACRICS (2 year position)
Energy Conservation Task Force
University Cellar Board of Directors (2 vear position)
University Council
. Union Board of Directors
Academic Planning Analysis Committee
Civil Liberties Board
Student Relations Committee
University Relations
Classified Research
MSA Committees
Personal Interviewing Committee
Insurance Compitee
Budget Priorities
Program Committee
Student Organizations Board






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