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May 15, 1979 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-05-15

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Page 6-Tuesday, May 15, 1979-The Michigan Daily
'Taking It' manages via politics

By JOSHUA PECK arrangements of the way men and
Maybe the sixties aren't irresurrec- women relate to each other, with their
tably dead after all, parents and other older influences, and
True, yesteryear's politically in- intrasexually.
clined students are gone, and public WHEN, IN the late sixties, male
issues that excite the community's in- radical leftists were first confronted
terest are fewer and farther between. with feminist ideas, many initially
But there is another side to political ac- found them to be undeserving of atten-
tivism that has floundered less (and tion, compared to the immense task of,
perhaps even flourished) with the say, dismantling the running dog
passing of that glorious decade, Tom military industrial complex (whew!)
Hayden's new allegiance to Jerry But Hoffman and the rest eventually
Brown, and Angela Davis' descent into swung around to a point of view
obscurity notwithstanding. I refer to somewhat more liberated than this
the radical personal changes on which early, crude one. It came to seem
grander, societal ones are built; new ridiculous to imagine n newod ner

wherein the old roles of oppressor and
oppressed had not been vanquished, but
merely filled by new characters, i.e.,
men in the former role and women in
the latter. Gradually, the notion of
sexual equality worked its way into
radical rhetoric,
The Counterculture, of course,
spawned art, both from its political and
personal arms. Much of it was crude
and unsubtle, and divorced itself from
traditional roots. The garish murals
that screamingly decorate the northern
and western sides of the University's
Library for Afro-American Studies are
a good example. Utterly untutored use
of color and form in the (art?) works
thrust the message - in this case, black
fury and hatred - all the more
menacingly into the foreground.
THE THEATRE Company of Ann
Taking It From the Top!
Theatre Company of Ann Arbor
Canterbury Loft
May 12-13
Tom Kuma
Stella Mifsad
Stephanie Ozer
Deb Shelden
Christopher Wakefield
Theatre Company ofAnn Arbor,
directors andproducers
Arbor is also a cultural offspring of the
activist years, and, like the Libary's ar-
tist, has eschewed some of the
traditional tools and methods of its art.
There is nothing even remotely
Stanislavskian about the -six actors' ap-
proach to their latest offering, Taking It
From the Top! It is scarcely a concern
that any kind of fabricated charac-
terization be sustained. The performers
are at all times either speaking their
own words, undisguised, or broadly
posturing as someone else, with little
internalization to speak of.
Taking It consists of three playlets,
each with its own focus and direction.
The first, "Introspections," puts each
of the six actors on display to deliver a
little narrative about some life ex-

perience that affected him/her par-
ticularly profoundly. Elise speaks of
the joy and relief that holidays brought
her in the ghetto, Stephanie mulls over
the sad strength of Jewish motherhood,
as she saw it in her mother (and her
mother's circle) in her native Bronx,
and Chris gives a brief discourse on his
struggle with competitiveness, both on
the playing field and in the classroom.
The second playlet, "At Second
Sight,'' is an embarrassingly simple
message from the cast's three women
to their mothers - "Mom, I'm sorry I
didn't understand how oppressed you
were when I was little, but now I do, an-
I identify with you and I love you." The
women take quite a while to say this,
though, stopping along the way to
reflect on all manner of feminist
questions. The basic point of these side
issues is that women ought really to
resist societal insistence on abandon-
ment of sisterhood, and to treat other
women as "comrades, co-creators, and
The men finish up with "Man-i-fest,"
a refreshing and amusingly harsh
treatment of stereotypically male
roles. "Man-i-fest" uses frenetic and
furious running in place as a metaphor
for the reality of masculine existence.
Men in the audience are incited to
discard competition,-as a lifestyle in
favor of open emotions, comraderie and
brotherhood. Curiously, the actors
looked somewhat uncomfortable when
the script, such as it was, called on
them to embrace each other. But then,
given the environment males have been
forced to live in up until now, that
discomfort may have been in the eye of
the beholder.
At any rate, political fervor is a
welcome source for new ideas in
theater. TCAA will fit the bill quite
,nicely, crudeness and all.

Artist Chuang a bang
The paintings of Chuang Che show us the artist's vision of the world, landscapes
of Nature, and depictions of her force. Bold brushwork, textures and unique color
development characterize these creations, now on display at DeGraaf Forsythe
Galleries in the Nickels Arcade.
Chuang's work embodies contrast: the contrast of soft color washes gashed with
black brushstrokes; the contrast of empty space with furious activity. Many of the
his paintings suggest the elements colliding in a genesis of energy evoking fire and
smoke, clouds and lighting, and yin and yang.
Texture enriches Chuang's images. Trusting his medium to create shapes, he
lets the paint run and drip. At times, the depth of the texture suggests that he must
have thrown down his brush and worked the paint with his hands. color takes on
new versatility-there are blacks with intaglio depth, backgrounds with the tex-
ture of a printmaker's soft ground. He creates an effect similar to that of a potters
glaze by mingling colors and employing cracked surfaces. This is. notable in
Landscape 1978 no. 98, wherein washes of pink and blue merge to pond green in a
skillfully crafted evolution of color.
CHUANG TITLES all his abstract contemplations on nature "Landscapes."
Though he is influenced by traditional Chinese techniques, he goes beyond
traditional forms to create modern images of nature. Landscape 1979 no. 26, a trip-
tych of large canvasses reminiscent of silkscreens, exemplifies this. Chuang's
technique echoes Chinese painting whose "empty" spaces signify as much as do its
figures. The eye travels from a wash to forms, back to nothingness. Space and
shapes resist definition; they may be air, water, stone, even flesh. Strong brush
work accents the painting.
Chuang displays a strong feeling for nature atits most basic, a fascination with
the elements, their changes, and what their union creates. His paintings brim with
movement-all directions akilter, diagonals that lead the eye on, more diagonals
that interrupt, then disappear into washes. We see mountains and storm shapes;
we sense wind blowing, eruption, collision. There is, in fact, a multitudeof things to
experience in these paintings. You are urged to experience them.

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