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July 18, 1979 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-07-18

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Page 6-Wednesday, July 18, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Comedy nothing to sneeze at

Praise Heaven. There's a must-see
show in the Summer Rep season, and
Noel Coward's Hay Fever is it. Kay
Long, who directed Travesties,
putatively the best of last summer's of-
ferings, has again emerged as the most
gifted of the season's directorial stock
with a production that is keen and
smart, almost perfectly cast, with
scarcely a jagged edge to speak of.
In fairness to the other directors, it
should be pointed out that Hay Fever is
Hay Fever
Noel Coward
Power Center
July 15, 18, 20 and August 2
Judith Bliss ............. Kathy EackernBadgerow
David Bliss ................Jon Haltquist
Sorel Bliss.. ......Terryl Wright Hallquist
Simon Bliss.. . ............ . Terry Caza
Myra Arundel................Georgette Fleischer
Richard Greatham ............... Richard Pickren
Jackie Coryton..................Lorel Janiszewski
Sandy Tyrell............... DanielChace
Clara ......................Shelly Ballmer
Kalhryn Long, director; Gary Musane, lightig;
Anne Mueller, sets; Diane Monach, costumes
probably the easiest of the summer
plays from a production standpoint, in
that Coward's polished wit pulls the ac-
tion (and actors) along, seemingly of its
own volition. Still, mistakes can be
made with the Briton's works, and they
often are. One comedic source in
Coward's plays is the contrast he ex-
ploits between "proper" upper class
behavior and the seethingly discordant
emotions that may be boiling beneath
the surface. The problem with many
American treatments of comedy of
manners is that the humor too often
stops with stereotypes. Directors fail to
see the comedic potential in toying with
the particular madness of each charac-
ter, and are satisfied with playing off
the general foolishness in lieu of the in-
Ms. Long, in tandem with her cast's
creative abilities, has pierced the
customary preconnections, and imbued
each of her nine players with pec-
cadilloes and peculiarities of his/her
very own. And there the fun begins.

She and the other members of her little
matriarchy-husband David, an author
nearing mid-life cirsis, and Simon and
Sorel, less-than-dutiful children
somewhere in their mid-twenties-have
inadvertently all invited houseguests
out to their Cookham cottage for the
same weekend.
Judith and her progeny begin
bickering about the invitations they've
independently tendered, leading
Mother to collapse into a chair and
overdramatically threaten to do away
with herself, distraught as she is over
everyone "fighting for the bath."
"Overdrama," in fact, is the leitmotif
of Judith's character, who at times
seems to lose appreciation altogether of
the distinction between artistry and ac-
Badgerow's waggish treatment of the
Bliss role ensures her exalted position
as the comic light of the local theater
scene. Her marvelously elastic face
retains the wealth of expressions it has
evidently always had, but her voice has
changed of late-for the better.
Badgerow used to have a problem with
screeching out some of her lines in a
manner that swiftly became annoying.
No more. Even at her most perturbed,
the actress stays well within a
reasonable range of pitches. Her comic
sensibilities have never been better.
One comic gem of patticular luster is
her matter-of-fact response to her
young guest Sandy, when he discovers
that Mr. Bliss is alive and kicking. "I
thought he was dead." spouts the
aspiring gigolo. "No, he isn't
dead-he's upstairs," replies
Badgerow-cum-Judith, investing her
delivery with just enough humor to
make its practiced absurdity all the
more effective.

majestic charm nearly overwhelms
Gerogette Fleischer, his half-willing
prey. Terry Caza makes good use of his
usual dour manner, scoffing his way
through snipes on the ways of the ruling
class. Terryl Hallquist exhibits great
proficiency in managing the
proprietory-fury quandary, as she cat-
tily picks on her mother, always with
the utmost taste and restraint.
Lastly, congratulations are in order
for Lorel Janiszewski, who admittedly
is a friend, but who would have them
coming even if I didn't know her from
Adam. The actress is stuck with one of
the most trying roles in the play-the
poor girl never stops sobbing-but
carries it off with aplomb and evident
ease. Her character's shyness and per-
sistent bawling prevent her from
having much in the way of spoken tid-
bits of amusement, but then

Janiszewski has always gotten most of
her laughs from demeanor and physical
humor, and she does here. Her hem-
ming and hawing to get out of playing a
parlor game steals the scene, and later,
when she finds out that Simon considers
her his fiancee, her resultant ex-
pression of terror and shock brings
boisterous laugh indeed.
Reservations: Georgette Fleischer's
non-committal sauntering through her
part, and Randy Neighbarger's trite
choices of incidental msic. and that is

FOR ALL Eacker Badgerow's ex-
JUDITH BLISS (Kathy Badgerow), n traordinary gifts, she is far from being
well-known and recently retired Lon- the only mirth-provoking figure on
don stage actress, has settled into a stage. Job Hallquist's David, is a mud-
happy country life, puttering around her die-headed, self-absorbed Casanova,
garden and reveling in past stage gkory, whose sweening confidence in his own

Richard (Richard Pickren) and Judith (Kathy Eacker Badgerow) entangled
in Summer Rep's "Hay Fever," playing tonight, July 20, and August 2 at the
Power Center.
TheAnn Arbor Film Coopersf9'e PresentstAudA -$1.so
(Ingmar Bergman, 1978) 7,8:40, 10:20-Aud A
Bergman's latest film is a grueling look at the relationship of mother and
daughter, and the consequences of consuming ambition. LIV ULLMAN, the
plain wife of a Norwegian pastor, invites her mother (INGRID BERGMAN), a
wordly concert pianist, to visit. In a harrowing climax, she unleashes a rage
built of a lifetime of envy and separation. "Ingrid Bergman gives a stunning
brittle performance in her native Swedish."-SIGHT AND SOUND. Swedish
with subtitles.

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