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July 20, 1973 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-07-20

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,. w ..:.

Page Eight


Friday, July 20, 1973

Page Eight THE SUMMER DAILY Friday, July 20, 1973

Plamondon on trial

In the most recent battle of the nine-
year war between members of the Rain-
bow People's Party (RPP) and federal
... and state law enforcement agencies, RPP
members Pun Plamondon anl Craig Blaz-
ier are standing trial in Cadillac before
District Court Judge William Peterson on'
charges of extortion, conspiracy to com-
mit extortion, and usury.
The charges stem from an incident that
occurred last January in which Blazier
and Plamondon allegedly attempted to
collect a drug debt from a dealer at the
dealer's home near Beulah, southwest of
Traverse City.
that the trial is a "political frame-up" on
the part of state Attorney General Frank
Kelley and the Michigan State Police, for
the purpose of "harassing, intimidating,
and silencing" the political activity of
the defendants and the RPP.

Kelley has taken a personal interest
in the prosecution. Though never present
at any of the preliminary hearings and
not on the scene at Cadillac himself, Kel-
ley dispatched two of his assistant state
attorneys general to begin prosecuting
the case the days after the two were
While Blazier has been active in the
RPP only since 1971, Plamondon helped
found its forerunner, the White Panther
Party, and was charged, along with John
Sinclair and Jack Forrest, in the 1968
bombing of the Ann Arbor CIA office.
After going underground and spending
some time on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted
list, Plamondon was apprehended and
spent fifteen months in the Wayne and
Kent (Grand Rapids) County jails before
the charges against him were dismissed.
originally charged with armed robbery as
well as extortion and held on $100,000

bonds. At the preliminary examination on
March 12, however, the prosecution's only
two witnesses seriously contradicted each
other, rendering the armed robbery charge
unsupportable and the $100,000 bonds dub-
iously high.
After three bond hearings, bond was
eventually reduced to $25,000 for Plamon-
don and $5000 for Blazier. Both were able
to meet the payments.
Uwe Wagner, the man Blazier and Pla-
mondon allegedly threatened, is- a Gee-
man-born alien with a conviction for sale
and possession of marijuana and according
to spokespersons for RPP, he is a rip-off
dealer in hard drugs.1
HE TESTIFIED that Blazier and Pla-
mondon, armed, respectively, with a knife
and a "little white derringer," attempted
to extort money from him in payment for
a debt he said he owed them on a 25-lb.
marijuana transaction.
They threatened him with "two broken
arms and two broken legs," he testified,
and when he told them he didn't have :.s
money they forcibly removed his personal
belongings as security on the debt.
The state's other eyewitness, B r u c e
Peterson, was living with Wagner at the
time and gave a substantially different
version of events, however. At the pre-
trial examination Peterson testified that

he did not recall seeing any weapons, did
not hear any direct threats of bodily in-
jury made to' Wagner, and said that Wag-
ner had consented to the removal of his
that Plamondon and Blazier threatened to
expose Wagner as a dope dealer and cause
him to be deported.
He also said the two had claimed they
were mediating between Wagner and some
third party who might be willing to use
"ice-picks and battery acid" on Wagner.
Among the motions filed by defense
counsel Buck Davis of Detroit previous
to the trial were:
-A MOTION to dismiss all charges on
grounds that the prosecution is politically
motivated. That motion was denied.
-A motion disputing the admissability of
evidence obtained by tape-recording tele-
phone conversations set up by the State
Polige between Wagner and Plamondon.
That evidence was declared admissable
in court Monday.
A MOTION THAT Plamondon be ap-
pointed co-counsel for the defense along
with attorney Buck Davis. That motion
was granted so that Plamondon, like An-
gela Davis during her trial, has the right
to address the court and cross-examine

Flahooley: Fifties
just don't make it

The American Stage Festival's pilot pro-
duction of The Flahooley Incident at Men-
delssohn this weekend has its ups and
downs - but unfortunately more downs
than ups, due in part to the script.
A pop musical based on E. Y. Har-
burg's and Fred Saidy's 1951 Broadway
production, The Flahooley Incident is be-
ing staged in Ann Arbor with all local tal-
ent to determine whether the play has any
potential for a professional run. It
THE PLOT, despite its revisions, c o n-
tains hopelessly dated premises - the kind
of things that probably wouldn't even
appeal to students' parents.
The action revolves around a hippie pup-
pet-maker named Cloud, who works for a
huge "establishment" company, B. J.

Comedy ot frrors
The Shakespeare play Comedy of Errors, pictured above, is currently showing
at the Power Center. A review of the play will appear in tomorrow's Daily.

Repertory gives fine showing
of Mrs. Warren's Profession

Being a woman in 1895, as in 1973,
was being a loser, someone trapped be-
tween untenable personal standards and
equally impossible societal expectations.
Among a number of other themes,
Shaw's play Mrs. Warren's Profession ex-
plores the cost of female success in a
male world. Michigan Reportory '73
opened a strong production of the play
at the Power Center Wednesday night.
Mrs. Warren's Profession details the
conflict between Kitty Warren, a beau-
tiful and charming woman who has pulled
herself up from the gutter through a ca-
reer as a prostitute and manager of a
collection of European- whorehouses, and
her daughter Vivienne, raised to be a
lady, educated at Cambridge, and shock-
ed to discover the nature of her moth-
er's business.
The mainstay and central mover of the
production is Vivienne Lenk in the role
of Mrs. Warren herself. Lek's perform-
ance is always competent, subtle and
sympathetic, reaching deeply moving
peaks during the play's more serious por-
Thanks to Lenk, the entertaining pro-
duction conveys Mrs. Warren as more than
the whore with the heart of gold or a
premise in the playwright's argument on
the morality of money and class. Lenk's
characterization sometimes transforms
Mrs. Warren into a universal tragic fig-

ure in whom all women might recognize
some of themselves or their futures.
'PERHAPS EVEN more notable in a lo-
cal performance is the company's pro-
fessional handling of the turn of the cen-
tury setting and humor which other pro-
ductions often leave so tiresome.
Veteran director William Halstead keeps
the play's pacing fast but never pan-
icky, and the whole cast exercises admir-
able restraint in piecing Shaw's con-
glomeration of one-line sparklers into a
witty but homan whole.
Judy Levitt as Mrs. Warren's daughter
Vivienne is as charming, vigorous and de-
cisive as any competent old-fashioned
heroine. But while Levitt keeps the action
moving, she sometimes appears to gloss
over the complexities of Vivienne's seem-
ingly liberated haracter, full of uncon-
ventional strength and determination but
also, in her mother's words, a "pious,
canting, hard, selfish woman." A more
comprehending interpretation of Vivienne
could have lent added richness to the
mother-daughter confrontation.
AS VIVIENNE'S suitor Frank Gardner,
Kenneth Marshall turns in a properly'
winning performance. Well-cast as the
handsome ruffian with hidden social scrup-
les, Marshall keeps Frank likeable des-
pite his ever so clever banter.
Evan Jeffries, who plays Mrs. War-
ren's old friend Mr. Praed, also performs

admirably in a delicate role, only occas-
ionally overstressing Praed's silliness.
Christopher Connell as Sir George
Crofts plays the upper class bounder ade-
quately. Laurence Coven as Frank's fath-
er, the Rev. Samuel Gardner provides
quite a few funny moments of counter-
point to the Warren family action, but
direction of his role seems purposely to
reject Shaw's blustering characterization
of the minister, a pity for the production
as whole.
A well-deserved round of applause for
the ingenius set design rose from the
audience at the begining of the fourth
act. Robert Franklin has created three
scenes which are both witty and unpre-
tentious. Light design by Craig W o 1f
also offered some happy surprises. Cos-
tuming by Zelma Weisfeld is entertain-
ing and sometimes excellent.
perienced, faces the sticky problem of
reconciling within one production Shaw's
clever parlor wit and some important
treatment of interpersonal relationships
and social themes.
At best, the juxtaposition of humor and
seriousness could have rendered both more
powerful. In the present production, hu-
mor sometimes undercuts otherwise ex-
cellent serious scenes. However, aud-
iences response to Wednesday night's per-
formance made it obvious that this draw-
back does not greatly hamper the play's

Bigelow Toys. He heroically saves the
corporation's advertising campaign with
his laughing Flahooley doll invention, only
to become entangled in corporate pressure
and politics.
In a dream sequence, Cloud finds the
solution to his responsibilities in the form
of a magic genie. The genie, however, re-
solved to conjure 'up Flahooleys forever,
cannot be stopped, even when the world
economy is threatened by overproduction.
And the complications go on .. .
ecology, politics, and Watergate sprinkle
the plot, sometimes quite humorous, but
usually appearing as forced attempts to
update the production. The exchanges be-
tween Cloud's girlfriend and her competi-
tor for Cloud's affection, the boss's secre-
tary, are particularly corny.
Flahooley was obviously written as a
vehicle for 1950's values with a 1950's per-
spective about what is funny. Unlike some
dramatic material, this one doesn't seem
to have enough universality to be ressur-
The musical score, too, with lyrics by
E. Y. Harburg shows its age. Yet, due
to the recent 1950's oldies revival, a few
numbers appropriately choreographed
make for some pleasant listening. "Jump"
and "Come Back, Little Genie" are two
of the more memorable pieces.
UNFORTUNATELY on the play's open-
ing night, Wednesday, many of the ly-
rics were inaudible because of the band's
volume and because the choruses often
seemed to be singing in a range too low
for their capability.
The spectrum of voice quality was ex-
tremely wide. Michael Kaplan as B. G.
Bigelow deserves special praise for n o t
only his penetrating voice, but also for
his excellent portrayal of the "toycoon."
Peter Kornbluh as Cloud and Elizabeth
Kelly as his girlfriend were both a bit
weak, Kelly especially in her stiff danc-
ing. .George Tourtellotte as the genie cer-
tainly knew how to move, but Amanda
Kelly, cast as a seductive Middle Eastern
princess, approached her belly dancing
role as though she were afraid of her
own sexuality.
ing little touches was a set designed to
look like a tinker-toy construction - fit-
ting for the scene of a toy corporation. A
collection of four beautifully made marion-
ettes added to the atmosphere.
Despite those extra touches, however,
producer and director Michael Harrah's
production does not succeed in keeping
the Flahooley script aflpat. The script has
a marked tendency to sink repeatedly after
it raises hopes.

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