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June 08, 1972 - Image 2

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1972-06-08

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday, June 8, 1972

theatre

Charley's Aunt:
By JAN BENEDETTI story goes. All the jokes are ob-
The 1890's comedy "Charley's vious, predictable and have been
Aunt", currently being produced seen countless times before.
by the University P 1 a y e r s But Robert Chapel, who has
Guild, is based on the world's the difficult task of playing
oldest comic situation - a man Charley's aunt, succeeds with
masquerading as a woman. the part - due largely to the
The plot concerns the troub- fact that he is playing out that
led love lives of Jack Chesney oldest of old jokes. He does ev-
and Charles Wykeham - two erything that one would ex-
shallow, carefree rich, conceit- pect - uses a squeaky voice,
ed college kids of the '90s. affects a wiggling walk, etc.
Due to a number of compli- But this very predictability
cations, Lord Fancourt Bab- creates a serious problem with
berley, a friend, must dress up much of the show. "Charley's
and pose as Wykeham's aunt Aunt" is a long, long play by
(i.e. Charley's aunt). And so the current s ndards, filled with
many secret meetings, masquer-
arno~r~iiun ades, asides to the audiences,
HA IRSTullnG coinsidences and long lost loves.
AS YOU LIKE ITi The utter predictability of it all
NEW TRENDS FOR 1972 causes the show to drag and al-
TRIMS-SHAGS most grind to a halt at times.
and RAZOR CUTS But the fine scenes between
Dascola Barbers Babberley as Charley's aunt and
two suitors almost make up for
2 SHOPS the shortcomings.
0 611 E. University
0 615 E. Liberty The pompous suitors, pom-
pously portrayed by H.D. Cam-
eron and Chet Smith become
enmeshed in their flowery rhe-
12 s. university toric, while the ersatz aunttries
A Pto dissuade their amorous ad-
vances.
Theatre Phone 668-6416 The production opens with
several old corny college songs,
This film must be seen sung by an omnipresent male
from the beginning quartet, dressed in bow ties,
caps and gowns. Looking like a
combination of choir boys and
a barbershop quartet, they sang
before, during and between acts.
Though they sang very well be-
fore the first act, I became
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Call MICHAEL THORYN
761 -6683
expenenced independent instructor

Oldest joke in the world

afraid that this was the entire
show.
But the sets are the real star
of the show. Designed by Rich-
ard Ferguson-Wagstaffe, the
sets were both luxurious and
appropriate to the play-a rar-
ity in local productions.
A prime feature of the set in
the first act was a number of
two sided pictures-one side

with pornographic photos of
1890's "bathing beauties" and
the other side with sports pic-
tures - which are switched to
the more respectable side when
visitors arrive.
One minor problem was dis-
turbing. Many of the actors
seemed to have a disconcerting
problem with their affected En-

glish accents. An English "a"
awkwardly grafted onto Mid-
western accents creates some
difficulty.
The comedy is being offered
through Saturday in Mendels-
sohn Theatre. All proceeds from
the show go to the Thomas
Simpson Memorial Institute, a
research center for blood dis-
orders.

X-Communication: Informal,
innuovative, refreshing theatre

By GLORIA JANE SMITH
Does exciting, creative theatre
really exist any more . . . any-
where? Sometimes this campus
leads me to believe not. When
you peel away the professional
slickness of the numerous per-
formances that grace our stages
each year, often all that is left
is disappointment.
Last night's performance of X-
Communication at Conspiracy
was a refreshing breath of air
for the Ann Arbor theatrical
environment. Whew . . . do we
need it.
In the style of many informal
theatre groups, Theatre X be-
gan their performance seated
among the audience. At the
sound of an ear-piercing horn,
they rose to make their presence
known. And from that moment
on, they proved themselves far
superior to the ordinary infor-
mal theatre group.
A collage of satire, improvi-
sation and mime, X-Communica-
tion carried a message of social
and political criticism to its
audience. No, not the usual in-
sipid relevant but unartistic ex-
cuse for a theatrical message,
but an invigorating success at
s a y i n g something meaningful
through an art form.
Few American ills escaped
their share of ridicule from
Theatre X-from an episode de-
picting a crowd of people gath-

ered at a rally to "Kill the Viet
Cong" who offered various ex-
cuses and innocent questions to
an on-the-spot reporter, to an
episode depicting a robot-like
schoolteacher and her well-con-
trolled classroom.
We were made continually
aware of the ability of the mute
human body to communicate.
Contortions, especially shown by
Ric Grusczynski playing the
Blob, were powerfully expres-
sive. On stage roamed lions and
sheep, robots and soldiers, moth-
ers and children, businessmen
and bums . . . all vibrantly de-
picted by a controlled coordina-
tion of verbal and physical ex-
pression.
Following t h e performance,
Theatre X presented a, workshop
for all interested audience mem-
bers. Through various exercises,
the group illustrated many of
the techniques used earlier in
the evening. Realization came
that it just wasn't as easy as the
group had often made it seem
on stage.
Last night's audience num-
bered less than 30, a sad state
of affairs for a community
that is allegedly a center of cul-
tural awareness. For those who
demand elaborate stage decor
and color-coordinated costum-
ing, X-Communication would
admittedly be a disappointment.
But for those who are sincerely
attracted to innovative theatre,
the performance is a must.
Theatre X is a group of twen-
ty people from different back-
grounds - ages 19 to 48 -
who are "trying to create some-

thing cooperatively." Nearly
three years ago they began in
the area of University of Wis-
consin - Milwaukee, hoping to
provide a creative alternative
to university theatre.
They now operate in a small
(capacity 99) theatre in down-
town Milwaukee - performing
there and in various other loca-
tions throughout the country.
X-Communications will again
be presented tonight at Con-
spiracy, followed by a perform-
ance of Macbeth on Friday and
Saturday.
The Michigan Daily, edited and man-
aged by students at thnetUnivnrsity of
Michigan. News phone: 764-0562. Seesyd
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Michigan 48104. Published daily Tues-
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threugh Saturday morning. Subserip-
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area); $6.50 iecal mail (in Mich. or
Oho); $7.50 non-local mal (other states
and foreign).
'IW

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