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July 26, 1977 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-07-26

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Tuesday, July 26, 1977

THE MICHIGA4 DAILY

Page Five

T- sd y..uy .6 1977 T H E.. M IC H IG A N D A IL Y1 P ag e F ive11111|111111|1111|llilllllllllillllliiillllllililllllliilliiilllllilllllli llR 'll l'lRII 1l. .l~llll l

Arts
David Keeps, Arts Editor
Phone 764-0562
'Greek' theatre
Delihts Detroit

Chapin charms crowd

By RICHARD LEWIS
IT MAY SEEM strange to re-
commend a weekend evening in
downtown Detroit. Most people
think of the area only as a de-
sert of crime and urban decay.
There is, however, an oasis in
this desert: Greektown. Long
known for its charming restau-
rants, cafes, and boutiques, the
block-long stretch of Monroe
street is now also the home of a
delightfil theater group called
Roadside Attractions.
Roadside's current attraction
is Robert Anderson's You Know
I Can't Hear You When The Wa-
ter's Running, a quartet of one-
acts whose subjects range from
censorship to senility.
The plays are .staged with mi-
nimal scenery in the intimate
Attic Theater, one flight up from
Trapper's Alley, offering a re-
freshing contrast to the lavishly
mounted productions that tend
to dominate the Ann Arbor
stage.
ANDERSON IS a nimble-wit-
ted playwright who also happens
to be compassionate -he rarely
resorts to the one-liner when
looking for a laugh, but, when he
does, the words always spring
from character. In "The Shock
of Recognition," for example, an
overweight producer defends his
bulging rear end with a touch of
pride: "You can't drive a spike
with a tack hammer."
The first play in "You Know
I Can't Hear You is a comedy
about a middle-aged couple who
are in the market for a pair of
twin beds. The man, played by
director Hal Youngblood, sees
this purchaase as the end of their
sex life together, despite reas-
surances from his wife, but
takes heart when a lovely young
bed-buyer finds him attractive.
Evelyn Orbach makes the miost
of her slightly colorless role, the
wife; Carolyn Hylenski is attrac-
tive as the younger woman, al-
though her gestures and facial
expressions occasionally seem
too broad for such a small the-

ater as the Attic.
SECOND ON THE bill is The
Shock of Recognition," in which
a fiery young playwright pleads
for absolute truh in the theater,
insisting that a character in his
new play appear nude onstage.
When the playwright and his
skeptical producer question an
actor about the role, however,
both receive some shocks.
As the producer, Frank Ben-
nett's relaxed performance is
the hit of the evening-Mike Kel-
tey's . portrayal of the play-
wright, uifortunately, is full of
stale mannerisms.
"I'll Be Home For Christmas"
displays a more sombre side of
Robert Anderson's talent, dem-
onstrating the plight of a middle-
aged businessman who feels
himself a stranger in a world of
sexual permissiveness and anti-
intellectualism. A n d e r s o n's
avoidance of cliche in the de-
velopment of this character is.
remarkable, and Hal Young-
blood performs the role with
minimum of affectation. The
rest of the cast is quite ade-
quate, too.
Comedy comes to the fore
with the final play of the eve-
ning, "I'm Herbert." This is a
dialogue for a couple who must
be in their nineties, judging by
the incredibly scrambled non-
sense of their speech, and it is
very funny indeed. Although Ev-
elyn Orbach is not entirely con-
vincing as the old woman, her,
flsir for, comedy sees her.
through, and Paul Wintersis full
of the appropriate splutters and
shakes as her husband.
Performances, scheduled for
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and
12 are decidedly worth seeing,
and would be even more plea-
sant after a Greek dinner down
the street.
Join The Daily
Sports Department

By SUSAN BARRY
HARRY CHAPIN ambled out to the front of the
stage at Pine Knob and greeted the audience with
a fist salute. After waiting over an hour for some
last minute equipment checks, clustered in the
sweltering heat behind the Pavillion, the audience
roared back its approval.
Chapin, casually dressed and sporting a down-
home folksy grin, modestly acknowledged the re-
ception add lit into a medley of what he explained
were some of his lesser-known compositions. Stat-
ing that many artists start off with a collection of
their hits Chapin quipped, "I thought I'd start
out with a medley of my misses.'
The crowd was hardly disappointed. Chapin's
act has so much audience appeal, in fact that
many of his songs received standing ovations as
soon as they were recognized.
Chapin manages to generate much of his popu-
larity through his modesty. He peddles his humil-
ity in much the same way as some artists peddle
their arrogance.
Declaring that he has done more benefits than
any other performer, Chapin proclaimed this con-
cert his "Harry Chapin benefit," indicating that
he would also be available after the concert to
autograph all articles bought in support of his pet
charity "World Hunger Year."
WORLD HUNGER YEAR, explained Chapin, is
every year in which a country producing enough
food to feed half the world had people whuo were
actually starving, a situation which Chapin re-
ferred to as much akin to obscenity.
With a high forehead shading rather beady eyes
and a beaked nose, Chapin presented a profile
most accurately resembling a caricature. His
band included brother Steve Chapin on piano, Joe
Wallace on bass, Howie Fields on drums, Dougie
Walker on lead guitar, and Kim Skoals perform-

ing with a remarkable grace on the cello.
Unlike many of his co-te-i'uoraries, Chapin and
his band actually have obhioss musical training
and talent. Coupled with 'hpin's poetical lyrics
which are somewhat off-bent, often sardonically
humorous, but based solidly enough on common
experience to make them commercially market-
able, is his softly versatile voice, which no record-
ing has adequately reprodiuced. Chapin at his best
packs enough power into his poetry and lovely,
surging backup to move his most stolid listener.
The somewhat contrived rhymes of songs like
"He Was the Sun" were entirely immersed in a
performance full of pathos and energetic sincer-
ity.
While many performers are easily identified
two or three routine chords into any song, Cha-
pin's music is much more variable. His songs are
often characterized by poetry unpredictably reach-
ing slightly too far for its irony. The result is oc-
casionally numbing, but always refreshingly ori-
ginal.
AND HIS IMAGERY is as striking and extra-
ordinary as reality. When announcing a song like
"Odd Job Man," Chapin hints that "the punch
line of this song is worth the trip."
This is also true of his his song "'Taxi" in which
the moving cello solo is infinitely more effective
in live performance.
Chapin played a straight three hour set svith one
short break and concluded with a sing-olung ver-
sion of his song "Bananas." He was not, however,
settling for mere audience participation. Chapin
directed the audience in five-part harmony, in-
cliding two sections of men, two (if women and
oine section AC/ DC
Chapin left his audience thoroaghty satisfied
and determined to be in attendance for the next
performance, which he promised would be soon
forthcoming.

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