Thursday, August 4, 1977 THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Sha w en thralls
By SUSAN BARRYn
THERE IS only one more chance to
catch the Michigan Rep's produc-
tion of Shaw's Man and Superman, this
Saturday night, and if you miss it don't
say I never told you so. The production
is a thoroughly njoyable, highly prolific
comedy in which the energy of the dia-
logue and the freshness of the irony out-
shine any technical flaws. George Ber-
nard Shaw lives indeed!
Man and Superman is a play so clev-
erly written that a minimum of acting
proficiency would insure its success. Un-
fortunately the beginning of the first
act lived up to this prediction. Words
were jumbled and several actors gave
rather unconvincing line readings.
The catalyst in the first act perform-
ances, however, was the timing. Much
of the humor was generated by care-
fully calculated movements, and re-
peated mannerisms were effective in
creating consistent characters.
There is Octavius Robinson, played by
John Wojda, an overly sentimental artist
who blubbers on cue and eventually be-
comes emasculated through his devo-
tion to romanticism. Shaw points out
later in the play that this is the unfor-
tunate lot of true artists.
There is Ann Whitefield, played by
Dana Barton, an inveterate coquette,
whose flagrant hypocrisy is, remark-
ably enough, her most precious weapon,
even against those who are able to de-
And finally there is Jack Tanner,
played by Bruce T. Gooch, the hero of
the play. Jack has determined to recast
the moral fabric of society by writing a
book, entitled "The Revolutionist's Hand-
book," designed as an outline for men
desiring to escape the stranglehold of,.#
the, "life force."
Jack envisions a new man emergg
from the rubble of the old moralism,
a man free from all delusions and stif-
ig institutions. However, even Jack m
his quest for honesty, is revealed to be
condescending, and his fate brings about
the destruction of the final cliche.
BRUCE T. GOOCH as Jack was slight
ly stiff in his role at first. His voice slid X ,
too easily into unnaturally high tones.
However, this problem was soon over- S
come and it became clear that Gooch -
was enjoying the technique of his intri- y ±.s' rf;
zate reasoning, a fact which had a con-
tagious effect on the audience. Gooch
presented a character obnoxious and
overbearing enough to make a sudden Roberta Yule Owen and Bruce T. Gooch appear in the Michigan Rep. pr
transformation effectively remarkable. of Shaw's Man and Superman
John Wojda as Octavius was also stiff SEVERAL PERFORMANCES of the corrected Jack's classical all
in the beginning. But his characteriza- minor characters were also noteworthy. intuited relationships before
tion soon became solid and the rapid Kathleen Conlin was a strong Violet, consummated.
fluctuations in his expression were hi- capably cutting down Jack when other The good points of this
larious. attempts failed. Jack Van Natter was added up to entertainment.
properly uptight as Roebuck Ramsden, points made it fall somewha
Dana Barton captured the hypocrisy the most hardened representative of the the thoroughly engrossing an
of Ann( but came a little short on the old morality. ing work of art it is quite
charm. She behaved too childishly and representing. But the comed
should have been more calculating in - But most impressive was Jeffrey Guy- tact and the final impression
her most revealing moments, ton as Straker, the cocky chauffeur, who pletely enjoyable.
Unfulfilled 'Desire' touches
it short of
ly was in-
By RICHARD LEWIS
EUGENE O'NEILL'S Desire Under the Elms is an
extremely demanding play, and it is to the credit
of the Michigan Rep company that they have included
it in their current season at Power Center.
While it is regrettable that the powerful script is not
matched here by a powerful production, Desfre is nev-
ertheless frequently a movig evening of theatre.
It is not, perhaps, the satest thing to offer a sum-
mer audience. The main characters - an old farmer,
his young wife and his young son-are variously hypo-
critical, conniving, greedy, vengeful and egocentric;
the plot revolves around, an adulterous affairs be-
tween the wife and the son, strongly Oedipal and cul-
minating in an infanticide..
As the "summer theatre" experience generally in-
cludes nothing more shocking than Don't Drink the
Water, audiences may find is difficult to respond to
the monumental situations O'Neill throws at them.
This was certainly the case with last Friday's audi-
ence. Neatly groomed and full of "weekend" energy,
they were reluctant to dive into the violent, impas-
sioned action onstage.
LAUGHTER sometimes punctuated the climaxes of
O'Neill's grisly tragedy-the laughter of an audience
unwilling to be moved.
Of course, it is the responsibility of the performers
to woo an audience into acceptance, and this respon-
sibility is not fully met in the present production. As
Eben Cabot, the farmer's embittered son, Bruce T.
Gooch is mechanical. When Abby (old Ephriam Ca-
bot's wife) tells him that she has murdered "the child
of our sin," Gooch's Eben does not react with shock
and heartbreak, but chooses to rant instead.
RICHARD BURGWIN'S fondness for histrionics,
which served him so well when playing the Shake-
spearean ham in The Royal Family earlier this year,
undermines his basically strong portrayal of Ephriam
Cabot. True, Ephriam is a hypocrite, but his impas-
sioned pleas to God for a son are more than big
Carol Ann (Skimin) Hart's performance as Abby is
deeply affecting. She manages to justify Abby's greed
for a better life, her passion for and eventual love of
Eben, which drives her to murder. This is no small
Unfortunately, the supporting cast in this produc-
tion fails to match the caliber of Hart's performance,
but no matter, as theatregoers (forewarned about
O'Neillian angst) will, no doubt, enjoy this highly dra-
Strand screene d tnigh
-['HE FINAL offering in this Many of her films, including
summer's newly inaug- the scheduled Cosas de Mi
orated Independent Cinema/ Vida and Anselimo, exploit her
Video Ser'ies is an exhibition of love of Mexican culture, which
films by 1975 Ann Arbor Film has also effected her more ex-
Festwval grand prize winner, perirnental works, which in-
Chick Strand. - cude Elasticity and Angel Blue
Strand, also the recipient of Sweet Wings, also to be screen-
Guggenheim fellowships an d ing tonight.
American Film Institute grants,-
creates striking anthropological Showtimes are 8 and 9:30 this
documentaries and more per- evening in the Old Architecture
sonalized cine-poems - highly Aud. with adihission of $1.50.
individualized visual collages There will be a discussion fol-
on film. .lowing each screening.
Rainbow live set shines
By TIM YAGLE
The sounds °of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow
and the now defunct Beep Purple are very simi-,
lar because the force behind each was and is
Ritchie Blackmore and his vibrant lead guitar.
Blackmore's new group Blackmore's Rainbow
has just released- its second album On Stage
(Oyster-2-1801), a double live set consisting of
the best shows of their recent world tour.
The mysterious lead guitarist's medieval fetish
is evident as one examines the list of songs on
b the back cover ("Kill the King", "Sixteen Cen-
tury Greensleeves") and notes the cover of their
first album (Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow) - a
majestic castle not unlike the castle at Disney-
land - pardon the comparison.
The opening cut "liii the King" is a speed'
rocker in the mold of the early Deep Purple hit
"Man on the Silver Mountain", which receiv-
ed some FM airplay when Ritchie Bladkmore's
Rainbow, the group's first album, came out
sounds great live. With a good melody, plenty of
bass drum and cymbal smashing, it one of the
better tunes on the album.
Following this, the band plays a surprisingly
short version of "Starstruck", which also work-
ed its way onto a few FM playlists.
Then Blackmore and his knights really burst
into a finale of "Silver Mountain" which does a
brilliant job of ending the first side.
One of the songs that covers a full side is an
old Blackmore/Purple tune "Mistreated"' which
appeared on the Burn LP. As you listen to this
long, sometimes soft, sometimes heavy tune, you
get the feeling that Deep Purple is playing it and
not the Rainbow. Lead vocaliit Ronnie Dio's
voice sounds strikingly similar to David Cover-
dale's (Purple vocalist when the song was re-
leaded in 1973.)
Perhaps the primary function of On Stage is to
break the band into the American scene which
it will probably do because it's a good album
and the States are the only part of the world
where the Rainbow hasn't hit the top of the
charts. much less made any kind of an impact.