Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

May 25, 1978 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-05-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page 6--Thursday, May 25, 1978-The Michigan Daily
ilbert & Sullivan at its finest

SpecialtoThe Daily
CHICAGO - The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company of England arrived here last
week as part of their North American tour. The usual fare - Mikado, Pirates of
Penzance, and Pinafore, which together are frequently and breezily referred to as
MikadoPinaPirates - was supplemented by a rare tour presentation of what many
critics consider to be the finest of all the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas - Iolanthe.
The production of Iolanthe that was mounted Saturday night at the Arie Crown
Theater in McCormick Place was recently-designed. In fact, it was put together in
honor of the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth and was appropriately dressed
mainly in shades of silver and black. This performance was both visually and
musically stunning.
From the first chorus, it was clear that the show was going to be a musical treat.
The curtain opens during the overture to reveal a black scrim curtain upon which is
emblazoned a silver-and-sequins medallion of an ornate floral design, in the center
of which appears the words "Iolanthe/or the Peer and the Peri," which is the show's
full name.
THE SCRIM lifts and the stage is
seen - entirely framed in a similar
silver frame inside of which all the ac-
tion will take place. The chorus of
fairies comes on the stage and perfor-
ms the opening number, "Tripping
hither, tripping thither."

Special to the Daily
CHICAGO - As this is the centenary for the first production of H.M.S. Pinafore,
Gilbert and Sullivan's widely known operetta and the mainstay of many high school
theater groups, I think it wise to see if it has maintained its charm in present day
theater. The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company performed Pinafore almost exactly the
way it was performed under Gilbert's fond care at its opening at the Opera Comique
and, unfortunately, today's audience suffers for it.
Why has the set, an unquestionably very pretty and realistic replica of a British
warship's quarter deck, never been redesigned, especially when its utilization of
stage space leaves something to be desired? Few but the captain may use the upper
deck, so chorus and the remainder of the leads stay huddled together on the stage,
producing a somewhat crowded and stagnant picture. The set causes the blocking to
be merely functional, the only visually appealing scene occurring when Josephine
oversees Ralph on the lower deck about to commit suicide.
GRANTED, GILBERT was a stickler for detail - in all the operas where
possible, he made pains to keep costumes and sets as authentic as possible.
However, the man that could pen this
tongue-in-cheek barb - "It so happens
that if there is an institution in Great
Britain which is not susceptible of any
improvement at all, it is the House of
Peers!" - from Iolanthe, would surely
be the first to agree that after one hun-
dred years, it's time to give Pinafore a
face lift.

lolanthe (or The Peer
and the Peri)
Written by W.S. Gilbert, composedby Arthur
The Lord Chancellor ................. John Reed
Earl of Mount Ararat......... .... John Alydon
Strephon .........................Gareth Jones
Queen of the Fairies ..........Patricia Leonard
lolanthe .........................Jane Metcalf
Phyllis .........................Barbara Lilley
First performance Saoytheater, November
25, 1002
RoystenNash, musical director and conductor;
Bruno Santini, costume designer; Joe Davis,
lighting designer; Virginia Mason, choreography
Act One succeeds as a smoothly-
flowing entity, building through the
familiar scenes and songs in a
believable fashion through to the
lengthy, operatic finale. What makes
this remarkable is the tendency of the
D'Oyly Carte Company - and many
others who follow their lead - to treat
the G&S operas as period pieces with so
many "set" numbers, that is, discreet
pieces with no discernible musical or
dramatic relationship to each other.
That they did not do so is tribute to the
ascendancy of Royston Nash in the last
couple of years to the post of music
director.,Nash has been criticized for
what many feel to be a choppy style of
conducting, but nonetheless this can be
seen rather as a needed infusion of
dynamism into a century-old manner of
performing these shows.
See A SPLENDID, Page 8

H.M.S. Pinafore (or The Lass
that Loved a Sailor
Written by W.S. Gilbert, composed by
Arthur Sullivan
The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph
Porter, KIC.B....................John Reed
CaptainCorcoran..............Michael Raynor
Ralph Rachstraw ................Meston Reid
Dick Deadeye ....................John Ayldon
Josephine.................. Barbara Lilley
Hebe.. . ...........Roberta Morrell
Mrs. Cripps (Little
Buttercup t ...... . ..... Patricia Leonard
First performance-opera Comique, May 25, 1878
Roysten Nash, musical director
and conductor
While Gilbert's libretto and Sullivan's
music are some of the best in comic
opera, they have topped themselves so
often in later works like The Gondoliers
and Iolanthe that one can't help seeing
Pinafore as a lesser opera, the groun-
dwork for a brilliant duo. This feeling is
only enhanced by, the D'Oyly Carte
Production, which treats it like a
precious museum piece, one of those
paintings that "everybody" knows and
adores. This attitude caused their
production to rate at best a "fair," and
this only because the orchestra and ac-
tors' diction and vocal quality were vir-
tually perfect.
ROYSTON NASH, who took control of
the orchestra from Isadore Godfey in
1971, has kept the sparkle, humor and
airiness of Sullivan's music. However,
he tended to take the patter, "When I

Two views from the D'Oyly Carte company's recent tour of Chicago: top,
Michael Rayner as Captain Corcoran and Barbara Lilley as Josephine in HMS
Pinafore, and bottom, (from left) Suzanne O'Keeffe, John Reed, Patricia
Leonard, Lorraine Dulcie Daniels, Patricia Anne Bennett, Barbara Lilley, and
Geoffrey Shovelton in a scene from lolanthe.

'Colored Girls': For theatre-goers who
would consider seeing something different

ForColored When does a revue or free form
Girls Who Have Considered suicide/When musical make more-sense than a more
The Rainbew is Enn orthodox way of telling a story on
by NtozakeShange stage? Godspell, though not a master-
Fisher Theatre piece, provides one reasonable answer.
LadyinOrange........,........Barbara Alston Its zaniness and deviance from the
Ledy in Pink . .............. Beverly Anne Scriptures were a welcome leap from
Lady in Purple_ ......Gloria Catomnee
Lady in Green ........ .. Brenda J. Davis the solemn treatment usually given the
Lady in Blue .....................Paula Larke life and times of Jesus. (Remember
Lady in Yellow ..... ......... .Jonette O'Kelley The Greatest Story Ever Told?)
Lady in Red ...............Latanya Richardson For Colored Girls who have Con-
ozScott,directorandarranger; Ming ChoLee, sidered Suicide/When The Rainbow is
.scenercydcsigner; Judy Dearing,costume desiger;
JenniferTipton,ighting; Pata Moss, Enuf is a different matter entirely. It is
choregraphy the product of a notion that is em-
barrassingly new in the arts - that
v- - -" - withinthe-black -minority; there- is a

sub-minority of black women whose
aspirations and fears are distinct from
Afro-Americans' asa whole.
So if the theme of black womanhood
has never before been broached on the
:stage, I ask, why found the genre with a
"choreopoem," as Colored Girls calls
itself? A more conservative form would
have been more appropriate for first
bringing this particular message to the
(predominantly white) American
theater-going public. As it stands,
Colored Girls consists of 21 disjointed
segments of varying moods and styles.
There are dramatic monologues, songs,.
dances and free style verse of every at,.
titude. - - - - - -

THE ISSUE of the black male
mystique is that most poignantly and
humorously addressed by the show,
each of several scenes looking at a dif-
ferent aspect. There are the "latent
rapists," whose advances make every
evening on the town a potential
disaster. In "sorry," the six performers
enact grotesque parodies of the various
ways their lovers have come to them to
apologize for wrongdoing: "You know
I'm only human, woman" (delivered in
broad dialectic slur); or (after noisily
inhaling on an imaginary marijuana
cigarette), "Hey, I was stoned." Their
mimicry of their men's "soulful" struts
- -See COLORED, Page 8

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan