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August 07, 1975 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-08-07

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Vol. LXXXV, No. 58-S

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

'Canterbury T es: Ribald musical

By ALICE HENKIN
Springtime follies appeal to
mid-summer madness. So Can-
terbury Tales, a musical colored
brightly with the zestiness of
the English spring, the delight
of the journey, and the ribald
spirit of Eros at play, has been
joyously received at the Men-
delssohn Theatre this week.
Canterbury Tales concerns a
diverse group of pilgrims who
meet at the Tabard Inn, en
route to Thomas a'Becket's
shrine at Canterbury.
TO PASS the time, they agree
to tell stories servicing the
"general morality and general
pleasure." The musical, based
quite faithfully on a selection
of four of Chaucer's six tales,
treats that most topical of
themes - the war between the
sexes.
Much of the script is taken
directly from Chaucer, whose
language and wit are not re-
strained. In fact, a great deal
of the joy of the play is derived
directly from Chaucer's lines--
his vocabulary and phrasing,
his allusions and rhymes.
The result is a musical burst-
ing with jocularity, bawdiness,
and an overall air of celebra-
tion.
THE CASTING is superb;
there are outstanding perform-
ances by Sally Bublitz, Sheila
Heyman, Denise Cole, Mikell
Pinkey, Charles Sutherland and
Dave Johnson. Costumes and
props are similarly excellent.
The costumes enhance the me-
dieval atmosphere of the play,
and the general visual interest.
The props are simple, and
several are strikingly clever.
There is a definite progression
from an effective subtlety to-
wards a colorful gaudiness. Wit-
ness the bed prop (beds figur-
ing importantly in the produc-
tion), In the first skit, "The
Miller's Tale," a vertical board
effectively represents a bed. By
the last tale, the Wife of Bath's,
a silver-gray canopied bed wafts
through a cloud of smoke onto
the stage.
To some extent the costum-
ing undergoes a similar transi-
tion. So in the third tale Pluto
and Proserpina appear, deific,
bedecked in silver; and the last
tale gains glitter from the
regally attired king and queen.
This progression has a positive
value, maintaining the visual
dynamism of the m u s i c a l
throughout.
THE MUSICAL quality of the
production does not, unfortun-

ately, measure up to the pro-
duction's dramatic standards.
Although the forms might have
enhanced t h e predominantly
vivacious mood, under the cir-
cumstances it frequently de-
tracts from the overall quality
of the production.
There are no 'memorable
melodies;' there is nothing out-
standing about the arrange-
ments; there are no songs par-
ticularly worthy of note.
Soloists, both instrumentalists
and singers, are on the whole
highly competent. But on open-
ing night good ensemble work
was still lacking, so that a pro-
duction which was in general of
high professional quality at
times tended towards the ama-
teurish.
BALANCE was also absent at
times, so that singers were oc-
casionally forced to strain to
be heard, and were sometimes
inaudible beneath the overly en-
thusiastic tones of the brass and
percussion instrumentalists.
Another problem lies in the
religious-moralistic angle of the
play. The real pleasure of the
production derives from its 'low'
humor: the bawdy, the illicit,
and the scatological; and in its
ribald treatment of the eternal
war between the sexes.
But the play also has a re-
ligious tone. The Prioress (Mar-
dy M. Medders) wears a locket
inscribed "Amor Vincit Om-
niae" or "Love Conquers All."
This adage provides an impor-
tant theme, and it is on this
note the play ends.
After the predominant broad
humor of the play, this tone is,
at least for some, annoyingly
uplifted.
IT IS questionable as to what
the author's intentions were. It
is true that Chaucer allows for
the expression of some honest
religious sentiment in his Tales.
But it is both an enigma, and
a theatrically untenable situa-
Lion, that this element should
have been so poorly integrated
throughout the musical, to be
given so significant a place at
the end.
But this detail, although sig-
nificant in an overall assess-
ment, should deter anyone in
search of fine theatrical enter-
tainment from seeing Canter-
bury Tales, which is on the
whole a real treat.

John (left), Mikell Pinkey, and Alan (right), Ken Ward, amorously caress the Miller's daughter,
Molly, played by Sally Bublitz in a showing of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" at the Men-
delssohn theater. The performances will continue through Saturday.
Benefits of new rape law questioned

(Continued from Page 3) -and change a rape charge to because the
the victim's intention to come assault, according to Barbara the law n
forth. "If the victim is going to MacQueen, a Law School grad- change to a
talk, he or she will talk," Hill uate and an active lobbier for will still ren
says. "There is no way you're the original state bill and ual conduct
going to legislate that." Elaine Milliken, former head Milliken p
THE NEW law was intended of the Feminist Legal Services the new law
to bring about another reform Group. tory (the ol(
by making it more difficult for MacQueen and Milliken say to females
a defendant to "cop a plea" - fewer rape charges will be who rape m
plead guilty in exchange for changed to assault - which (against m
prosecution on a lesser charge carries a smaller penalty - brought to,
Former Senator

four-tier nature of
neans when pleas
lesser degree they
nain within the sex-
statute.
wints out that since
v is non-discrimina-
d law referred only
as victims), "men
en and gang rapes
ales) can now be
court."

(Continued from Page1)
"Thank God for the jury system that got me out of
the clutches of the Justice Department," Gurney said.,
He refused to speculate on the reasons behind his pro-
secution, but said it probably came because "some-
body wanted to hang a big hide on the wall."
THE FIVE-MEMBER team of prosecutors left the
courtroom declining comment on the outcome of an
investigation that started in late 1971 and culminated
in a 24-week-long trial.
But Gurney said he did not think the government
would attempt to try the case again. "If they couldn't
prove this case after two years and plea bargaining
by every key witness, they're never going to prove it,"
be said,
Gurney, the first incumbent U. S. senator indicted
since the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s, appeared
relaxed as the jury filed into the courtroom. He sat
with his head resting on his fingertips.
HIS DAUGHTERS, Sarah Stoner and Jill Holt, who
had joined Gurney at the courthouse through the
Jury's deliberation, embraced after the clerk read the
verdicts'

Before dismissing jur
for their patience ande
"If there were meda
. I would award th
panel. He praised the j
this country."
GURNEY, who decid
second Senate term foll
said: "The government'
a case to begin with."
. He refused to say wh
back in politics.
He said politics is one
But he said his first con
back in shape beforen
future.
Swiger stood blowsg
ed a charter bus thatv
the motel where they1
you, thank you," he she
HE TOLD reportersa
job at the Tampa FHA
Koontz thanked his f
four of them volunteers

Gurney acquitted
ors, Krentzman thanked them that victims of these horrors, such as myself, should
efforts. be fully recompensed for all financial loss and be en-
is for distinguished citizenship titled to punitive damages as well.
em to you," he told the weary "The physical and emotional torment and the eco-
jury as "a model for jurors in nomic injury to me and my loved ones has been pro-
found," Koontz said. "The government should never
have indicted me."
ed not to seek re-election to a
owing his indictment last year, THE CASE centered around the activities of ex-
's had its shot. They never had Gurney fund raiser Larry Williams, who testified as
the government's key witness that he collected near-
ether he would make a come- ly $400,000 between 1971 and 1973 by shaking down
builders in Gurney's name.
of his options, another is law. Gurney, who began his political career two decades
scern is to rest and get himself ago as a city councilman in Winter Park, was first
making any decision about his elected to Congress in 1962.
After serving three terms in the House, he defeated
kisses to jurors as they board- former Florida Gov. LeRoy Collins for the Senate in
would take them two blocks to 1968.
had been sequestered. "Thank WILLIAM TAYLOR, chairman of the Republican
outed at them, party in Florida, said he would ask Gurney' to run
for the Senate in 1976 against Sen. Lawton Chiles, (D-
he planned to be back on the Fla.). But Gurney said politics is only one of his op-
office at 8:30 a.m. today. tions, and he may just stick to law.
ive-member team of lawyers, Jurors commented that the government prosecutors
and said, "I sincerely believe had presented a "weak, weak case."

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