Page t erg
THE MICHIGAN DAILtY
-Saturday, June 5, 1976
Yeats players tour 'Baide's Strand'
By TIM PRENTISS
If W. B. Yeats is not resting
comfortably in his grave after
the U-M Yeats Ensemble's pro-
duction of On Baile's Strand, his
concern cannot be very grave.
He thas little reason to com-
The production was a benefit
for transportation costs to the
New Theatre Festival itn Balti-
more this week. To the audience
gathered at the Arena Wednes-
day night, the experience was
consistently interesting, intrigu-
ing and encouraging. To the
eighteen actors involved it was
obviously exhilarating, not to
mention tremenidously educa-
WITH HALF of the companv
posed in prone sleeping posi-
tions before the audience en-
tered, the drama began. Ac-
companied by haunting rec r-der
mutsc and strange sound-s fom
all around, the still figvres were
awakened by maske h-w ke
beings knosi as iaje-en-
This set the tune far what
turned out to he :a mvsial,
mystifying experience o eats'
version of poetical draa. n1-
troducing even the m hi., a
blind seer fniretold the starr of
the play in prltigue fashion.
competing ithi a nadiryprotest-
Mixed image Perhaps, but
images that serveJ to clse the
audience mint. not only the par-
ticulars of the show ahead of
them but also the style. Whis-
pered responses from the rest
of the choral group punctuated
the blind man's tale, after which
the group melted into rart of
the story itself.
use of movement forced mean-
ing from lines and segments
that would have otherwise been
plagued by vagueness. Crisp and
defined, all of the decisions
made helped audience under-
A R TSWOIII IIol11114.0 O
decisions to set work that at one
point in the rehearsal process
must have been improvisation,
but it worked. The poses had
life, and were not as contrived
or plastic as they might have
been. Mime work with Chuck
Metcalf shone throughout, much
to the production's credit.
FOR THOSE who like variety
in the theatre, this show had it.
From slow motion and stop-
action in movement and sounds
that included chants, shouts, se-
crets, song snatches, rhymes
and more, the evening was full
of the spice of life. And isn't
that what theatre should be
Yeats' drama is obscure,
dense, difficult and perhaps not
even entertaining on its own.
Here it was made not only palat-
able, but enjoyable. The text
was confronted with a boldness
and respect that is refreshing to
see coming from the Speech
The ensemble process of
searching and discovering, then
demonstrating these discoveries
is invaluable as a learning pro-
cess. Ultimately, it is just as
important to the achievement
of dramatic art, which is some-
thing too rarely seen at this
The Yeats Ensemble was very
encouraging, though. I'd like to
see what they would do with
PRAGUE EM) - A Czech
farm worker killed a duck she
had been feeding for some
weeks for Sunday dinner. When
emptying its stomach she saw
a curious goldish-colored piece,
which she put into her pocket.
A trip to the local apothecary
confirmed she had enough gold
for a ring.
THIS WAS part of the overall
ensemble concept. Little dis-
tinction was made between main
characters and chorus members,
who were costumed in raggedy,
asexual garments. The work
was clearly a case of dedication
and cooperation, resulting in a
shuow that was fluid in its use
mf time, place and even char-
Also clear was the growth
that came from five and a half
Inontlhs of research, in addition
tin physical and vocal explora-
ti he vocal work was ex-
ceptional, although the mIt ,ra
tion of the verbal with the isuat
was the highlight of the cvemu-
The precisely choregranhed
movement came directly from
the text, and the two were tied
together closely. This percep ire
AT ONE POINT, during a con-
frontation between the two male
characters, the ensemble split
up into two distinct groups, us-
ing only physical variation to
distinguish themselves from the
others. Using the lines of the
character they were helping to
define, a richness of interpreta-
tion emerged rarely witnessed
in most theatrical productions.
This reaction against indi-
vidual characterization corre-
sponded well with the lack of
any realistic tendencies, moving
the production far along the
road to liberated drama, drama
out of the drawing room. And
their use of demonstration, ac-
tually showing the physical at-
tributes of the conflict, made it
a good "show" in the best sense
of the word.
The directors made conscious
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