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February 22, 1980 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-22

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, February 22, 1980-Page 7

'Eden' falls short of paradise

By GILLIAN BOLLING
Eden concerns the tensions between
blacks of Southern origin and blacks of
-West Indian origin during the year 1927
New York City. Unfortunately, the.
cast seems primarily to be going
through the motions of creating tension
and as a result, the conflicts are hollow
and the emotions melodramatic.
The play takes place in the Sari Juan
Hill area of New York where blacks of
different heritages live together. The
author, Steve Carter, lived in the area
during the 20's and subsequently wove
his memories into Eden, which first ap-
eared in the late 60's. Despite some

period costumes on the women and a
set with homey, old-fashioned touches,
the play has a distinct 1960's Teel to it.
Swear words are tossed around far too
frequently, losing their effect, and the
theme became one of futile anger.
However, the anger was subdued as the
players act with an undue amount of
opening night reserve. They lack aban-
don and the confidence behind it which
could add some spark to the ensuing
confrontations.
THE FRICTION occurs between the
two families when Eustace Baylor (Roy
Harris), a Southern black, falls in love
with Annette Barton (Viki A. Nelums)

the West Indian girl next door. Harris
has moments where his character is
genuinely involving, but he fluctuates
erratically from gee-whizzing with his
hands in his pockets to spouting off
without due provocation.
Harris does his best to bring a breath
of life and believability to his love for
the girl whose family considers him
unworthy, but his energy is not
reciprocated by his love object. Viki A.
Nelums whines her way through the
part of the Barton's youngest daughter,
talking her lines expressionlessly. She
and Harris never really connect and
since the young lovers' relationship is
central to the plot, the drama doesn't
achieve the intensity necessary to
make it interesting.
THE SURROUNDING cast members
fare a little better. Anna C. Aycox, as
Eustaces' irascible but lovable Aunt
Lizzie, is an animated portrayal, and
quite funny. She is one of the few who
seems to actually enjoy being on stage.
KayJona Jackson and Rhonnie
Washington, two of the strongest mem-
bers of the black actors' group, are un-
fortunately cast in the lesser roles of
another son and daughter in the Barton
family. They both are talented and ver-
satile and the overall production would
benefit if they had been given the more
substantial lead roles.
. Rocky Davis is the fourth member of
the Barton children. He uses his tall,
lanky physique to convey humor and
create a presence in the form of
Nimrod, the son who always disobeys
his father's harsh demands to study his
heritage and history.
Davis' acting provides a good exam-
ple of how Eden could go much further.
He needs to project his character more,
so that we will not simply hear lines
recited, but become personally in-
volved in the family's problems. He
possesses the talent, yet he does not
exercise it to the fullest. None of the ac-
tors appear to be working near their full
potential.
ADMITTEDLY, they were saddled
with a play that alternates between
heavy moments dealing with racial
prejudice and incredibly banal scenes
designed to let us share in a family's
most embarassing moments. Joseph
Barton (Willie 'Junye' Brown) plays
the rigid father who refuses to let his
family become "American" and have
their West Indian heritage weakened
through assimilation. In one scene, he
gives a hokey patriotic speech that is
about as dramatic as a history tex-
tbook, complete with the scratchy
sound of a recorded band playing in the
background and a bright spotlight on
him.
After establishing his undying
loyalty, Mr. Barton brings out an old
uniform and a few slides of black leader
Marcus Garvey appear shot on a screen
behind the set. The slides give the im-
pression of being an afterthought, stuck
in to add variety and the 1960's desire to
show a use of "mixed media."
kTHE DIRECTOR, guest artist Mel
Winkler, simply does not give his actors

enough to do. During long speeches,.
many share Viki Nelum's problem of
distracting, dangling arms, and after
effective.-moments, the actors are often
left having to pause; as if to decide
which way to retreat or where to turn to
some unmotivated line of action.
WINKLER DOES some fine work in
directing Fran L. Washington as Mrs.
Florie Barton. Washington portrays the
Barton mother as a sufferer, involving
and creating sympathy as we see her
being victimized by her environment.
Enduring a loveless contract marriage
with her husband Joseph, she pleads
with her daughter Annette not to miss a
chance at love and compassion, despite
the difficulties which the cross-cultural
relationship will bring. She frees her
daughter to see Eustace and thus sets
the fated young lovers' union in motion.
She is the only character who we see
emerge, evolve and change, projecting
a feeling of having been affected by the
"tensions" of the play's theme.

- elis- [3RKQ T M~OMENS -
Fr ayU
MA RCRfRED ___
CUtARUE HADEN/ED 8LACK WELL
- r,
- UI
Tickets/$65 in advance
ON SALE NOW/MICILUNION800
For more information/763-2071

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PROFESSIONAL THEATRE
PROGRAM presents
FACETS PERFORMANCE
ENSEMBLE'S
DAKE
SOLSTICE
THURSDAY, FEB. 28,
8 PM - POWER CENTER
Tickets at PTP in League
CALL 764-0450

.7

Aunt Lizzie (Anna C. Aycox) and her nephew Eustace (Roy Harris) pose
for posterity in Steve Carter's play "Eden". Directed by guest-artist-in-
residence Mel Winkler, "Eden" runs through this Saturday, February 24 at
the Power Center.
O PECmey mer sees
oil1 stability soon

-i.'

LONDON (AP)-Representatives of
six OPEC members opened a strategy
session yesterday, with Venezuelan
Energy Minister Humberto Calderon
Berti predicting calm will return to
*iorld oil markets by June.
Calderon spoke at a news conference
at the Venezuelan Embassy before the
start of a two-day meeting of the long-
term strategy committee of the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC. The session was
held - behind closed doors and under
tight security at a London hotel:
The conference was expected to take
up a recommendation by OPEC
technicians for regular quarterly or
*emi-annual price hikes pegged to
currency market fluctuations,
economic growth rates and inflation in
the industrialized world.
OPEC PRICES have more than
doubled 'to around $30 per 42-gallon
barrle in the past year. Eleven of the 13
OPEC members hve posted price hikes
since Saudi Arabia kicked off the latest
round of increases with a $2-a-barrel
Dump to $26 on Jan. 28.
The strategy committee comprises
the oil ministes of Algeria, Iran, Iraq,
Kuwait, Nigeria and Venezuela. Its
chairman is Sheik Ahmed Zaki
Yamani, oil minister of Saudi Arabia.
Yamani arrived here at the beginning
of the week, but returned Tuesday to
the Saudi Afabian capital city of
Riyadh because of the hospitalization of
King Khaled. The oil minister was
expected to return to London yesterday
to preside over the talks.
Calderon told the news conference
several months would be needed to
restoe stability to oil markets and reach
an accord on prices because consuming
countries currently have substantial oil
supplies in storage.
AGREEMENT COULD come at the
next scheduled OPEC oil ministers'
meeting June 9 in Algiers, Algeira. The

strategy panel could call for an earlier
meeting but Calderon, president of the
oil ministers' conference, yesterday
rejected previous calls for a special
session.
"World reserves of oil normally run
at around four billion barrels," he said.
"Because of the mild winter we have
had it (the reserve) now is estimated at
five billion barrles, which mens that
there is a surplus in world oil
inventories of about one billion barrels.
"Until this surplus is absorbed, it is
impossible to revert to a traditional
unified basic price on which to operate
the system of automatic price increases
we are now discussing," Calderon said.
OPEC oil production is 30 million to 32
million barrels a day, about 98 per cent
of the cartel's capacity and half the
world's output, Calderon said.

of

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A NIGHT OF CELTIC
MYTH AND MAGIC

-9i

I

916-

MAJOR STUDIO SNEAK PREVEW
TONIGHT 9:15 PM
She was married at 13. She had four kids by the time she was 20.
She's been hungry and poorShe's been loved and cheated on.
She became a singer and a star
because it was the only way she knew to survive.

LEITI N
EIMERICEtII
DEiNCE

II
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4

1-2.3-

salsa, cumbia, samba,
disco, & wild music
also Film and Slide Show'
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S6TU RDIY,
FEB. 2.3
university club 8:30
michigan union $2.00
cash bar

a nicaraguan benefit sponsored by the Committee for Human
Rights in Latin America and The Michigan Solidarity Commit-
tee.

or- - I - NW%

ti l' ' II .

Feb. 18-29

IvIWO

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gathering place
halfrrom
on all beverages from

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