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March 23, 1980 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-03-23
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Page 6-Sunday, March 23, 1980-The Michigan Daily

The Michigan Daily-Sunda)

fames Deans Ca/i

Changing society from the s
The A 2Theatre Company



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By Katie Herzfeld
Have you ever held hands with
a woman?
Yes, many times-women about to
deliver, women about to have breasts
removed, women with heart.conditions,
who were overdosed, depressed, drunk,
lonely, to the point of extinction, and
women who were celebrating, who
were dancing with me in large circles.
Women who were climbing mountains,
or trucks or roofs and needed a boost
up, or I did. Women who wanted to hold
my hand because they liked me.
What about kissing? Have you
kissed any women?
Some of the finest women I know I
have kissed. Women who were lonely,
women I didn't know and didn't want to,
but kissed because that was a way to
say, 'Yes, we are still alive and
loveable.' '
Have you ever committed any
indecent acts with women?
Yes. Many.
I am guilty of not loving her who
needed me; I regret all the women I
have not slept with or comforted, who
pulled themselves away from me for
lack of something I had not the courage
to fight for, for us, our life, our city, our
These are indecent acts, lacking
courage, lacking a certain fire behind
the eyes, which is the symbol, the
raised fist, the sharing of resources.
Yes, I have committed acts of
indecency with women and most of
them were acts of omission. I regret
them bitterly.
* * *
Company of Ann Arbor an-
swered to this interrogation
last December at Community High's
auditorium, an electric current
carrying pride and hope ' for the
feminist and gay movements-and all
peoples' movements-seemed to
connect the audience members and the
performers. The interrogation (printed
here in short), is an adaptation of Judy
Grahn's poem, "A Woman Is Talking
Katie Herzfeld is a member of the
Daily arts staff.

To Death." Theatre Company, now in
its tenth year, is a collective of several
women and men who seek to negotiate
that eternally argued-over merging of
art and politics.
Stephanie Ozer is one of the
company's oldest members. She is a
small woman, about five feet, with
thick black hair that reaches beyond
her shoulders, and poignant, animated
features. Her voice is rich, feminine,
life-giving, and she laughs often as she
tells the story of her life with Theatre
Stephanie was raised in a Jewish
family in New York City and came to
Ann Arbor almost seven years ago to
study at the University of Michigan.
One night in January of 1975, she was
eating at the Indian Summer
Restaurant, where Turtle Island is now.
"I was a sophomore majoring in
piano and thinking about leaving Ann
Arbor because I hated the music
school," she remembers, laughing at
her inexperience. "This night at Indian
Summer, I was in an exceptionally
gregarious mood. I am usually, but not
always with strangers. My waitress
and I clicked. Once during the meal, I
did something in mime. 'Are you in
theatre?' she asked. I said, 'Oh yeah,
when I was young, when I was _a
teenager.' (I was 18 at the time).
"I asked, 'Why?' and she said,
'Because I'm in this theatre company.'
'Oh yeah?' I said, 'Tell me about it!'
'Well,' she said, 'it's a feminist theatre
company, and we do a lot of
improvisation, stuff from our own
"I got closer to the edge of my chair
with each bit she described. Then she
said, 'We need a musician.' It only took
those few sentences. I was in the
company." The waitress wrote her
number on the back of Stephanie's
check and told her about the troupe's
next rehearsal, at Stella Mifsud's. ,
Stella is the company's director and
oldest member. He has been with it
since 1971 when Arnette Martin, a
professor in Eastern Michigan
Univesity'satheater department, began
directing a group of students who
wanted to do non-traditional,
experimental drama. Eventually, the
company made its way from Ypsilanti
to Ann Arbor, gradually becoming

The members of Theatre Company of Ann Arbor

By Bodensee
D elia Ephron is making more
money than a cocaine dealer in
Michigan Stadium these days off her
book How To Eat Like A Child (Ballen-
tine $3.95). The slim, profusely
illustrated little volume is a tongue-in-
cheek instruction manual on the art of
being five years old, and dutifully trots
out the cliches of youth for the en-
joyment of all (example: How to tella
joke; "immediately repeat ten
Anticipating subsequent editions of
instruction manuals directed at par-
ticular interest groups (How To Eat
Like A Black, How To Eat Like A
Longshoreman, etc.), we have
arranged the preliminary notes for
Bodensee'sprimum opus, How To Eat'
Like A Dormitory Resident and other
lessons in sophomoria.
Male-At the cafeteria entrance, grow
annoyed with the person checking
mealcards because there aren't enough
spoons. Make wise-ass remarks to your
friends about how sick you are of in-
stitutional eating ("What shit are they
calling food today?" Ha ha). Take the
largest portion of the entree that you
can carry. Fill three glasses with
chocolate milk. Add a token amount of
salad "for health." Fill rest of tray with
bread products. Sit.
Eat everything noisily, with no
regard for decorum or convention.
Complain of quality, but return to food.
lines for more bread products and
dessert. Take much more than- you
The authors of this column insist
they are invariably confused each
Sunday morning when they wake up
and find a late great renegade ac-
tor'sfeline memoralized above their

need. Dip your napkin in remaining
food while sliding salt and pepper
shakers at stacks of empty and almost-
empty milk glasses. Do not take your
tray to the kitchen. Leave, while
swiping an ice cream cone with which
you can wreak mayhem.
Female-Forget to bring your meal
card because you carry it in your purse.
Shout at the checker if he or she will not
let you in. Gasp at the number of
calories in the entree, and proceed
directly to the salad bar. Defy physics
with the amount of lettuce, cheese, and
chickpeas you can fit on a dinner plate.
Cover entire salad liberally with
dressing. Consume quickly with 2
glasses tab. Repeat. Complain about
your weight. Have "just a taste" of
your best friend's dessert. Repeat.
Repeat. Repeat. Linger over coffee
complaining about how much you have
to do.I
(Note: Evening meal must be
eaten no later than S p.m. so that
the dormitory resident can consume
costly snacks later in the evening.)
Find some geek who brought a TV
from home. Visit his or her room a lot.
Female-Fill all available free space
with plants and inspirational posters
(at least one with a cute saying, and
another wildlife tableau). Keep bed
covered liberally with throw pillows,
and have on hand at least one stuffed
animal to show that you are still a kid at
heart. On your door, place a memo
board, and one or more slightly risque
gags or photos from a tame women's
Male-No plants, as you will surely
kill them. Your stereo is the center-,
piece of your room, so place two ex-
traordinarily large speakers in a
prominent place and all hi-fi equip-.
ment in an accessible location even if it

means no flat study space. On win-
dowsill, stack beercans in an elaborate
ziggurat. Place posters of
homogenized, breasty beauty queens on
your walls. Display prominently
anything you may have stolen, such as
streetsigns or beer mugs. Fill all bare
spots on floor with soiled clothes and
last week's Sports Illustrated.
On your door, place one memo board
with a dried-up felt-tip pen. Add any
joke or cartoon that strikes you the
least bit funny
After dinner, take appropriate books
and lay them on your desk while talking
to roommates or friends. Turn on
stereo. -Read 2 paragraphs. Adjust
volume on stereo. Read 2 more
paragraphs. Go to the bathroom, run
into friends, talk for one hour. Read two
pages. Answer phone. Read 10 words.
flip records on stereo. Write notes on
what you've read, then take a 15-minute
study break that lasts half an hour.
Choose another subject and open new
book. Run laundry down to machines.
Read one page. Chat with roommate.
Read three whole pages. Take a
breather while turning off stereo as too
distracting. Read one page. Run to
laundry room to see if clothes are ready
for dryer. They're not. Return by way
of a special friend's room on another
floor and speak at length of the rigors of
To the laundry room again. Back to
books. Read three pages, then go next
door to complain of volume on neigh-
bor's stereo. Talk 19 minutes. Decide
that studying in the dorm is too dif-
ficult, and you ought to go to the
Round up two friends to walk with
you. Upon arrival, socialize with all the
friendly and chatty people there. Open
books. Fall asleep. Two hours later, be
awakened by friend who convinces you
to call it a day and splash a few back at

Dooley's. Drink heavily, sleep thickly,
and awaken next morning having
missed two classes and forgotten which
dryer your clothes were in.
Wait until the due date, beg an exten-
sion from TA -because of "personal
problems." Start work by borrowing
heavily from previous research to the
point of rendering your own work ut-
terly unoriginal. Handwrite first draft
in illegible scrawl, and ask all your
friends to read it and tell you what they
think. Ignore all advice. Borrow
someone's ribbon-injecting Smith
Corona and a fistful of Eaton's
corrassable bond. Laboriously type the
paper, preferably very late at night to
achieve maximum disturbance to
others. Keep margins very large so as
to give the illusion that you have writ-
ten at great length. Do not proofread.
Make an unnecessary title page, and
enclose work in a colored, clear-plastic
folder that makes it look oh-so nice.
When paper is returned with low
grade, moan and whine about the sub-
jectivity of grades, and threaten to file
a grade grievance. Take no further ac-
"Not everybody knows their major
after two years. Each person needs
time to find herself or himself."
"Real knowledge is what you find out
in life: There isn't any real knowledge
in books."
"Extra-curricular activities are for
brown-noses who can't make it on their
own merits. Besides, I could write a
column for the Daily if I really wanted
"I've got a lot of common sense; I
know people."_

Debra Sheldon, tom Kuzma, Stephanie
and director Stella Mifsud.
Stephanie continues her story. "I'd
never thought of myself as a feminist,
but I'd never thought otherwise either. I
didn't have time for anything more in
my schedule, but there I was in my
leotards like they'd told me and I
warmed up with them, stretch and leap
and all that. Marianne (a member at
the time) said to us, 'Guess what I
learned today?' And then she showed us
this dance bit and everyone applauded
her. I couldn't believe this was theatre.
I couldn't believe all the warmth.
"They rehearsed a piece called "It's
a Girl;" everyone was introduced as
their five year old selves. Each sketch
was so telling. One woman
remembered being compared to her
sisters and cousins: 'That's Helen,
she's the pretty one. That's Joyce, she's
the graceful one. Elise must be the
smart one." ''
Stephanie did a sketch, too. Like her
five year old self, she talked nonstop. "I
don't know if I was really funny or not,
but they were cheering for me. Later
we sat in a circle and each person
talked about their first sexual
experience. I told a story about when I
was 16. Loretta Pirages (who was then
directing) said, 'That's just how it
happened with me. That's fabulous.
Write it down.'
"Put it on stage? I thought, Me on
"We took a break and Laurie (the
Indian Summer waitress) started
playing with my hair-it was really
long then. It was great. They were free
to touch each other and to touch me.
Each had an individual personality, but
there was also a great collective spirit.
I liked these people and I realized then
that I had to be.with them."
About a 'month and a half after that
first rehearsal, in March of 1975,
Stephanie performed with Theatre
Company for the first time. The
combined sketches were titled Mad
Madonnas, and the concert, also the
company's first performance of it, was
a benefit for the Joanne Little Defense
Fund (Little was accused of murdering
a jail guard who tried to rape her.).
"Hey, Holy Daddies!," described by

Ozer, Elise
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