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March 28, 1980 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-03-28

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, March 28, 198-Page5
'THE MASTER BUILDER'
Constructing a workable Ibsen

By OWEN GLEIBERMAN
'ake no mistake about it: The
ter Builder is no roller coaster ride.
Ibsen's intimate study of a wayward
architect torn between his empty life
and his crystal dreams makesan
audience work for enjoyment, sorting
out meanings from the odd, contrived,
fragmented story. The current Univer-
sity Showcase production at Trueblood
(presented in conjunction with a two-
day symposium on Ibsen and an impor-
ted exhibition celebrating the 150th an-
*rsary of the playwright's birth) is a

"homes for human beings," reveling in
the guilt and misery of his mundane
life.
ENTER Hilda Wangel (Terry
Hallquist), a crazed, head-in-the-clouds
drifter who had a rendezvous with
Halvard ten years ago and never let go
of what she saw as the chivalrous glory
of it. He promised to build her castles in
the air, and now she's arrived to claim
them, reigniting Halvard's own
crushed desire for transcendence and
manipulating him into making one,
final try for it.

realistically detailed.
Director Ala Yahya Faik hasn't
helped focus the play's generally fuzzy
tone by orchestrating a veritable
collage of performance styles. Oc-
casionally, the production almost
seems to have shifted gears on us, as in
Hilda's first scenes or a stunning con-
frontation between Halvard and
Ragnar Brovik, a young, up-and-
coming draftsman. But this discontinuous
approach isn't always at odds with the
play's somewhat patchwork construc-
tion, and the actors spark the perfor-
mance with moments of blistering in-
tensity that instantly-if jaggedly-cut
to the heart of a scene.
AS RAGNAR, Joseph Urla turns his
few lines into fierce cries of rebellion,
brimming with suppressed venom. As
Aline, Halvard's icy-hearted wife,
Johanna Dickey has been costumed in
black and had her hair compressed into
a tight bun, giving her the hateful,
deathy look of Ingrid Thulin in Cries
and Whispers. In the play, she
represents the extreme of
realism-"duty" divorced from love or
warmth or reason-and punctuates her
scenes with a chilly temper.
The two leads bring the play both its
finest and its most confused moments.
Terryl Hallquist has been directed to
play Hilda Wangle as a flirtatious
space-case, a sort of Diane Keaton-
cum-Bette Midler, and though her per-
formance has terrific energy, it
sometimes seems gratingly one-
dimensional. Hallquist locks her hands
on her hips, thrusts out her chest, pops
her big, gaping eyes, and bounces her
curly mane like some deranged,
sexualized Shirley Temple; she comes
on to Halvard like such a bubbly free-
love freak that you keep wondering if
he's going along with her banter about
knights and tall, phalic towers just to
get her in the sack.
HILDA IS, of course, supposed to be a
possessed, neurotic dreamer, but
there's not much continuity between
Terryl Halquist's performance and that
of her husband, John Hallquist, as
Halvard. Jon Hallquist simply acts too
cocky and down-to-earth to convince us
that his character is teetering between
desperate extremes. His mellifluous,
ad-man delivery has a surface urgency,

but he never comes close to the brink of
madness, and his, cowardice about
climbing scaffolds is never magnified
into a larger, symbolic cowardice-a
fear of flying.
But The Master Builder doesn't
always have to make literal sense for
its allegory to succeed. The last scene,
with Halvard climbing his last tower, is
powerfully staged, and watching the
poor devil come to his inevitable end is
a truly poignant moment. One wishes
there were more such moments of
riveting drama. But this sturdy produc-
tion manages to stand up to its flaws.

STUDENTS!9
The peer counselors of 77-Guide at
Counseling Services "are offering a
FREE WORKSHOP IN
ASSERTIVENESS TRAINING
Assertiveness Training is:
" Learning to speak up for your rights, feelings,
and opinions in a direct and honest manner.
" Learning to distinguish between assertiveness,
non-assertiveness, and aggression.
" Learning how these principles may be applied
to your everyday interactions.
Join other students in a parficipation-
orien ted small group setting.
Thurs., April 3--7-9 pm
3100 Michigan Union
" Enrollment limited
4 Register in advance by calling 76-Guide or
come to the 76-Guide desk, 1st Floor Michigan Union

.)
t

a
rt

Terry Wright Hallquist and Jon Hallquist in the University Showcase
production of Ibsen's "The Master Builder" at the Trueblood, Theater (in the
Frieze Building). The play will run through tomorrow, Saturday, March 29.

t
j iceable entertainment, but, it
't lend the viewer much of a
jelping hand at figuring out how the.
>ieces of this puzzle-play fit together.
till; Master Builder is a journey into
nadness that's often worth taking,
specially as it nears its, tense and
iorrifying finish.
Ibsen's play only looks like an or-
linary story: In fact, The Master
wuilder is really a heady network of
y olism concealed within a thin,
t passive narrative. The play is
ke a succession of freeze-frames with
roicO-over dialogue. Halvard Solness
Jon Hallquist), the master builder, is a
uccessful middle-aged workman who
ias ?'educed) existence to a painful
iclidtomy: He sees' life as a choice
etween dull, flat, empty "reality" and
vision of pristine perfection. Halvard
ised to build churches with tall,
rajestic towers; now, twelve years af-
er a tragic fire destroyed his house and
*rectly) his children abd poisoned
is wife's soul with bitterness, he's con-
igned himself to designing bland
Mistletoe was revered by the Druids.
It was /considered so sacred that
enemies passing beneath it would lay
down their arms and exchange a kiss of
peace.

One of the keys to staging a play like
this is striking a coherent balance bet-
ween the particular and the abstract.
The Master Builder is a quiet real-life
drama that erupts into sudden arias of
Expressionism. This production
manages to skid off in both directions
without maintaining any resonant ten-
sion between the two. There's no
driving consistency to the staging, no
imaginative logic. For instance, the
background projection, a wash of color
suggesting the sun bursting through
clouds, is simply and effectively
evocative, but the set, a brown-
bannistered, workmanlike represen-
tation of the master builder's home and
drafting studio, is visually ill-defined,
neither nakedly stylized nor

U U

LS

TRYOUTS
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre Presents an Original Play
.+A DPY 14M85ERT 'by Diane Monach
Try-out times: 7:30-10:00 p.m. March 30, 31
April 1
Mass Meeting, Sunday March 30-7:00 p.m.
338 S. Main
ROLES: EIGHT MEN, FOUR WOMEN
A period comedy set in 1815 England

Scholarships

SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
1'979- 1980
Each year at this time the LSA Scholarship Committee extends congratu-
lations to those students who were awarded scholarships throughout
the current year.-Names and scholarships awarded are as follows:
OTTO S. GRAF SPECIAL LSA
SCHOLARSHIP MERIT AWARDS

Julie L. Anderson

Julie L. Anderson
Alison E. Hirschel

Nina Shishkoff
Robert W. Vishny

Howard J. Wial

HARRY HELFMAN SCHOLARSHIPS

Lucia L. Allen
Meredyth Bowler
Kiren A. Chaudhry
Randy M. Chudler
Joshua A. Cohen
Marcia L. Crouch
David K. English
Sean F. Foley
Daniel J. Halloran

Ani M. Janoyan
David A. Jessup
Daniel S. Jordan
Irene Z. Kalynych
Gretchen R. Kell
Steve R. Kemperman
Paul Martin
Suzy Missirian

Nabil A. Munfakh
Byong C. Pak
Martin C. Patrias
Charles A. Peck
Randolph G. Potts
Marc E. Robinson
Catherine G. Rosneck
Jane S. Schacter

Craig S. Selig
Robert H. Shurtz
Karre L. Slafkin
April E. Stone
Karen R. Sukenic
Steve G. Van Meter
John H. Wilson
Cheryl A. Woods
Howard M. Yerman

HERBERT E. BOYNTON SCHOLARSHIPS

I

Benjamin J. Webber

John F. Hickey

Brian R. Kelly

James M. Lindsay

SAMUEL J. PLATT SCHOLARSHIP
Katherine R. Friedman
GENERAL UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIPS

Sharolyn Aschenbrenner
Anne R. Ballew
Susan Baskett-Atkins.
Leslie P. Bayern
Kirk A. Beadle
Marianne Blasko
Daniel W. Bodine,
Carolyn Bowler
Meredyth Bowler
David W. Campbell
Jonathan L. Chang

Michael M. Epstein
Joshua C. Ezekiel
Ihor O. Fedorowycz
Mary D. Fenech
Thomas J. Flanigan
Aaron M. Frankel
Jeri R. Glick
Peter C. Gorman
Alice E. Haddy
David A. Handelsman
Alan B. Heirich

Jennifer B. Kane
Seth I. Kaplan
Frank A. Kohtz
David A. Kotzian
Jennifer R. Krato
Lawrence R. Landman
Lynn T. LaPointe
David A. Laverty
Sanford J. Lax
Walter W. Lee
Marc A. Lowe

Denise M. Rokosz
Diane C. Sallade
Kristine E. Schmaltz
Stanley A. Sedo
Richard B. Sheridan
Kong Ying L. Sien
Paul R. Silverman
Joshua M. Skoff
Jerome Sobieraj Jr.
April E. Stone
Michelle L. Toering

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