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January 17, 1980 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-01-17

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The Michigan Daily--Thursday, January 17, 1980--- Page5
Local 'Lion and Jewel' enters college theatre competition

8 Ball
Tournament
W in ier;'o to Kent State
lor ACU-I1 regionals.
at the Union.

By GILLIAM BOLLING
Tuesday night's performance at the
frueblood Theatre of The Lion and the
Jewel was a rehearsal - the production
was being shown once again to the
community before it travels to Akron,
Ohio to participate in the American
College Theatre Festival regional com-
petition. Missing were certain set
pieces, and the lights which were used
when the show was first sponsored in
November as part of the university's
Showcase Series. But, despite the ab-
, ence of certain polished touches, a
necessity due to the show being packed
up and transported to Ohio this
weekend, The Lion and the Jewel suf-
fered from no lack of energy and en-
thusiasm.
The play is the tale of the small
African bush village of Ilujinle, written
by Nigerian-born Wole Soyinka, it con-
cerns the story of the village's foremost

beauty and how she is courted by both
the tribal chief and the young Wester-
nized school teacher who seeks to.
modernize the backward villagers.
The Lion and the Jewel is this year's
entry in the American College Theatre

Festival, which is sponsored by The
Amoco companies and presented by the
John F. Kennedy Center for the Per-
forming Arts in Washington, D.C. The
festival first began in 1967 to provide a
national showcase for university

theatre. More than 2,000 schools are in-
vited to participate in the competition,
with each entry screened on its home
campus by a member of the ACTF
regional committee.
THE PRODUCTION is now on the
first part of its journal to national
festival in Washington. It was chosen to
be shown in the Great Lakes Regional
Festival along with five other plays,
among them Wayne State University's
production of Brian Friel's
Philadelphia, Here I Come and Ohio
State's production of James Goldman's
The Lion in Winter. The Lion and the
Jewel will be presented at the Univer-
sity of Akron on Friday, January 18 at
9:00 p.m., where it will be judged on the
basis of presentation, choice of presen-
tation for talent available, and the
ability of the show to travel. Up to ten
shows chosen from regional festivals

will make the final trip to the Kennedy
Center in the spring.,
The play has the look of a winner.
Ph.D. student and teaching as-
sistant. Janice Reid directed the
production. She has a degree in African
literature and is currently stydying the
works of Wole Soyinka, the a play's
author. She chose the play, which
features an all-black cast, largely to
give the many talented members of the
black community a chance to perform.
WHEN PRESENTED in November,
the first indication of The Lion's suc-
cess was evident at the box-office. The
play was one of the most successful in
the Showcase series history, breaking
all previous box-office records. The
ACTF judges must have agreed with th
the play's enthusiastic reception, as
they not only chose it as a festival com-
petitor, but also cited two cast mem-
bers for excellence. Junye Brown and
Marietta Baylis, respectively playing
the tribal chief Bale Baroka and his
oldest wife Sadiku, were both
nominated for the Irene Ryan Acting
Scholarships. Each is now eligible for a
$2,000 scholarship and a trip to
Washington for individual auditions.
Janice Reid made a final choice with

features a strong, large and exuberant
cast which is called upon to display
their-talents in the areas of acting,
singing, and dancing. With a few minor
adjustments to accommodate the stage
in Akron, the multi-leveled jungle set
will provide a lush backdrop for the
play's colorful language and the -
roduction's sensual, energized dancing.
If the production of The Lion and the
Jewel shown in the competition in
Akron is as high-spirited and involving
as it was in Ann Arbor, then in the
spring, the show will surely be
Washington-bound.

-/

r/

I I

R EC OR D S

By MARK DIGHTON
Hey kids, welcome to the Wave of the
Week Show. Let's see, in our first shows
we covered punk, then new wave, then
7 ower pop, then no wave. . . now,
ake way for technopop. As defined by
someone who ought to know better by
now, technopop combines catchy pop
melodies (a la the Raspberries or
Hollies) with the energy of power pop
(a la Blondie or Cheap Trick) and the
odd view of rock music possible only af-

'p

(PSOIA 14N
0 , '. --

album and has since been replaced by a
new guitarist. As a result, their sound is
no longer as full and orchestrated as it
once was, but is now correspondingly
more direct and attack-oriented.
Another major change is that this
album tends to be a bit more restrained
than their previous work. This could be
due to the group's feeling that they
needed to mellow out a bit for their new
American audience, though I doubt that
a group of such undeniable musical in-
tegrity could stoop to such pandering. I
think it more likely that their new
producer, .Steve Lillywhite (most
known for his production of the
emotionally frigid pretentiorockers
Ultravox), misunderstood the en-
deaiing -enthusiasm and dynamic
power of this group. Thus, Drums and
Wires cannot come close to matching
the unquenchable pop frenzy of this
group's first two albums, White Music
and Go 2. Yet, it still manages to both
challenge and excite.
Much of this is due to the mastery
that each of the members of XTC
display on their instruments. When
separated, each of the instruments
could almost seem irrelevant (if not
contradictory)- to the remainder of the
song. Yet combined they manage to
blend effortlessly. Obviously a great
deal of thought goes into the importan-
ce of each sound to the song. .\nhwj,,g is
taken for granted. When a simple
walking bass line would be sufficient,
Colin Moulding insists on throwing in
acrobatic leaps and death-defying
feats. Andy Partridge's discordantly
oriental rhythm guitar and pseudo-
psychedelic cocktail jazz leads are also
an important part of the group's sound.
And, of course, their wry, cynical
vocals are unmistakable.
The cynicism that drips from their
vocals is also apparent in their lyrics,
into which they obviously put as much
creative forethought as their playing.
Few of their subjects would even be at-
tempted (and probably not even under-
stood) by their pop counterparts. On
this album alone they tackle such sub-
jects as the political emergence of
China and the place of the family in
modern society with a unique point of
view and an intelligent sense of humor.
On "Real by Reel," for example, they
deal with governmental supervision of
its citizens.

"In this hidden time, ignorance
may help you to cope
Rehearsing for crimes, in
government cinemascope.
They can film you at work
They can tape what you think
They can tape what you say
They can blur your I.D. so you
won't know what's what
Now I lay me down to sleep
Knowing that your lenses peep
Now I eat my daily bread
And into the tape spool I'll be]
FED."
Many of their songs deal with this
issue of the ineffectiveness of the in-
dividual in the face of modern mass
society. They commonly use a parent-
child metaphor to convey the in-
dividual's position in relation to the
government. In fact, many of their
songs deal with issues in a somewhat
childlike way, only to accentuate their
threatening and thought-provoking for-
ce. "Scissor Man," though clearly told
as a fairy tale about a sort of bogey man
that punishes bad boys and girls, is just
as obviously also referring to the enor-
mous powers of society to punish any of
us for the slightest deviation from the
norm.
Obviously XTC have put up with this
sort of pressure before, since they've
ignored all musical norms since their
inception. With an almost total
disregard for these traditions, they
have created an intelligent, catchy,
demanding album with Drums and
Wires. Even if it is not their best work,
it nevertheless remains far above the
rest of modern rock music in stretching
our musical imaginations and setting
our toes to tapping. And that's probably
exactly what they'll do live when they
open for the Police at the Michigan
Theater here in Ann Arbor on January
22.

The Lion and the Jewel. The play

Join
the
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ter Roxy Music. Technopop groups are
distinguishable from your run-of-the-
mill power pop groups by their com-
paratively complex use of studio
production (even occasionally in-
cluding a disco-ish sense of sound
separation), increased reliance, on
keyboards, and tendencies toward
;dissonance.
This particular feature was
precipitated by an auspicious recent
event in the rise of technopop - the fir-
st American release by the foremost
British technopop group, XTC. The
album, Drums and Wires, which is ac-
tually their third LP, also contains the
single, "Making Plans for Nigel,"
which is reportedly making a strong
impact in all the right American
narkets.
Yes, finally, after two faultlessly
brilliant and entertaining albums and
one equally appealing EP, the
American public may actually get its
first taste of this challenging quartet.
This album represents other impor-
tant changes for the band. For one,
their keyboardist left after their last

WASHINGTON (AP)-The first
American life insurance agent was
Israel Whelen of Philadelphia.
The American Council of Life In-
surance says Whelen began selling life
insurance in 1807 on behalf of a London-
based company.
I eIrnpses

An Evening w

ith....
A -R

:-<

Fridav, February 8-8:00 and 11:09 p.

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