The Michigan Daily
Sunday, February 15, 1981
'Curse' perfect theatre evening
By ANNE GADON
The Dratman Theatre Company's
rendition of The Curse of the Starving
Class is an orgasmic theatrical ex-
perience. With their first production,
the one-act play, Action, by Sam
Shepard, they showed that they were
capable of the ultimate in stagecraft.
After Curse, I am convinced that they
can go beyond ultimate. There is sim-
Curse of the Starving Class
By Sam Shepard
Schorling Aud., School of Ed.
Weston .......................... William Cross
Ella ..........................Andrea Kupetz
Wesley ..........................Kerry Milliron
Taylor ....................... David Bernstein
Directed by Ted Levine, Produced by
A Dratman Theatre Company Production
ply no stopping this company's
:dedication to quality. Thank God.
In case you are unaware of the
-existence of Sam Shepard, he's one of
the greatest faces to pop into the
playwriting scene in the past decade.
Shepard writes about the post-
apocalyptic world. His characters are
usually rooted in a cottage in the middle
of rural nowhereland. They are shell-
shocked and on the lunatic fringe, they
do nothing all day except spout illogic
at each other. There is no reason to their
life; it is only a meaningless
progression of events beyond their con-
SHEPARD'S NIHILISM is often
overwhelmingly terrifying and
shocking. Curse of the Starving Class
has more humour in it than his other
works because it's such an obvious
satire of human ceremony. The
crowning example of this is the charac-
ter of Emma, the adolescent blooming,
so to speak, into womanhood.
Emma prepares an exhibit on "How
to Cut up a Frying Chicken" for the
local 4-H contest. Mother cooks the
chicken that Emma has prepared and
the kid goes into a fit of rage. A sudden
adolescent tantrum occurs - Emma
decides to leave home. She goes into
town and shoots the walls of a local bar
full of holes, and explains to brother
Wesley that she's just following her
"innate criminal instincts".
pocketing her gun, she leaves
forever. Ummm. . . marvelous
TO BELIEVABLY recreate such a,
lack of naturalism, requires a trusting,
group of actors. One of the virtues of
DTC is its concentration on ensemble
work. The company has no actors that;
hit you immediately as people
possessing star quality (with the,
possible exception of Ted Levine, who
played the lead in Action and directs
Curse, a professional who knows how to
make others look good), but they
produce some of the best group perfor-
mances that I have ever seen west of
Lee Strasberg's Actor's Studio, the pin-
nacle of ensemble production.
Kerry Milliron, Andrea Kupetz, and
Stephanie Ivanoff as Wesley, Ella, and
Emma respectively are an incredible
trio. Ivanoff, as the whiny adolescent, is
at times too obviously playing "cute
kid." Kupetz, however, is near perfec-
tion as the zoned out mother. Her in-
tuitive performance is one of the most"
admirable aspects of the evening.
William Cross, a familiar local player
who is rarely less than phenominal,
Dear old Ian's got a new one out, and,-
as usual, it's cute as a button. Those
who relished the head-banging rockers
on New Boots and Panties, the
Blockheads' best-loved album, may be
pleasantly surprised at the disco/funk
orientation of Laughter. These mealy,
frivolous, ostentatious orchestrations
fit Dury's nasty-but-nice style perfec-
tly. In fact, it's rather funny when Dury
gruffly screams the lyrics to "Super-
man's Big Sister" in this no-class
Limey accent amidst the syrupy
keening of strings and a thumping Lip-
ps, Inc. beat.
'Lots of hilarious, scatalogical,
-tongue-in-cheek lyrics here. I won't
spoil the fun by quoting them, but don't
,miss Dury's "I am an actual train!"
monologue - it's a brilliant, gleeful
piss-off to the romantic Arlo
Guthrie-Orient Express Iron Horse
mystique. Hard-core punks tend to
sneer at Ian: claim he's too coy, too
1N U T T E LC 1A S 1
clever, too goddamn cheery for their
serious tastes. Well, that's what they
said about Pollyanna, and boy, were
they sorry when she fell out of that tree.
Ian Dury may be the Hayley Mills of the
British invasion, well, there's nothing
wrong with it!!!
If nothing else, National Breakout
has taught me that there's a difference
between a band doing good and a band
doing successfully. With this album, the
Romantics show that they're a band
that did good, somewhat successfully,
and are still somewhat successful, but,
somewhere along the line, lost track of
The main reason for this album's
failure is its material - most of these
songs are awful to begin with. With
lines like "21 and over/ You can't get no
pass/ Can't stay here/ Somebody's
gonna beat your ass" popping up all
over this album, I don't care how well
you'execute the songs, you're going to
sound fairly silly. The good examples of
how bad these guys can get are the
aforementioned "21 And Over," two
fairly wimpy ballads ("Forever
Yours" and "Take Me Out Of The
Rain") and "The Story of the Roman-
tics From Their Own Point of View In
2:33," which also happens to be known
on the album as "National Breakout."
BUT FEAR NOT. There are good
points to this album. "Poor Little Rich
Girl" is OK, and "Stone Pony" (don't
be confused; it's not Linda Ronstadt's)
and "Friday At The Hideout" are fairly
good. But the best has to be "A Night
Like This," featuring an incredibly in-
fectious bass line from Rich Cole.
What happened to these guys? I don't
know. Maybe it's because they recor-
ded this album in New York City in-
stead of Florida, as they did their first.
Maybe they needed more time to write
songs. True, a year is usually enough,
but realize that they had three years in
the Detroit bars to get their material
together for their first album. If that's
the cause for this debacle of an album,
let's hope that they take off more time
before their third album.
We would like to thank
Schoolkids' Records for the use of
some of the albums included in
today's record reviews.
does not deserve that adjective here.
That is more the fault of the casting
directors than Cross, who should have
realized that Cross is an actor and not a
performer who works well with others
in a group. His pear-shaped tones and
dramatic arm gestures are simply out
of place here.
. A program note, explains that mem-
bers of DTC believe that "the theatre is
a place to learn." This purist attitude is
quickly apparent in their work. DTC
does not go for slick presentations or
surface acting - they aim only for the
truest productions for truth. And what a
splendid sight it is.
INDIVIDUAL THEA TRES
5t Ave o Liberty 761-9700
DAILY-6:40, 8:30, 10:20
SAT, SUN, WED-1:00, 2:50, 4:50
SAT, SUN, WED-12:50, 3:45
BA RGA IN MA TINE ES
WED., SAT., SUN.
$2.00 tii 6:00
TONIGHT At The MICHIGAN THEATER
Dir. Walt Disney. Color. 35 mm. Cruella DeVille! Say it out loud a few times.
Feel your spine tingle? Now say Dalmations. Ahh. Now that will bring a wiggly
smile to your face. All 101 cute little puppies are dogknapped by the evil
Cruella for use in her newest fur coat. Can they be saved by their parents and
human family? Would Disney let you down? Fun for the whole family. 7:00
For those of you who get a Spring Break, enjoy it
For those of you who don't get a Spring Break, we
hope you get a lucky break.
--- - - -----------
The Ann Arbor Civic Theatre Presents
A Victorian Melodrama
by Brian J. Burton
Based on the novel by Mrs. Henry Wood
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
March 4 - 7, 1981 8:00 P.M.
Wednesday & Thursday Tickets $4.00
Friday & Saturday Tickets $5.00
For ticket information call 662-7282,
AACT Tickets, P.O. Box 1242
Ann Arbor 48106
rrvr. 7, -7
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