Friday, April 17, 1981
The Michigan Daily
look at aging
By ANNE GADON
Catsplay by Istvan Orkeny is one of
the most humane plays that I have
seen in a long time. Sympathetic,
lifelike, exuberant-Orkeny's work is
all of these things. And it does it all
very quietly and tastefully, scooping
you up with its charm. #
It's no wonder that as soon as the
American rights to Catsplay were
available (Orkeny is from Hungary)
that three Detroit-area theatres added
Power Center of Performing Arts
b,, Ltran Orkren
Mrs. Bela Orban (Ersike)....... Irene Connors
Giza ........................ Nancy Heusel.
Paula .......................Kendra Chopcian
Mousie................ Phyllis Ward Fox
Victor Vivelli ..................H. D. Cameron
Directed by Radu Penciulescu
Settings by Jan Chambers
Costumes by Ruth Brown
Lighting by Paid Brohan
it to their season, including the Univer-
sity's Theatre and Drama Department.
The play is prime stuff for actors and
serious theatre audiences as well. The
way Orkeny deals with age prejudice
is so much more straightforward and
touching than the cute treatment of
deformity and euthenasia in current
4640A- :::- -
Tickets available at: Schoolkids', Discount Records, Where
House Records in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and all Hudson's
and CTC ticket outlets. For more info call: 99-MUSiC
plays like The Elephant Man and Who's
Life is it Anyway?
Catsplay is chiefly about youth, and
more specifically, the loss of it. Ersike
(Irene Conners) is in her mid-60s, yet
she refuses to admit that she is growing
old. She becomes close friends with
Paula, an aging peroxided blonde, who
convinces Ersike that age is more men-
tal than physical. Through her
schoolgirlish relationship with Paula,
Ersike gains a new lease on life. She
embraces the fragments of her youth
and rebuilds them with gusto: falling in
love again with an old paramour,
wearing gaily colored clothes, and
giggling over her past romances with
Paula in cafes.
THROUGHOUT THE play, Ersike is'
in correspondence with her 62-year-old
sister Giza, who lives in Germany.
Giza is as sedentary and gentle as Er-
sike is restless. They interact like
mother and child: Giza scolds her
sister for her wild life and begs Ersike
to leave Budapest and come and settle
quietly with her in Germany. And
secretly, Giza envies her sister for her
youthful spirit and her gumption. For
Ersike, life is like catsplay; you leap
over obstacles or attack them. You
don't just sit flack and let life pass you
All does not go well for Ersike,
however. Victor Vivelli, Ersike's for-
mer lover and now close friend, falls in
love with Paula, so Ersike loses both
her best friends. After dumping a bowl
of noodles on Victor's head in the
presence of Paula and stalking out, she
is filled with remorse. Paranoia engulfs
her - her friends are gone, her sister
does not understand her, and her
daughter is unsympathetic. She is
overwhelmed by her uselessness, that
now she means nothing to anyone.
Ersike's struggle is both humorous
and tragic. She is caught in the web of
Hungarian society. Everywhere she
turns people geer about her age and her
behavior. She finally realizes that this
feeling of youth must come more from
herself than from others, but the rejec-
tion she receives is painful.
THE UNIVERSITY company does
not quite attain the potential potency of
Orkeny's play. It is still an emotional
and humorous production but
somewhat restrained due to Connor's
performance as Ersike. Connors, a
University voice and diction coach, is
There's a lot going on in town before classes resume in May. This is
a selection of the best events.
The Conformist- Intoxicating visual beauty from a true cinematic
master, Bertolucci; perhaps his genius is a bit limited - wildly cinematic,
with great holes in narrative and emotional judgement - but it's hard to
care, eventually. Jean-Louis Trignant plays the icily passive hero caught up
in the politics and violence of fascist Italy. The movie doesn't make much
sense as a political piece or as a thriller, but Bertolucci, whatever his preten-
tions toward other supposedly higher goals might be, is primarily and
brilliantly an aesthete. Saturday, April 18, 7 and 9, Aud. A.
BLONDE VENUS - A memorably bizarre 1932 soap opera turned into an
ode to bisexual chic by the smooth sensibility of director Josef von Ster-
nberg. Marlene Dietrich is manipulated rather touchingly through a series
of misunderstandings, constantly forced into gently erotic circumstances
which she protests, with a sardonic smile - nude bathing with girlfriends in
the German forest, doing a nightclub number in a gorilla suit, etc. The plot
calls for her to take it on the lam with her 5-year-old son because her
husband who almost died thinks she's a fallen woman but she really did it for
him, and Cary Grant the millionaire wants her so badly. The movie isn't so
much preposterous as delightfully eccentric, with the epitome of B&W
glamour photography. Tuesday, April 21, 7 and 9, Lorch.
Orpheus - Jean Cocteau's quiet, wondrous fantasy, mixing the Greek
myth of Orpheus and Eurydice with the jazziness of 1950s French cafe in-
telligentsia. The latter sections don't come off as well, but perhaps only
because the magical scenes in the Land of Death have such a timeless at-
mosphere of charmed seriousness. Eschewing the stagier wonders of Beauty
and the Beast, this is probably Cocteau's best work in film. Wednesday,
April 22,7 and 9, Lorch.
Luther Allison - He's one of the best at the blues, and he's always a
crowdpleaser in A2. Allison and his band know how to get you into it. At
Rick's American Cafe, Wednesday, April 22.
The Busboys - This affirmative action band may not be the first to write
pop songs, but their racial tunes make them more than unusual. They're
playing in Detroit this time, but it's worth the drive. At the Madison Theatre,
Saturday, April 25.
Sippie Wallace - Wallace, 81, and her Little Chicago Jazz Band, have now
been doing all that jazz for quite some time. A true living legend. At the
University Club, Friday, April 17, 8 and 10:30 p.m.
Original One Acts - Mary and Rachel by Jennifer Shikes, and Work by
Ned Richardson and Drew Allison. Original productions like these are'rare .
in Ann Arbor. April 18 and 19, 8 p.m., Residential College Auditorium
Alterations - Similar to Quiet Revolution's previous production of No
More Masks, the show is a two-woman piece combining high comedy, music,
mime, and a serious look at the subject in question. April 16, 17, 8 p.m., April
18, 2 p.m., Canterbury Loft.
Catsplay-This Hungarian import deals with age prejudice and lost'
youth. A warm compassionate little play. Power Center, April 16-18 at 8
p.m., and April 19 at 2 p.m.
'-risky, funny, beautul. " wasn. rost
PTP Ticket Office -MPuch. League (764 0450)
See 'Catsplay,' Page 9