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September 26, 1980 - Image 6

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-26

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ARTS
Page 6 Friday, September 26, 1980 The Michigan Daily

Civic's 'Our

Town' a safe bet

15% OFF ALL
Merchandise
with this coupon

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(except sale items)
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UAC Mediatrics presents:

Friday, Sept. 26-"EASY RIDER"
7:00 p.m., 10:35 p.m.

By ANNA NISSEN
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre could hardly
have gone wrong when they chose to
produce Our Town. It is a nearly
foolproof play.
Our Town is a pastiche of turn-of-the-
century Americana, chock full of
provincial charm. The milk wagon rat-
tles past each morning, crickets rivet in
the distance, Emily helps her mother
string beans, the Gibb kids bicker over
their weekly allowance, and Editor
Webb mows his lawn. From the opening
rooster's crow to the black umbrellas
dotting Emily's funeral, the saga of
Grover's Corner is built around cliches.
"Robinson Crusoe and the Bible, Han-
del's 'Largo'. . . and Whistler's
'Mother,' " Editor Webb confesses,
"those are about as far as we go.'
WE ARE ESCORTED through
Grover's Corners by the Stage Manager
(John Stephens), a modern Greek
Chorus figure played with the right mix
of affability and drollness. "In our town
we like to know the facts about
everybody," he claims, and introduces
us to a cross-section of the towns 2,642
inhabitants which includes the Polish
twins just born on the other side of the
tracks.
We meet the milkman, Howie
Newsome (Ed Lesher), white haired
and loveable, speaking in the ver-
nacular o.f rural New Hampshire. We
-meet the town drunk Simon Stimson
(Jeff Smith) who is drawling and surly
but should have been more acerb. The
role of Rebecca Gibbs as played by
Cathe Wright at the other extreme,
when she finds she has to wear that
loathesome blue dress, is just a bit
overdone. She should have been a saucy
little girl, not a banshee.
Fortunately, all the major rolls are
well-cast. Blond, lanky Ken Norman is
just right as George Gibb, adjusting
convincingly from a sixteen- to a twen-
ty-six-year-old. I found it hard to
believe that Norman is only a high
school senior himself.
MRS. GIBBS IS well realized as a
strong, expansive character by Cathe
Wright, who spoke 'in a light, forced
brogue. I thought initially that Susan
Morris as Mrs. Webb lacked Wright's
stature, but then Mrs. Webb is supposed

to be twenty years younger than Mrs.
Gibb, more lighthearted and girlish.
Editor Webb was excellent, played by
Leo McNamara. He has a well-trained
resonant speaking voice, and is really a
pleasure to listen to.
Emily Webb can be a difficult role,
but almost without exception Patricia
Garcia is outstanding. In the proposal
scene over strawberry phosphates, she
is too giddy, jittering more like a
sophomore cheerleader than the young
woman who has just been elected
Secretary and Treasurer of the Senior
Class. But in the graveyard scene Gar-
cia's high dynamics are just what is

needed.
Some of the Civic Theatre's
deviations from the original script are
definite plusses. For instance, the lear-
ned Professor Willard who lectures on
the geological make-up of Grover's
Corners is here a woman, all the more
comic as a small-town, lace-collared
bluestocking.,
All in all we meet twenty eight
characters, many of them stock comic
characters, all of them familiar. 'Blest
Be the Tue that Binds' is the unifying
anthem, as it is belted out by mothers in
the church choir who are devoted to

Cars stalled in

first gear:'

With "HELP"

8:50 p.m.

their families, as it is sung when Emily
and George join hands, and when Emily
joins the community of the dead.
It's hard to imagine a flop Our Town.
Wilder's knack of recapitulating these
age-old songs, these typical characters
and cliche occurrences retains for us
their original richness. Ann Arbor Civic
Theatre's performance is unpreten-
tious and sincere. I recommend it
especially if it's been a while since
you've marvelled, with Emily, over the
uneventful wonders: "food, coffee, and
new white dresses, and hot baths, and
sleeping, and waking up."

Nat Sci Aud.

Sunday, Sept. 28- "HAIR"
7:00 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

By FRED SCHILL
Whoever said you can't argue with
success wasn't an artist. Maybe it was
Ric Ocasek and the Cars, who have now
released the same album, same songs
for the third time.
Their debut album The Cars was
justly hailed as a whole new tune, as
they carved a niche in the top forty
scene with a distinctive and innovative
blend of tightly-interwoven rhythms
and detached vocals.
. APPARENTLY FEELING they had
contributed their bit to mankind, the
Cars haven't changed a note since. The
same song, verse two came out in the
form of Candy-O, which at least had the
title cut to recommend it.
Same song, verse three is Panorama,
and the players are understandably
getting bored. The songs are stiff, the
music mechanical and endlessly
repetitive, the vocals dead on arrival.
Rigor mortis has set in. Someone
should throw a sheet over the corpse.
For the uninitiated, songwriter Ric
Ocasek keeps falling in love, see. He's
not very happy about it because he
never likes the women he falls for, who
return the favor by not liking him
either. Which leaves him singing the
blues, but not very convincingly.
ONE WOULD think that such an
emotional/intellectual collision would
explode into energy. One would be
wrong. Ocasek dispassionately
assumes the role of Richard II in the
title cut-he can't decide whether he
will fall or not-and objectively con-
tradicts himself with admirable con-
sistency throughout the course of the
album.

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With short

"BEATLES ON ED SULLIVAN"
MLB 4

He dispassionately chafes at the bit in
"Gimme Some Slack,-' dispassionately
declares his independence in "Misfit
,Kid," and dispassionately takes what's
his in "Running to You." Or is it "Let's
Go"? "My Best Friend's Girl,"maybe?
It hardly matters, By the time he gets
to "You Wear Those Eyes" halfway
thorugh the second side, he's become so
dispassionate that he has given up
singing altogether, and lapsed into
mouthing the words.
AND THE BAND isn't any more ex-
cited about the situation than he is.
What were once vice-tight rhythms are
now habit-formed riffs. Drummer
David Robinson plods through entire
songs like the corroboratingly-titled "Up
and Down" without ever changing
pace. Robinson's idea of variety is a
cymbal crash, his idea of innovation
two cymbal crashes.
Bassist Benjamin Orr tightened his
strings a little bit and just can't get over
the reverberating tautness of it all. He
just keeps listening to the twang and
trading lackluster three-note riffs wth
keyboardist Greg Hawkes, who sounds
worst of all. I am convinced Hawkes
has only two fingers. His work runs the
gamut in tastelessness, from disco-
style snythesizer blasts that sound like
those awful things one hears just
preceding a blue light special to gim-
micky Meco-ish interplay that sounds

like the empire striking back. And all
that's base in between.<A
There may be more than five com-
binations of three-note riffs on this
album, but none of them are in h6
same song. Only lead guitarist Elliot
Easton provides any sign of life (unex-
pectedly). Easton's guitar solos are tie
unquestionable musical highlight of the0
album, especially in the rockers
"Touch and Go" and "Down Boys."
THOUGH BURDENED by Hawke'
ever-present keyboard schlock, these'
two songs are the only ones worthy obf
note, thanks largely o Easton's guitar
work and Oca -s ability to summo'n
up a little real anger. If just these tio
songs had ben released the Cars would
have had a very encouraging 45.
Otherwise Ocasek mutters drivel like
"I live with absurdity, always warm
and runny," "I'll be your mirror so you
won't hesitate," "You got the name I
can't pronounce," and so on. Small
wonder producer Roy Thomas Baker,
hardly blameless for this fiasco, muf-
fled as much of this mess as he could.
The prevailing philosophy seems to be
that if you pile enough simple riffs on
top of each other complexity will
inevitably result.
So much for this year's model.
Panorama is a lemon and can. only
leave a sour taste in your mouth. Take
my advice. Buy an import.

Tonight is FAMILY NIGHT at Lorch Hall
CINEMA GUILD presents
Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK
Based on Rudyard Kipling's "Mowgli" stories, this beautiful animated film is
an explosion of color and music that follows the adventure of a young boy
who wants to live his life in the jungle among his many friends-who happen
to be animals. Don't hog all the fun for yourselves-bring those kids along.
They need a break too. They don't even have to be your kids to enjoy
themselves.
SHOWS at 7:008 9:00

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Wn
Wolverine '

SUNDAY, September 28th
CAMPUS INN-E. Huron & State

9am-4pm

75C Admission

For further information
:1980 MCG call 971-8280

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