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November 07, 1980 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-07

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ARTS
he Michigan Daily- Friday, November 7, 1980 Page 7
tri A "T T" a~ A A A TA T77 III C J9

O-rA ZlADLL' MANNLW k

Ayckbourn's adultery etiquette

By ANNE GADON
If you find that the recent turn of
political events is plunging you into
despair try a few hours of escapism
ith Alan Ayckbourn's Table Manners,
delightful bit of British frippery

currently at the Trueblood Theatre.
Table Manners is the first play of Ay-
ckbourn's Norman Conquests trilogy
about the attempts of Norman, a fren-
zied assistant librarian, to seduce his
two sisters-in-law. There's something

Performance Guide
This week's Performance Guide covers the week of November 7th through
the 12th. It was compiled by staff writers Mark Coleman (music), Anne
Gadon (theatre) and Dennis Harvey (movies).
MOVIES
McCabe and Mrs. Miller-Robert Altman's fuzzy, soft-centered, affecting
remembrance of the old West, with Warren Beatty as a cheerfully cocky
drifter and Julie Christie as the abrasive backwoods saloon madam who
gradually warms to him. The film's mood is like that of an old
photograph-faded, rather posed, mysteriously moving. Friday, 7:00 and
9:16, Lorch Hall.
Brubaker-As the man who attempted to reform the nightmarish southern
Wakefield Prison (and was fired for his efforts), Robert Redford is too good
to be true-he's such an icon of liberal fairness and resolve that a character
never emerges from the heroic stance. Still, one-dimensional as much of the
film is, Brubaker is a lean, effective social-problem drama, easily the best
directorial job by Stuart Rosenburg (lately of The Amittyville Horror and
Love and Bullets) in ages. Saturday, 7:00and 9:30, Nat. Sci.
Thieves Like Us-More prime Altman, much in the melancholy spirit of Mc-
Cabe and Mrs. Miller. Keith Carradine and Shelley Duvall play an outlaw
couple in the 1930's whose career leads to tragedy as surely, if less
glamorously, as Bonnie and Clyde's. 7:00 and 9:15, Aud. A.
Apocalypse Now--If this had been scheduled for last Tuesday, it would have
been the best-timed screening of the term. As it is, the time is frightingly
right enough for another viewing of Coppola's dreamy, druggy, hellish
evocation of the Vietnam War. Tuesday, 6:30 and 9:30, Aud. A.
}Sextette-This may turn out to be the most bizarre oddity since The Terror of
Tiny Town. 85-year-old Mae West, about 40 years removed from her
Hollywood stardom period, returns to creak and sway in attempts to vamp
such guest stars as Tony Curtis, Alice Cooper, Keith Moon, Ringo Starr and
Dm DeLuise. The film is a sexual farce, but whether its laughs will be in-
tentional, unintentional or nonexistent is a mystery. Thursday, 9:00, Nat.
Sci.
MUSIC
Phillip Glass Ensemble-Last year's album Einstein on the Beach brought a
good deal of attention (for a modern composer, anyway) and his stunning,
'te~kturally dense compositions should be even more mesmerizing in live per-
formance. Highly recommended for Eno-philes and jazz fans alike. Friday,
8:00 pm., Power Center.
The Slits-Minimalism that comes from a completely different direction.
This five-piece all female rock-reggae ensemble should be as musically
provocative as their monniker. Opening is Flirt, Detroit's best straight-
ahead rock band, who haven't made the trip to Ann Arbor in ages. Monday,
.at Second Chance, 516 E. Liberty, music should start sometime after 10 p.m.
Charlie Musselwhite-A harmonica virtuoso whose up-tempo Chicago blues
is downright invigorating-it'll cure your blues rather than reinforce them.
Tuesday, 9:30 p.m., at Rick's, 611 Church.
Ray Charles-He's been called a genius, a living legend and all the rest, and
he's still capable of proving it all. The moments of transcendence are fewer
and farther between now, but they're well worth enduring the dross for.
Let's hope he sticks to R-and-B and leaves out the country covers and the
"Star Spangled Banner." Wednesday, 8:00 p.m., Hill Auditorium.
George Thorogood and the Destroyers-An unpretentious, vivacious
showman whose love for rock and roll roots is irresistiible. For a good time,
go see George. Wednesday, Second Chance, 516 E. Liberty. Music should
start around 10 p.m.
THEATRE
Table Manners-Norman, a frenetic assistant librarian, lusts after his
sisters-in-law in this comedy by Alan Ayckbourn, the British Neil Simon. A
first-rate, snappily paced production, At the Trueblood Theatre in the Freize
Building, November 7 and 8Bat 8 p.m.
Papp-With the election of Ronald Reagan can the apocalypse be far
behind? This futuristic comedy by Kenneth Cameron takes place in the
Vatican after a nuclear war. Presented by Canterbury Loft Stage Co. at Can-
terbury Loft, 332 S. State, November 7-9 at 8 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2
p.m.
Anything Goes-Musket's fall production is this toe-tapping musical by Cole
Porter about shipboard romances. Features such 1940's "I Get a Kick Out of
You." At the Power Center, November 7-9 at 8:00 p.m.
Godspell-Another production of this favorite of pop musicals by the St.
Mary's Student Players. A song and dance version of the Gospel according to
Saint Matthew. St. Mary's Student Chapel at Thompson and William.
November 7-9, 8 p.m.
At Second Sight-The Theatre Company of Ann Arbor, A2's oldest ex-
perimental theatre ensemble, depicts its members own lives and experien-
ces through a freeform collection of stories, movement, dialogue, and music.
Saturday, 8:00 p.m., Michigan Union Ballroom.

rather sad about the romantic trials of
Norman and his relatives. But the main
thrust of Ayckbourn's comedy is not to
moralize. That would be as incongruous
as saying that the point behind The Odd
Couple is to avoid messy rooms.
Ayckbourn's talent is his ability to
manipulate stage time and to create in-
tricate characters. His trilogy follows
simultaneous activities of the family in
three different rooms of the country
house managed by Norman's sister-in-
law Annie. Table Manners is set in the
dining room, while the following plays,
Living Together and Round and Round
the Garden are set in the living room
and on the front porch respectively.
Each of the comedies can be performed
individually, although Table Manners
is the most hilarious and often perfor-
med of thegroup.
THE NATURE OF Ayckbourn's
comedy is situational. He lets events
build on themselves rather than em-
ploying scads of one liners like his
American counterparts. Ayckbourn
pokes fun at the stuffy mores of the
British middle class who are so enscon-
ced in the importance of etiquette that
it takes them 10 minutes to set a table
the right way. Either his characters
are placid to the point of vegetable
status or frenetically frustrated by the
meaningless customs they are forced to
observe.
Doctoral directing student John
Hallquist has staged his production for
laughs but recognizes the touch of
poignancy in Ayckbourn's work. Nor-
man's sisters-in-law succumb to him
not because he is an irresistable
Casanova (in fact, he's rather a sch-
muck) but out of loneliness. Even if he's
obnoxious, he't still a warm body. Table
Manners is full of yuks but in its final
moments the laughs change to sym-
pathy for these uptight Britons, who
would like to be honest with each other
but don't know how to healthily unstif-
fen their upper lips.
BUT MOST OF Ayckbourn is froth;
and great froth at that. Norman's
conquests, his sisters-in-law Sarah and
Annie (Phyllis Fox Ward and M. J.

Czernik) are marvelous foils for each
other. Fox has a freshly-scrubbed-
cheeks-country-girl sort of look. She's
wholesome in a unsyrupy manner, and
infinitely gullible.
Sarah is the British Protestant ver-
sion of the Jewish mother. At the
slightest breach or provocation of
etiquette,- she can produce. heart
palpitations that would put Woody
Allen's mother to shame. And her
devotion to custom even branches into
the proper behavior for affairs. "I think
it's what we all need now and then-a
dirty weekend away from home," she
says to Annie. Fox henpecks James
Pawlawk, who plays her husband Reg,
with a delightful relish. She's a delight-
ful prude, a formidable nag, and an
even more impressive stage presence.
Her somewhat scant 60 inches make
her role as the family strongarm even
more amusing, especially next to Ward,
who looms at least two feet over her.
GARY RIGHETTINI plays Norman
as a lusty Dennis the Menace. Hallquist
has let him get away with too much
mugging and hyperactivity. Righettini
bounces around the stage to the point of
distraction. Norman's antics might be
funny if he only gave the audience some
time to react. But he's too busy with
shtick to worry about timing.
Michael Morrissey as Tom, Annie's
neighbor and reliable suitor, gives a
whimsical but rather spacey perfor-
mance. Tom is a veterinarian who
gives more attention to Annie's cat than
he does to the cat's owner, but still en-
joys coming to the house to drink tea
and talk about the latest breakthroughs
in swine viruses. Morrisey's portrayal
comes close to farce. He plays Tom's
thickheadedness a few steps above
comatose.
C. Thomas Johnson has designed a
munificent set of an English country
dwelling that is tasteful down to the last
knick-knack. Which is only what you'd
expect in the home of a family whose
weekend is ruined because as Sarah
puts it, "Reg hadl to cancel his golf
game!"

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Consi

sen timen tal assault
By DENNIS HARVEY decades fail to faze our hero, and after
where in Time's connection to some silly but tedious groundwork
st goes beyond the time- (Reeve: "Let me ask a question-is
ng mechanics of its plot. The time travel possible?" Learned
self seems to have leaped from professor: "That is a question! "), he
onald Colman purrs dime-store manages to will himself back to the
Vhile Greer Garson bats her hotel in 1914 in order to woo his dream
nd, as any relic would, it seems girl. Lots of trembly-mouthed confron-
lunky and ludicrous in its tran- tations, nuzzling, dramatic conflict and
I setting. It's gaga romanticism breathless dialogue ("What is.it?" "It's
M-G-M velvet-sofa, smiling- my favorite music in the whole
1-tears, we-will-cherish-this- world!") ensue before the big hear-
t-forever-goodbye school of tbreak bit and a final note of sticky sen-
nellow Ladies' Nite tragedy. timent that can hardly be withstood.
s gushy. One leaves, the theatre The 1914 sections do have some wan
aghast at- the amount of slush charm, due mostly to Richard
d. Matheson's original (diluted) story and
STOPHER Reeve plays one near-dazzling twist that not even
d Collier, a young 1970's Jeannot Swarzc's technical blundering
ght troubled by a form of (the visuals are a hazy white blur) can
block rarely seen outside the sink. But the sole note of real conviction
Vague Romantic Yearning, is provided by Christopher Reeve,
igh division. He leaves Chicago whose radiance as Superman is absent
eekend to clear his head, here-still, his appealling emotional
by fatal chance to stop at the directness outdistances this garish soup
FHotel, a splendiferous turn-of- of sentiment.
ury structure. There, he prom- rGEORGE T ' " "OD
s all watery-eyed and mooneyan
one glance at a museum THE DESTROYERS
aph of Elise McKenna (Jane
r), "the first American actress
e a mystique in the public eye."WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19
derations of mere death and * Advonce Tickets A " "

ff - - . 1.

MAJOR EVENTS
are pleased to

incooperation

with

announce

in concertI

'Instead of throwing out empty
perfume bottles, use them to scent the
contents of drawers.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR A FEW GOO PEOPLE
Wade.T im & A odoteI, Inc.
25185 Goddard Road
Taylor, Michigan 48180
313 - 291-5400
Edmond, Engineering, Inc.
1501 W. Thomas
Bay City, Michigan 48706 {
517-686-3100
Granger Engineering, Inc.
314 Haynes St., Cadillac, Ml 49601
616 - 775-9754
IMPoC~
Improved Planning Action
>5185 Goddard Ran2

(I

I "
wit s
wit'i special guests

Cinema 11
presents
The Pirate
(Vincente Minrielli, 1947)
Based on a hit Broadway comedy, this MGM musical features an original
score by Cole Porter and stars Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. Judy plays a
young, innocent girl romantically infatuated with the legend of Mack, the
Black, a world renowned pirate, and Kelly portrays a roving actor/clown
who pretends to be this pirate to woo Judy. (102 min.) 7:00 ONLY.
Captain Blood
(Michael Curtiz, 1935)
Errol Flynn as Dr. Peter Blood, rebel of the high seas, explodes onto the
screen with the bold declaration, "We, the hunted, shall now hunt." A
forerunner of his dashing roles as Robin Hood and General Custer, Flynn
charges his audience with electricity as the good doctor leading his under-
dog pirates against a corrupt government. (98 min.) 9:00 ONLY.
Fri., Nov. 7, Nat. Sci. Aud.,
$2.00 single feature, $3.00 double feature
Knife in the Head
(Reinhard Hauff, 1978)
This mystery-thriller with a political twist stars Bruno Ganz as a
biogeneticist who, while at a radical meeting, is shot in the head during a
police raid, leaving his speech and memory seriously impaired.
Manipulated both by the police and by the radicals, he slowly and pain-
fully rebuilds his own consciousness to discover the secret of what really
happened. German with subtitles. Ann Arbor Premiere. (108 min.) 7:00
and 9:00.
Sat., Nov. 8, Angell Hall, $2.00
Thieves Like Us
(Robert Altman, 1974)
Keith Carradine and Shelly Duvall star as a young couple in the depression
headed for certain tragedy because of Carradine's bank robberies.
THIEVES LIKE US even surpasses McCABE AND MRS. MILLER in its force
and lyrical beauty and features standout supporting performances by
Louise Fletcher and John Schuck. Screen play by Joan Tewkesbury and

)

THE OUTLAWS
--+ll-i.'

L

1

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