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January 23, 1982 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-01-23

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f

ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Saturday, January 23, 1982

Page 5

'Hopscotch' skips flaws.

By Tania Blanich

[

W E ALL PLAYED hopscotch as
kids. But how many of us realize
that we continue to play the game,
perhaps with even more vehemence,
the rest of our lives? Certainly Isreal
Horovitz realized this, as did Catrina
Ganey, Van Dirk Fisher, and Elaine
Devlin, the actors and director who
presented Horovitz's one-act play, Hop-
scotch, Thursday night at the Canter-
bury Loft.
Hopscotch- depicts the brief and im-
passioned encounter of a man and
woman;- the children's playground
game becomes the battlefield as they
unleash their pent-up emotions. Can-
terbury Loft provided the perfect set-
ting for this extremely riveting play.
The intimacy of the Loft allowed the
audience to become one with the ac-
tors-we laughed, we cried, and we
lusted with Elsa and Will as they deftly
conquered each new wave of feelings.
The lights came up on an empty park
bench, while Paul Simon's "Sunny
Day" played in the background, setting
a melancholic mood. Elsa bounds on to
the set, pushing a baby stroller. Full of
childish enthusiasm and bubbling With
laughter, she painstakingly draws out
the squares of hopscotch, erasing a line
here or there to make it perfect. She
begins to play but hesitates, calling out
to an unseen observer. Will then saun-
ters on stage and with a violently
passionate embrace, the play takes off.
Horovit's writing is simple, yet the
characters and their interaction

amazingly complex. Elsa is a woman-
child, playing hopscotch with joyous
abandon in order to forget a stagnant
life of bitter disappointments. Will, a
bright, aggressive charmer, is tired of
leading a meaningless life.
Van Dirk Fisher plays the role of Will
with strength and humor and just the
right amount of brutal sensuality. He
charms not only Elsa, but also the
audience with his mischievous grin and
boyish actions. Catrina Ganey plays the
street-wise, yet naive, Elsa with in-
credible agility. One moment she's
giggling like a teenager, the next she is
bristling with rage and hurt.
Ganey and Fisher form a perfect
team, exploring every nuance of
emotion with grace and dexterity. If
Fisher isn't always as comfortable hop-
scotching from emotion to emotion as is
Ganey, the raw energy emitted by the
two more than makes up for it. Rarely
do we have the occasion to see such
electric performances in Ann Arbor.
Chosen by the actors, Hopscotch
proves a great showpiece for their
talent. Elaine Devlin, a senior in
Theater, has done an excellent job of
directing, extracting from her cast a
sensitive, stirring interpretation of the

work. Hopscotch is a memorable play
with nearly flawless performances by
Catrina Ganey and Van Dirk Fishei'.
It may well be the best play you'll sde
this year. Performances continue
through the weekend.
Help Prevent
Birth Defects -
The Nation's
Number One
Child Health
Problem.
Support the
March (of
BIRTH DEFECT$
FOUNDATION
This space contributed
by the publisher.

The University of Michigan Mime Troupe

Unique mix of mime and
music mark U Toupe

By Carol Poneman
TN SILENCE, a young man makes a
1 peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
He works on, intent on finishing his
task, oblivious to his surroundings. Af-
ter reaching for the soft middle pieces
in the loaf of bread, he struggles with
the stuck lid of the peanut butter jar.
Finally, he takes a triumphant bite out
of the sandwich, and then looks up and
smiles. The kitchen and the sandwich
disolve and disappear; the pantomime
is over.
This elusive sandwich was created at
a practice session of the University of
Michigan Mime Troupe. In its second
year 'of existence, the Troupe is
working on a new pantomime play for
their :April 3rd performance at the
Michigan Theater. The members are
iow working on the intermediate stages
of the play. But soon emerging will be a
completed four-act pantomime that
uses techniques somewhat foreign to
the art..
"Portraits of Artists" is the title for
this new creation, written by Thomas
'Drotar. What is essentially' different
about this pantomime is that it employs
music, a medium not often utilized in
conventional pantomime. The music to
be used was written by Paul Hodcins, a
University master's student at the
School of Music.
'Portraits of Artists' is four
dynamic pieces with music inter-
twined," claimed Drotar.

Besides adding sound add music to
the four pieces that make up the play,
Drotar and Perry Perrault, Artistic
Director of the Troupe, use other un-
conventional aspects in developing the
mime. Instead of using the usual white
face in every piece, along with the
traditional mime costume of striped
shirt and dark unitard, one of the pieces
will find the mimes dressed in street
clothes and without makeup. Some of
the pieces do use the conventional white
face, but it is important that this pat-
tern is broken.
As its title suggests, "Portraits of Ar-
tists" centers on experiences of four
different artists: a dancer, a sculptor, a
writer and a musician. The four dif-
ferent works cover myriad feelings.
"We cover different moods-from
frivolity and fantasy in "The Dancer"
to find something very tragic in "The
Writer" 'and something quasi-Twilight
Zone in "The Sculptor," said Perrault.
The 'founders of the Troupe are
Drotar, a student here, and Perrault, a
professional mime who has worked in
the medium for the last eight years.
Drotar is not only the writerof "Por-
traits of Artists," he is also its
producer. For him, preparing this
production has been a new experience
and a sometime struggle. "This is not
an ordinary mime . . . we are doing
something never done before," ex-
plained Drotar.
Perrault has worked across the
United States as well as in Europe.
Watching him interact with the mem-
bers of the Troupe, his ease and talent
with pantomime is obvious. Speaking of
Perrault's role in working with Drotar

to make "Portraits of Artists" a
finished work, he says that Perrault ...
"will run with it (the pantomime) and
he'll add his own to it. He brings out
everything that can be brought out."
This year the Troupe consists of
veterans from the previous year and
newcomers selected through auditions.
Out of the many who tried out, these
seven men and three wormen were
chosen for various attributes ranging
from a great deal of experience in pan-
tomime to facial mobility and ex-
pressiveness.
Watching the Troupe practice is
never dull. In quiet concentration they
work out practice pantomimes,
gesturing, mugging, and moving about
the empty space. After their practices,
members critique each other's perfor-
mances to help themselves work
toward the perfect mime. Right now the
Troupe, with the help of Drotar and
Perrault, is concentrating on
developing the members within the
roles that they will play in April's per-
formance. Before the performance t-
self, the pieces will have become a
reality for the performers in the
Troupe.
The Troupe is a new and developing
artistic entity. Creating roles for the
first time, and performing premier
works, they are unique in the Univer-
sity community. The April performan-
ce of Drotar's "Portraits of Artists"
will be important to observe because it
merges two mediums that have rarely
ever merged.
I only wonder what happened to that
peanut butter sandwich; I could almost
taste it.

Ballet at
Po wer
Cen ter
The Oakland Ballet Company will
appear under the auspices of the
University Musical Society at 8 p.m.
Jan. 25-27 in The University of
Michigan's Power Center for the Per-
forming Arts.
The program for opening night, titled
"Diaghilev Tribute," "Scheherazade,"
choreography by Fokine and Beriosoff,
music by Rimsky-Korsakov; "La
Boutique Fantasque" (excerpts),
choreography by Massine, music by
Rossini and Respighi; "Spectre de la
Rose," choreography by Fokine and
Vilsal, music by Weber; and "Rite of
Spring," choreography by Pasqualetti,
music by Stravinsky.-'
On Jan. 26, the ballet will present "A
Mostly Copland Evening," including
"Seascape," choreography by Guidi,
music by Copland; "Bolero,"
choreography by Wilde, music by
Ravel; "Billy The Kid," by Loring,
music by Copland; and "Gallops and
Kisses," by Guidi, music by Schubert,
Lanner and Strauss.
The closing night program, an. "All
Guidi Evening" featuring
choreography by Ronn Guidi, artistic
director of the Oakland Ballet Com-
pany, is: "In Autumn," music by
Tchaikovsky; "Fantasia Para' un Gen-
tilhombre," mulsic by Rodrigo; and
"Carnival D'Aix, music by Milhaud.
The Oakland Ballet evolved from the
Ballet Players Guild of Oakland, foun-
ded in 1954 by Raoul Pause, which
seven years later became the Civic
.Ballet with Co-Director Guidi. Under
Guidi's influence, a small group from
the larger company was formed in 1965
as the Oakland Ballet.

Fear of boredom spurs
mime artist An derson

Ire..*on

Although he continuallyrworks revus1111Evening with olePrter

By Adam Knee
O J. ANDERSON is anything but
an everyday mime, and his per-
formance tonight at the Ark promises
to be anything but an everyday mime
show. He freely strays from the
technique-oriented European mime
tradition. "So many mimes today are
just boring," Anderson comments.
"It's more fun to create stuff that's en-
tirely new. Most of my work is
definitely un-mime."
Indeed, if your'concept of a mime ar-
tist is one of a grease-painted mute
blindly groping for walls, this imp-
faced, wildly-energetic, young perfor-
mer will make you sit up and take note.
His work involves all kinds of unusual
props and effects-not to mention pup-
petry and plenty -of audience par-
ticipation. He relies heavily on his own
vocalizations for sound effects and
sings in l4is shows as well.
Anderson gets ideas fornhis zany skits
from things he sees in the world around
him; nothing and no one is safe from
ridicule. He deals with everything from
advertising to speed reading, from
video games to hisorical heroes. Now
he even has a piece in the works about
God.

nationwide, appearing with such well-
known performers as Robert Fripp and;
John Astin, Anderson remains based in
Ann Arbor. "I didn't want to go the New
York route," he explains. "I think an
actor can work in his own state if he
wants to. I'm successfully living and
supporting myself on performances
here in Michigan."
His current local work includes direc-
ting and performing with the Easy
Street Touring Company in the musical

and By George. Among future plans are
a stint with the Cleveland Opera this
spring and an appearance in a segment
of the nationally-televised children's
show "Nickelodeon."
Anderson does not see limiting him-
self in the future to any one performing
art. "I would get bored if I were just in-
volved in one," he insists. "I get bored
very easily, so I just keep going and try
all sorts of things." 'It is this artistic
restlessness that gives his shows their
unique energy.

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