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April 06, 1982 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-04-06

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, April 6, 1982

Page 5

Mime for cool

By Walt Owen
WATCHING A PLAY which con-
tained no spoken dialogue was a
real challenge for a pogo-stick fanatic
like myself. I tend to side with the ac-
tion rather than the cool mules. Given
this need for fast-land feed, seeing
"Portraits of Artists" at the Michigan
Theatre Saturday night had its ups and
downs. For the most part, the ups out-
jumped the downs and I found myself
happily above C-level at the final cur-
tain. This presentation of the. Univer-
sity of Michigan Mime Troupe made
the grade by offering a new mix of
theatrical elements,' popularly tran-
slated as "going for it."
University senior Thomas Drotar
created and produced "Portraits of Ar-
tists," a four sequence, ninety-minute,
pantomime play presented entirely by
University students and faculty. Each
of the four sequences explored a dif-
ferent art medium, and each em-
phasized theater techniques which are
usually ignored in traditional
illusionary mime shows. A mime show
portraying "The Dancer" and "The
Musician" does well to include the step
and pep of each medium. Paul Hodgins'
original score was performed by the
Ann Arbor Chamber Orchestra with

just enough swing to get things moving
on stage.
A traffic-riddled city street was the
setting for "The Musician," featuring
Thomas Gospel as a penniless vioinist
who escapes the honks and hurries of
city life by soothing his savaged soul i
music. His empty hat beggingly waited
for some monetary reward.
"The Musician" soon found himself
joined by other talented street players
who brought a fantastic flurry of new
sounds to the stage. The mime talents
of the company were put to the test
during this act as each performer con-
vincingly jammed with the finger
snapping sound provided by the players
in the pit. This act mixed both musical
styles and degrees of emotion, a
realistic approach to the spirit of art, no
matter the medium of display. Danni
Werchowsky and Laura Clark were a
goofy Laurel and Hardy sax and brass
team dressed in bum black, and Adam
Knee's piano man was walking his talk
with some spiffy red plaid pants below
his bluesy shades.
Shades of attention lapse were
rescued by Hodgins' musical com-
positions in "The Dancer," an act in-
spired by the Sorcerer's Apprentice in
Disney's Fantasia. The turn of a magic
key unlocked a variety of dance styles
from the six University School of Dance
performers who leaped and swayed to

mules
ballet, jazz, modern, and African
rhythms. These dancers displayed true
mime technique, waiting in frozen state
as the other dancers took their leggy
bow. All the dancers were cleverly left
in disarray as Hodgins' charted intr-
suion of flats and sharps tangled the
sensitive melody.
Clever creativity similarly allowed
characters to appear on stage left as
"The Writer" created them on stage
right at the typewriter. Drotar was ap-
propriately the writer in this sketch;
/when he ripped up an unsatisfactory
scene the characters disappeared as
the lights dimmer them from sight. The
lighting was effective in this act as a
darkness between Drotar and his
creations allowed a justifiable jux-
taposition.
A special attraction of "Portraits of
Artists" was illumination from the rear
of the stage, a so-called technical im-
provement. This was fine, but in a pan-
tomime play a sharp look at the front of
the faces is required to discern subtle
character emotions. A seat more than
halfway back often made such displays
an unfortunate neck-craning loss. Here
the moments without movement
brought some uneasiness to the crowd.
Perhaps the most potential for ,ar-
tistic translation was offered in "The
Sculptor." A sculptor's three statues
come to life in the stoic poses of Cezan-
ne's "The Card Player" as the sculptor
sleeps. He wakes and joins them in !a
deadly deal of cards which renders a
visual twist as the curtain falls. The
solid mime technique of this troupe was
exemplified by sculptor Perrault and
statues Brotar, Gospel, and Jim
Bishop. "The Sculptor" left me with
more questions than any of the other
three pieces. Though my tastes were
perhaps a bit kinetic for too much more
of this "exquisite pantomime play," the
strength of "Portraits of Artists" lies in
'its expressive potential to describe the
anguish of creativity.

Toots and the Maytals *''*"' TO Uy7J"
His reggae's got soul

By Ben Ticho

AKE A musically hungry audien-
Lce, a band that's been playing ex-
cellent reggae for over a decade and.a
half, mix in a lead singer in an all-black
leather suit who can belt with the best
of them, and you've got a great remedy
for a boring Ann Arbor weekend. When
Toots and the Maytals play Hill
Auditorium, as they did last Sunday,
you can overlook their hour-late
arrival. You can even excuse the totally
inappropriat'e presence of Human Swit-
chboard, the lead band. Because with
Toots, you know you're in fnr a good
time.
Toots Hibbert is a very audience-
oriented singer., always trying to get the
"people involved. On his song "Time
Tough," Toots drew the crowd into a
responsive chanting of "Everything is
getting higher-Higher! Higher!" that
would have made Sly Stone envious. By
the time he got to "Two Timing" and
"54-46 That's My Number," the
Jamaican-born performer had
everyone at his mercy. The show con-
cluded with excellent, jamming ren-
ditions of "Sweet and Dandy," "Funky
Kingston,." and the tour de force,
"Reggae's Got Soul." After the concert, a
few lucky Daily staffers got to meet
with the artist backstage in an ex-
clusive interview. Here are some ex-
cerpts from the session:
Daily: Your last album was
'Knockout.' Do you have any plans for
your next album? Will the music be
much different?
Toots: Every time it's different.
Same reggae-in a higher, progressive
" way.
D: You have a very physical stage
show--it must tire you out by the end of
a tour. Do you have any plans to slow
down, to cut your touring schedule?
T: Yes, physical and spiritual. I plan
to do, to tour four times a year, so the

only way I would cut down would be to
go three times a year.
D: Do you find there's a big differen-
ce in an American audience from, say a
Jamaican or a British one?
T: No, not to me. Everywhere I go I
could make the people do what I want
them to do. I can make them sing, I can
make them clap, I can make them dan-
ce, I can make them happy. Give them
what they want, it feels good.
D: You have a great back-up band.
T: It's not really a back-up band; it's
my band: Hux (Brown) on guitar, Carl
(Harvey) on guitar, Paul (Douglas) on
drums and Raleigh (Gordon), back up
vocal, Jackie (Jackson) on the bass.
D: Is this the original group?
T: Yes, original group, playing for
about 15 years.
D: We noticed one of the ortgnal
members wasn't playing.
T: Jerry (Mathias), yes he's not
singing anymore.
D: Is reggae catching on more in this
country?
T: Yes, catching on. Well, I don't
know what kind of reaction they used to
have before I go to the city. But, each
city that I go to, I get good reaction.
Reggae is no more in the dark.
D: Over the past 15 years, how do you
think reggae has changed?
T: It has changed (pause) a lot.
D: Musically or politically?
T: Well, reggae is not political.
People sing about politics in their
songs, the way they feel in their selves,.
to bring ut the kind of message, you
know? But I don't sing about politics, I
sing about God and love and people,
black and white. My song is connected
with people, to say who they are, their
spiritual redemption. So, reggae
changes physically and spiritually.
D: What song of yours do you like the
most? Do you have a favorite?
T: Well, I love "Two Timin'," and I
also love "Never Get Weary," and I
also love "Spend a Weekend," and I

also love (laughter) . . . every one of
them. You should ask somebody else.
D: You had some songs in Jimmy
Cliff's movie "The Harder They
Come," "Sweet and Dandy" and
"Pressure Drop," I think. Do you have
any other plans to play in a movie
or ...
T: I have plans to play, to act in a
movie-that movie gonna be on me,
somehow. I don't know when, but I
know it will be.
D: What kind of a person would you
like to portray?
T: I would like to be a natural person
who teach people to pray, teach people
how to love, what kind of love we are
talking about-love of God for everyone
of us. You know, and the fullness of the
Scriptures-I would like to do good. If I
have to do bad, someone have to keep
on bothering me, provoking me. Then I
put on the Bible and I show him (throws
some mock punches). That is the way I
want to act in my show. Maybe, maybe
next year. It will be a very serious
movie.
D: How doyou feel about Rastafari?
T: Well, I am Rastafari, and I am dif-
ferent from others. I don't natty my
hair, I always comb my hair, and I
always do what the Bible says I is sup-
posed to do. Old time Bible say a man
supposed to comb his hair, and a man
don't supposed to suffer his locks to
grow longer, and you should shave your
beard as so (strokes his own beard),
and you should have love to everyone. If
you even don't have any beard you
should really, ah, respect that person,
because the Father he always living in
all of us, he's moving in me, he's
moving in you. So, Rastafari mean
people who have love for people, who
have good mind, good thoughts for
people, who do good, who don't want to
see no one hurt; that's Rastafari,
whether you're black or you're white.
On television I see a white man take his
plane, take a lot of food on to the people.
and doctors and, you know? I say, look
at that, that man is Rastafari. Although
he's white, and he shave his beard, he's
Rastafari. Rastafari is God people, you
know. Lot of people have misunderstan-
ding about Rastafari-is reggae, is nat-
ty dread, some other thing, but it's not
that.
D: How important is religion to your
music specifically?
T: Well, my way and Rastafari is not
really a religion, because, as you know,
religion deal with politics and the chur-
ch and state and all that. My way is
coming from natural, the Bible. That
mean I don't support this side of
politics, I don't support that side of
politics. I talk about the rights of
people, which is God rights.

Entertainment briefs

" Zsa Zsa Gabor says she will wed for
the eighth time this summer. The lucky
bridegroom is Filippo the Duke of Alba,
52.
Filipo's age may be why Zsa Zsa
decided, as she put it, to set the record
straight about her own age, which she
says is 54. Estimates of her age have
gone as high as 64. She was runner-up in
a beauty contest in 1933 - at age 15 ,
she said at one time. The bridegroom is
a lawyer, writer and real estate finan-
cier. He proposed over the weekend at
her Palm Beach home. Merv Griffin
will be best man.
*Alan Alda has won, the Danish
equivalent of an Oscar for the film The
Four Seasons, which he wrote, direc-
ted, and starred in. The movie won the
Bodil Award for Best American Film,
Denmark's top movie honor presented
annually by the Association of Danish
Film Critics. Alda's daughter,
Beatrice, who appeared in the film, ac-
cepted the award on behalf of her
father.
" Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer
wanted to do something to top winning
an Oscar. So they got married. The
couple, who shared an Academy Award
for best song - "Arthur's Theme Best
That You Can Do" - were wed Satur-
day at the home of record producer Neil
Bogart. Neil Diamond and his wife
were guests. Bacharach, 52, whose hits
include the 1970 Oscar-winner "Rain-

drops Keep Fallin' On My Head," was
previously married to Paula Stewart
and Angie Dickinson.
" Country music singer Tammy
Wnyette has been hospitalized for tests
aimed at pinpointing the cause of ab-
dominal pains, doctors say.
Porter Hospital spokesman Ray Min-
ner said Wynette, 39, from Henderson-
ville, Tenn., was admitted eight days
ago complaining of abdominal discom-
fort. She was listed in good condition.
"She hasn't been singing," Minner
said. "But I talked to her over the
weekend and she sounded pretty good."
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