Thursday, March 10, 1983
The Michigan Daily
'Father' shines despite storm
By Julie Bernstein
M ONDAY NIGHT'S TORNADO
warnings proved inconvenient for
most, but for the MFA Showcase's
opening of The Father, the prolonged
uncertainty of weather set an ap-
propriate air for the suspenseful piece.
Radu Penciulescu's creation is not just
a definitive showcase for the MFA ac-
ting students but a neatly-packaged
production where the most powerful
moments contain not the slightest
sound or movement.
The Father successfully minimizes
the antiquity and potential stiffness of a
modern European play, heavily-packed
with revolutionary social thought. Pen-
ciulesca provides that unique blend of
thematic and symbolic imagery com-
bined with emotional personal connec-
tions. As soon as the play's 1880s ideals
start to distance you from what's ac-
tually happening, a moment of personal
identification brings you back.
This play starts in the middle of a
conversation with very little exposition,
so it is important to see and hear every
detail. Unfortunatly actors racing
through their lines let important in-
formation slip by at first, but this
frequent opening night tendency sub-
sided not long into the piece, and the
play took on a more even and highly ef-
Because of the moment-to-moment
quintessentiality here, a proscenium
stage would better suit this play.
Theater-in-the round helps set a very
realistic tone, but gestures such as tur-
ned backs sometimes prevent the
audience from catching subtle twists in
the story's development. Nonetheless,
Penciulesca makes excellent use of the
space. With tapestries connecting
every corner, Trueblood Theater feels
twice the size, and makes the play an
entrapment of emotion, placing the
audience right in the middle.
Despite some moments of
generalized acting, this ensemble
showcased some fine work. Gregg
Henry in the title role, keeps you on
your toes. His fluidity of movement and
spontaneous moments of discovery
keep you wondering; is he mentally un-
stable, or is everyone else crazy, trying
to discipline an innovative, defiant
spirit? Another Frances theme shown
at the Trueblood.
Michael Goldberg, the doctor, and
Scott Weissman, the preacher, are the
epitomies of 1880s social restraints.
Goldberg's stares of speculation are
both mystifying and sensitive.
Margaret Gonzales' gutsy performance
as the bratty, unsophisticated daughter
made the father's victimized outcome
even more sympathetic.
The main catalyst for the father's tor-
turing destiny is his wife, Laura, played
by Gwendolyn Ricks. Rick's presence is
breathtaking but her intentions seem
undefined. Technically, she met much
of the challenge. Ricks came across
best in her direct confrontational
scenes, whereas Henry's finely-tuned
intensity geared her away from the
general and towards the specific,
drawing her entire character into
clearer focus. Costumes are exquisite
and further enhance the richness of the
highly-charged emotional atmosphere.
The cast reflects a cohesiveness in
their working process and final
product. A learning and growing ex-
perience shines through this artistic
achievement. The Father is not a cheap
commercial production but an exten-
sion of the MFA students' training and
commitment that is well-worth your at-
tendance and appreciation. Perfor-
mances are tonight through Saturday
with a matinee on Sunday; tickets are
$2.00 SAT SUN SHOWS
BEFORE 6:00 PM
A COMEDY FOR THE
STAR OF "TEN"
THURS FRI - 6:45, 8:30, 10:15
Henry, Weissman and Penciulescu (right to left) rehearse 'The Father.'
U ni WW~w~ Blandsh attle-for
glory at M
IT'S MICHIGRAS time again for all
the collegiate types in our midst.
Among the week's exciting activities
will be a pizza-eating contest in the
Union this afternoon, followed on
Friday by clowns in the diag in the
afternoon and in the Pendleton room at
night (the latter event is billed as a
"Shapiro Roast"; the guest of honor
will be there to reply).
On Saturday night Michigras will
feature casino entertainment in the
grand ballroom, a ZBT dance
marathon, an arcade, and (best of all)
The highlight of the festival,
however, will doubtless be the nightly
,in i./ fIfri. i %oW kwF V %w4W r f/,i Ift/ i V i
THURS FRI - 6:45, 9:30
"Battle of the bands" competitions in
the U-Club. Four will play each of the
first two nights; the best two will win a
gig at the Second Chance and the
opportunity to face each other in a
Saturday night showdown.
The battle's purported purpose is to
showcase University students' bands.
At least two of each band's members
must be enrolled. Explained show
coordinator Dennis Hartleib, "We're I
trying to attract bands that haven't
been around before."
The scheduled lineup, which Hartleib
promises will offer "a little of
everything" (except jazz) stylistically,
includes Slippery .Eel, Boy's Life,
Aluminum Beach, and Nighthawk on
Thursday; and The Works, Tension,
Resistance Free, and Epicurean on
Friday. Judges will represent radio
stations WIQB and WCBN as well as
Prism productions, the Daily, and I
possibly the music school. The price is
$1.00 nightly, and music will begin at 9
p.m. -Joe Hoppe
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