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October 14, 1983 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-10-14
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Racial
Spelt # 7
Professional Theater Program
Power Center
8 p.m., Wednesday, October 19
By Elliot Jackson
T HEATER AT ITS best has a kind
of hypnotic effect which transfor-
ms the viewer's immediate reality in a
way impossible in print or on the
screen. This magic quality is what the
Professional Theatre Program aims for
in this season's first Power Series
production Spell #7.
Ntozake Shange, the author of For
Colored Girls Who Have Considered
Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf, calls
Spell #7 a theater piece rather than a
"play," because she considers herself a
poet of the stage rather than a
playwright in the ordinary sense.
Considering the traditionsl
"European" play structure to be too
limiting and stagnant - in a word, dead
-for her to experiment with, she

seems to be well on the way to creating
a unique theatrical form, which com-
bines poetry, dance, and music with
dialogue and action.
This theater piece is no musical,
though it deals with the stuff of
musicals. The "spell" of Spell #7, the
"geechie jibara quick magic trance for
technologically stressed third world
people" as the subtitle would have it, is
the spell which confers love of
blackness. The magician figure, Lou,
informs us that his father "retired from
magic and took up another trade cuz
this friend a mine from the 3rd
grade/asked to be made white on the
spot."
Lou's black magic, spell *f7, is for the
benefit of those who, like the child, wish
to be made white on the spot. It is for "fi
xin' you up & colored (for) bein'
colored all yer life & you gonna love it."
The magician is eventually joined by
the rest of the actors, portraying ac-
tors, in fieldgarb, blackface, and
hangdog attitudes; which are gradually
shed as the action goes forward. This
action, primarily a series of poetic
vignettes held together by the figure of
the magician, illustrate the frustrations
and ironies of being black actors - in
more senses of that word than one - in
American society.
"The ironies that surround these
people (the characters) in this play are
many fold," says Mikell Pinckney,
director of Spell #7.
Consider the fact that the only

y'L}:..:

original American theatrical form is
the musical, which comes from the+
minstrel show. The minstrel show was
in its turn an imitation - by whites - of
the old entertainments the slaves used
to put on.
"Little did the whites realize, when
they imitated the blacks in minstrel
shows, that they were imitating blacks'
imitating whites - which was what the
old plantation-entertainments con-
sisted of.
"Then when Eubie Blake and his con-
temporaries wanted to change the
image of the minstrel show, they added
a big music and dance number at the
end. The result, the roots of vaudeville,
which gave birth to the musical, added
a new layer of distortion - blacks were
now imitating whites, who were
imitating blacks imitating whites."
The connection of this history to Spell
#7? "The central irony of the charac-
ters' position, as actors," Pinckney
says, "is that their ancestors are the
ones who started the American
theatrical tradition, and now they can't
even find work."
The ironies of the characters' position
are reflected, to a certain extent, in the
history of PTP's production of Spell #7
Mikell Pinckney, an alumnus of the
University, graduated in 1976 with a
M.A. in directing. He subsequently
went to New York, and became the ar-
tistic director for the Billie Holiday
Theatre in Brooklyn. As of 1981,
however, he has been "free-lancing"
around the country, which included

I

FINAL OPTION Either way, he's back and he's Bond. (Ann Arbor
The final option in this story involves espionage Theater, 210 St. Fifth; 7619701). TO BEGIN AGA
and an anti-terrorist squad. (Fox-village Theater, RETURN OF THE JEDI This Acadenr
Maple village; 769-1300): George Lucas clues us in on those troubling ftoendslbewn
questions raised in the two prior Star Wars hits. Lots a n for his
Oh what a feeling! Jennifer Beals dances (well, more action in this one, with a little less character Fifth; 761-9700)
almost) the night away. (Movies at Briarwood, development-except for Luke and Darth. The
BETRAYAL Briarwood Mall; 769-8780).magic is still there. (Campus Theater, 1214 S. TRADING PL
Ben Kingsley (Gandhi himself) stars in this story University; 668-6416). turns out a reun
of a love triangle between a beautiful woman and a MR. MOM RISKY BUSINESS Live. (Fox i
trusted friend. (State Theater, 231S. State; 662-6264) A tired attempt at a tired theme. Mr. Mom looks at A dozen pubescent high-school hormonalites learn 1300).
BEYOND. THE LIMITS role reversal with all the charm of a wet liver. (The about love, life, college interviews and prostitution. WARGAMES
Richard Gere and Michael Caine star in a political. Fox Village Theater, Maple Village; 769-1300). (Movies at Briarwood, Briarwood Mall; 769-8780). A high schoo
thriller set in a seedy South American province. security system
(Movies at Briarwood, Briarwood Mall; 769-8780) ROMANTIC COMEDY anti-nuke statn
THE BIG CHILL MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE Broadway comes to the screen once again as wood Mall; 769
Seven University alumni gather together at the David Bowie continues to let everyone know he can Dudley Moore and Mary Steenburgen star in what
funeral of a friend, the results being humorous and do more than just dance (and sing, for that matter), Moore uniquely termed "a comedy avec romance. VCheyCATO
touching. Are these the best years of our lives? as he stars in his second film of the year. (State (Movies at Briarwood, Briarwood Mall; 769-780) Chevy Chase
(Movies at Briarwood, Briarwood Mall; 769-8780) Theater, 231 S. State; 662-6264) treat himself a
Baa eW d' stfmfna kSTRANGE BREW .(Wayside'i'hea
BRISOMSRNEBE WyieTetNatalie Wood's last film finally makes it to the NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN Drink and barf with Bob and Doug. That's about it, ZELIG
screen, thanks to much lobbying on the part of direc- What an apt title for Sean (I'll never do another e r an aiob nh o u ckT(stat Has Woody
tor Douglas Trumbull. The sci-fi thriller also stars Bond movie") Connery. To some he is the only 007, Theater, 231S. State; 662-6264) count on it. A su
Christopher Walken and Cliff Robertson. (Fox- to others he's just an old man out to make a buck. twist in pseudo
Village Theater, Maple Village; 769-1300) State; 662-626

Michael Shane: Spellbound
directing Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope
and The Amen Corner for PTP in years
past.
Speaking of the decision to direct
Spell #7, Pinckney says, "We were not
originally planning to do this show, but
another, for which there simply were
not enough black actors in the theater
department - I didn't know if I could
cast it.
"So I was looking for a piece that was
not too structured - that was flexible in
its casting demands, and could be put
together in a relatively short period of
time." Hence, Spell #7.
Appearing at the Power Center Oc-
tober 19-23, Spell #7 promises to be a
theatrical experience that is both
thought provoking and enlightening.
For ticket information, call the PTP of-
fice at 764-0450.

idmpu

REDS (Warren Beatty, 1981)
Beatty's epic about John Reed, the author of Ten
Days That Shook the World, and his love for Diane
Keaton, is a very good epic indeed. A little too mushy
sometimes, but all in all a good 3% hours of film.
(Alternative Action; MLB 3,8:00)
GHANDI (Richard Attenborough, 1982)
It's big and it's full of nice thoughts. But the
technical side is only. so-so and the screenplay turns
Gandhi into a little too-much of a deity. Won an
Oscar for Best Picture, and it certainly is not dull.
(Cinema Guild; Lorch Hall, 4:00,7:30)
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SEX COMEDY (Woody
Allen, 1982)
Allen combines a fine cast, Shakespearean in-
fluences, and Ingmar Bergman to create his own
zaniness. Fabulous cinematography make a perfect
summer comedy that should still be fresh in the mid-
dle of autumn. (Ann Arbor Film Coop; Nat. Sci.
Aud., 6:45,10:15)
SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT (Ingmar Bergman,
1955)
Bergman shows his lighter side in a comedy about
all the goings-on during a weekend at a country
estate. While not great comedy, it has more than
enough moments to make it worth seeing. (Ann Arbor
Film Coop; Nat. Sci. Aud., 8:20)

tures. "Hart to Hart" seems less original by the
moment. (Cinema 2; Aud. A, 7:00)
LOVE CRAZY (Jack Conway, 1941)
William Powell and Myrna Loy are together again.
He tries to prove he's insane in a farce full of
pyramiding misunderstandings. (Cinema 2; Aud A,
8:45)
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (Vincente Minnellis,1951)
Gene Kelly is a GI in WWII. He falls in love with
Paris and decides to stay there to try his luck at
becoming a painter. He falls in love with Leslie
Caron and they sing their way through Paris. Won
the Oscar for Best Picture of 1951.)(Classic Film
Theater; Michigan Theater, 5:00, 9:00)
THE BAND WAGON (Vincente Minnelli,1953)
Fred Astaire washed up? Well, that's what hap-
pens here, as Astaire plays a movie star trying to
revive his career by appearing on Broadway.
(Classic Film Theater, Michigan Theater, 7:00)
THE ALAMO (John Wayne, 1960)
Wayne also stars in a film that's about - you
guessed it - the famed battle between a small band
of Texan soldiers and the Mexican Army at the
Texas mission called the Alamo. (Hill Street
Cinema; 1429 Hill, 7:00, 9:00)

serial pitting f
ghost. (Cinema
DAYS OF HEAV
Richard Gere
se) obviously w
serious role in
(Brooke Adam
World War I. N
beautiful and w
Hall, 7:00, 9: 00)

"Chevrolet College Graduate
New Car Financing Plan"
At* Lou LaRiche Chevrolet
$15r078~sicCop

DERZU UZALA (Akira Kurosawa, 1975)
Derzu Uzala is a hunter who comes across a band of
Russian soldiers charting the Siberian wilderness.
He becomes their guide. Shot entirely on location.
Russian with subtitles. (Cinema Guild; Lorch Hall,
7:00,9:30)
LAST TANGO IN PARIS (Bernardo Bertolucci,
1972)
Marlon Brando is a widower following his wife's
suicide. He latches on to a Parisian actress, Maria
Schneider and promptly proceeds to put her through
a large amount of degradation. (Mediatrics; MLB 3,
7:00,9:15)
BABY IT'S YOU (John Sayles, 1983)
The most recent feature by the director of Lianna
and The Return of the Secaucus Seven is a love story
about a well-dressed greaser and his well-to-do
girlfriend. The class aspect adds a little something,
but overall, it's rather drab. (Ann Arbor Film Coop;
MLB 4, 7:00, 9:00)
GALLIPOLI (Peter Weir, 1981)
The anti-war message is nothing that hasn't'been
done many a time before, and Weir does little to
make it into something new. His story of two
Australians who join WWI and become British can-
non fodder is probably his worst film. Mel Gibson
stars. (Cinema 2, Aud. A, 7:00,9:00)
ANNE OF 1,000 DAYS (Charles Jarrott, 1969)
Genvieve Bujold is Ann Boleyn. Richard Burton is
Henry VIII. This historical drama tells all about the
not-so-fun things that happen when the two get
together. (Alternative Action; Not. Sci. Aud., 7:00)
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTTS (Charles Jarrott,1971)
The setting is Tudor England. Glenda Jackson and
Vanessa Redgrave play Queen Elizabeth Iand Mary,
Queen of Scotts, respectively, and they fight it out for
the crown. (Alternative Action; Nat. Sci. Aud., 9:30)

CRIME AND P
A half-craze(
fect crime. Th(
spired Dostoev
film is based. P
Lorch Hall, 7:0
DAY FOR NIG
Entertaining
what must ha'
movie director
not particularl
French with
Michigan Thea
SOME LIKE IT
Jack Lemmc
musicians who
because the mc
band, they ge
Monroe. (Hill S

CALL DAVE BROWN FOR
DETAILS AT 453-4600

Keep that great GM
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in
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Across from Burroughs

Reds: Comrades in love

ISWITCH TO LaRICHE
Lou I A I&oHE
CHEVROLET

STARSTRUCK (Gilliam Armstrong, 1982)
Cinema 2 presents the Ann Arbor premiere of a
punk film starring Jo Kennedy. She and her cousin
sing and dance their way through Australia and try
to put on a show. From the director of My Brilliant
Career. (Cinema 2; Aud A, 7:00;9:00)
ONE FROM THE HEART (Francis Ford Coppola,
1982)
Coppola's follow-up to Apocalypse Now is a Las
vegas love story starring Natassia Kinski. Coppola
created his own lavish version of Las Vegas and tried
to get things right. Also stars Teri Garr and Raul
Julia. (Mediatrics; MLB 4,6:30,8:15, 10:00)
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (Alfred Hitchcock.
1959)
James Mason thinks Cary Grant is somebody else,
and Grant ends up being involved in things he doesn't
even know about. Lots of great scenes on Mt. Rush-
more and elsewhere highlight fabulous entertain-
ment. (Hill Street Cinema; 1429 Hill, 8:00,10:00)

GANDHI (Richard Attenborough, 1982)
See Saturday's listing. (Cinema Guild; Lorch
Hall, 4:00,7:30)
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
(Joseph Strick,1978)
Based on James Joyce's novel, this film tells of a
young Irishman who keeps on having epiphanies
which lead him to rebellion against his parochial up-
bringing. (Ann Arbor Film Coop; MLB 4,7:00)
ULYSSES (Joseph Strick,1967)
James Joyce's really big book serves as source
material for the concluding half of the James Joyce
books-into-film twin bill. (Ann Arbor Film Coop;
MLB 4,8:45)
THE THIN MAN (W. S. Van Dyke, 1934)
Dashiel Hammett wrote the novel upon which this
movie is based. William Powell and Myrna Loy por-
tray a married couple who have fun detective adven-

SHE AND HE (Susumu Hani, 1963)
The monotony of the typical modern sterile apar-
tment complex starts to have a bad effect on father
and children. They start to become automations
while the wife looks on in horror. (Cinema Guild;
Lorch Hall, 7:00, FREE)

BURN! (Gillol
Marlon Brai
Queimada Isla;
Portugese 8o E
cane. But as tip
and Brando mu
Guild; Lorch R
A FUNNY THI
THE FORUM (I
Zero Mostel, F
Keaton gallava,
with a score b3
Theater; Michij
THE PRODUCE
The chemistry
Mostel (as a Brc
(as an accountar
in an attempt
becomes a succe
Theater; Michig
THE IN-LAWS (A
One of the best
great pairing of
Falk getting an uw
adventures. Rich
as a Latin Americ
Aud., 7:00, 9:00)
COm

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Prices plus transportation, tax, and license.
8 Weekend/October 14, 1983

DICK TRACY (William Witney and John English,
1941)

Episde eght,"Tran ofDoom" i th itage

5 We

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