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November 02, 1983 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-11-02

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Wednesday, November 2, 1983

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

Richard Pryor








By Joshua Bilmes
6 t E'S THE MOST from coast to
coast," is one of the many
pieces of lavish praise Richard Pryor
ggts from members of the audience and
uses to start out his newest concert
filn, Richard Pryor . .. Here and now.
That is something that can work both
wAys, for if Pryor fails to spend the next
ninety minutes proving his point, boy is
he going to look like an egotistical idiot.
Fortunately, for both the audience and
Pryor, he lives up to the praise, as a
comedian if not as a director.
From the moment he steps out on
stage, he displays a unique knack for
writing good comedy, acting it out, and
for improvising when the members of
the audience provide comments. Even
when someone presents him with a live,
crab it doesn't phase him - after a few
moments of pondering, he sets the crab
down on his stool, bends real close with
the microphone and starts to tell us
what the crab is thinking.
But the important part of the above,
even more than his ability to improvise,
is his ability to act. When he does a
segment on weather he talks about the
wind in Chicago which always seems to
be waiting around the corner for you to
step out. Instead of just telling the
audience about it, he acts the part of the
wind, waiting to swoop down on some
unsuspecting person who is about to
step out of a doorway. Even his longish
sketch about a junkie, which was one of
the least humorous, benefited from his
ability to really look like a junkie.

And lest you get the idea that he is
doing it on the basis of personal ex-
perience Pryor says repeatedly that he
has been out of the drug scene seven
months. He tells the audience "You
don't believe it. I know you don't. I
don't give a *&!.''.
His material is varied. he tells us
about his trip to Rhodesia and says "I
know how white people feel in America
now - relaxed." He gives us his
opinion of the President based on their
handshake when he went to the White
House for a Superman III premiere. He
talks about the prospects of nuclear
war. "They say we gonna have a half-
hour warning. I want at least nine or
ten months."
I apologize if the above quotes might
not be the best from the film, but about
ninety percent of Pryor's sentences
come complete with language that
give movies an R-rating. In a way, that
isn't that big a deal because the
material is funny, or at least it is when
Richard Pryor is using it. And that's
the bottom line about Richard Pryor ...
Here and Now - the stuff is funny.
It is too bad that it has been such a
long time since Pryor has been in a
good, funny film - besides one of his
own concert films. And it is too bad that
Pryor chose to handle the direction on
this himself - another person might
have avoided mistakes like showing
people giving their tickets to the ticket
taker. But by himself, just telling
jokes, Pryor is funny. If you like Pryor
or good comedy, and if you do not
dislike his vocabulary, Here and now is
a nice way to spend ninety minutes.

By Steven Susse
sexual father mak
you, your dad beats yo
and/or your parents arec
You go to the T.R. hous(
you do.
The Wildside is not a d
There is little progress
much of a plot. It follows
of a group of teenagers wl
rejected by their families
place to go. It is ab
congregate at a run-dow
call T.R. house on the out
suburbia; kids who dres
subsist on stolen goods a
are not vandalizing the
vegetate in front of a telev
The Wildside is poorly i
ting is bad, the cameram
on acid and the director d
know what is happen
grotesque, and extremel
five minutes pass withot
beating or shooting.
violence and shocks, h
Wildside makes an
statement. These kids a
for kicks, they are angr
they have no place in soci
They rebel against th
parents who hate them, t
fight them, the police tha
But at the same time, the
tion and acceptance froi
people. They are a para

- -
wild side
r whose violence and anger stem from
the pain of rejection and the promise of
a dismal future.
if your homo-
es a pass at The Wildside is a terrifying film
u constantly, because it depicts reality. There ac-
drug addicts? tually are people in this world of ours
e, that's what who can't go to college, don't have A
family, and view society as an enemy.
ynamic film.
lion, and not They were born into an age of mi-
the misdeeds dless media, a 50% divorce rate, and
ho left or were threats of nuclear genocide. To fight
and have no their fear, loneliness and rejection,
out kids who they band together and derive their
vn dump they strength from the group.
skirts of some
ss like punks, Like the wild dogs, born of stray mut-
nd, when they ts and mountain wolves, that ravage
neighborhood, the movie's bizarre neighborhood,
vision. these young people are caught between
made. The ac- societal domesticity and the threat of
an seems to be complete disassociation.
oes not always For all its flaws, I found The Wildside
ning. It is to be a moving film. I could empathize
y violent. No with the punks even while despising
ut a stabbing, their actions. You and I will never ha
Through its to stay there, but a visit to the wildsi
however, The is interesting and horrifying.
I imnortant

re not just out
y and hurt -
e society; the
the locals who
at evict them.
y desire atten-
m these same
doxical group

Richard Pryor gets laughs any wayhe can in his new movie 'Here and Now.'

See 'The Forest' for the trees


By Lisa Freiman
M ODERN ART. To some these
words bring to mind an image of
Jackson Pollack heaving a bucket of
paint onto a canvas and admiring the
result. "Art once meant seeing a bowl
of fruit and painting a bowl of fruit,"
says Andy Mennick, director of Suspen-
sion Theater's production of The
Forest. "It's much more abstract now.
Theatre once meant On Golden Pond -
two old people growing older and two
kids." If he has his way, that too will
"Most people think of experimental
theatre as actors screaming in a blue
strobe light, protesting oppression in
South Africa. We're trying take the
stigma off experimental theatre."
Mennick and his housemates, John
Nicholson and Brian Harcourt, have
come to Ann Arbor from Grinnell
University in Iowa to show us their
ideas about theatre.
The Forest, by Alexander Ostrovsky,
is a major Russian work though it is lit-
tle known in this country. Under Men-
nick's direction the nineteenth centruy
play about a greedy landowner and her
subjects is not only brought up to date,
it is made avant-garde: scenes take
place on rolling trunks and characters
hold bicycle fragments in their hands.
"He wanted the cast on roller
skates," says Elise Mazor, who plays a
servant in the show. "Originally the set
was gonna be all mirrors." Is this
really different from strobe lights and

screaming actors? "Absolutely,"
maintains Mennick.
"We are anti-intellectual. We believe
that audiences have been entertained
with very little, and they deserve more.
The actors and the audeince under-
stand the messages; we want them to
go one step further and have fun with
the script." Indeed, during rehearsal,.
Mennick keeps urging his actors to
have fun, and to make fun of them-
"Entertainment is a dirty word in
traditional theatre" says Mennick, who
presents a scathing satire on such
viewpoints in his second act. Yet this
slightly conservative theatre-goer
remains critical: surely there is
something more than just stage antics?
"We're trying to create a non-linear
effect - like in a dream," Mennick
admits when pressed. "There's a sense
of purging in dreams that we're trying
to re-create - you may not walk out of
the play and be able to state a definite
theme, but you'll walk out with a sense
of something, like you do in dreams.
And that's enough."
The dream effect is achieved through
gimmicks, says Elise Mazor, though
Mennick objects to the word.. "What
we're striving for is a conglomerative
multi-media effect. I know that sounds
pretty artsy-fartsy, but performances
that appeal to an audience visually and
aurally are better." Better? "We have
words, and movements, and music; if
we add them all together we can ap-
peal ti all the senses and move people
more - ultimately make them more
sensitive human beings." A moment

later he adds: "God that's trite."
Has he succeeded? At this point the
answer is definitely yes and no. When
he gets his ideas across to the actor's,
the answer is yes: in one particular
scene two beachballs are used as toys,
then as metaphors for the characters'
emotions, and then as a character's
alternatives. With the objects right in.
front of you, so clear and versatile, the
scene sparkles.
The answer is no, however, when the
cast fails to understand Mennick; sadly
enough this happens too often in the fir-
st act. "I don't understand it but I'll
try it anyway," shrugged one actress at
one of Mennick's suggestions.
At this writing, the play has one more
week of rehearsal, in which Mennick
plans to get tough. "I'm scared" he
admits. "Often a play falls together at
the last minute, but you just can't count
on that." A lot can be done in a week of
rehearsal. "At this point I don't know
what I want from the play anymore" he
sighs. "I guess I just want my actors to
speak loudly and avoid bumping into
the furniture."
The first production by Suspension
Theatre will show at the Performance
Network on Washington St., November
4-6 and 11-13. (Tickets are $5 general
admission and $4 for students and
senior citizens).


3tk A~e of b4ey 761-9O
THURS. 7:25, 9:40
WED. 12:45, 2:55, 5:10, 7:25, 9:40

"Duke" Robillard and the Pleasure Kings come
some music from their new self-titled album.

to Rick's tonight to sport


Seek plea sure

THURS. 7:00. 9:30
WED. 12:00, 2:20, 4:40, 7:00, 9:30

By Bill Orlove

journalists from such tabloids
as the New York Times and the
Providence Journal. His guitar
work has been described as "alter-
natively fiery and smoky, highflying
and lowdown" and as "a cross
between Jeff Beck and B.B.
King." So who is this guitar vir-
tuoso? It is Michael "Duke"
Robillard, who will be appearing
at Rick's American Cafe on Wed-
nesday night, says that his earliest
guitar heroes were the ones that he
heard during the late 50's. "Chuck
Berry and Duanne Eddy ... and I
always loved the guitar on Buddy
Holly records," he recalled as his
idols in a recent interview. He also
became acquainted with the blues
artists on the Chess label: Muddy
Waters, Sonny Boy, and Little
Walter, to name a few. He convin-
ced his dad that he had to build an
electric guitar for science class and
he has been playing ever since.
His versatile and forceful talrt
was the focal point of the band
Roomful of Blues in which he was
the guitarist and lead vocalist. The
band, with their home in Rhode
Island, played continuously up and
down the East Coast, covering a
wide range of rhythm and blues
material. Robillard incorporated
rnv tulal intn hi suitar nlvingT

sort of keeping something going
rather than progressing with that
band, so I took a chance." Although
the critics and crowds loved Robert
Gordon and His Wildcats, Gordon
decided to rework his material and
put the band on indenfinite hold.
At that point, Robillard wasn't
sure what to do, but he did realize
what Gordon's band had done
towards expanding his own reper-
toire. He remembers, "I was pretty
confused about it at the time and I
went through a period of a couple
months trying to decide what dfirec-
tion I should go in. My idea when I
came out of Robert Gordon was that
I wanted to do a trio, but I didn't
think I had the nerve to try it ... But
actually my bass player Rory
(McLeod), and my manager,
Ronald Martinez, tried to convince
me to try the trio idea and it turned
out to sound really good..."
And so, Duke Robillard and the
Pleasure Kings were formed. With
Thomas Enright on bass (replacing
McLeod) and Tommy DeQuatro on
drums, Robillard has put together a
tight and energetic rock and blues
After a brief stint with the Legen-
dary Blues Band (formerly the
Muddy Waters Blues Band),
Robillard returned back to his own
group. He realized that this. is where
he really belongs. "I feel like the ten
years I spend with Roomful' were

Ann Arbor Civic Theatre presents

High society hijinks

I --r


By Emily Montgomery
Phillip Barry comedy set in the
'30s, opens at the Michigan Theater
tonight at 8 p.m. Directed by Ted
Heusel, the play is being produced by
the Ann Arbor Civic Theater and runs
from tonight through November 5th.
The Philadelphia Story centers on a
high society family, the Lords, during a
time of turmoil - right after the father
of the family has run away with a
showgirl, bringing scandel to the family
name. This happens right before the
eldest daughter, Tracey's wedding. In

order to keep the family's plight out of
the papers, Tracey (played be
Elizabeth Sweifie), agrees to allow her
wedding to be covered by the press.
Things skyrocket from uncomfortable
to unbearable, as Tracey's ex-husband
C.K Dexter Haven shows up on the
scene, in a mockery of upperclass
snootery that only Barry can deliver.
Supporting roles are played by David
Harris as George, Tracey's fiance,
Sandy Hudson as Tracey's mother and
Jennifer Heusel as Tracey's little
sister, Dinah.
Tickets are $6 and are available at
the Michigan Theater box office. Cur-
tain time for all performances is 8 p.m.

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