The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 1, 1984 - Page 7
Tragedy strikes in 'Stockyards'
By Emily Montgomery
W HEN A theatrical troupe limits
itself to one playwright, one sen-
ses a certain respect. The Brecht Com-
pany, devoted to performing only the
works of Bertolt Brecht, hopes to con-
vey that respect tonight in their per-
formance of Brecht's tragedy, St. Joan
of the Stockyards.
This show will be the Brecht Com-
pany's third production since their
regrouping last fall. Recent perfor-
mances by the troupe include the
comedy, Man's a Man and a Christmas
play, The Business of Good Gover-
nment. Both productions, despite their
admittedly limited commercial appeal,
had largely satisfied attending audien-
ces and enjoyed a number of positive
reviews from local critics.
St. Joan of the Stockyards, a play
which Director Bob Brown calls "an
ironic tragedy, in the grand style, about
meat, money, God and guilt," concerns
itself with the meat packing industry
during a downswing in the economy.
The main character is Joan Dark, a
member of a sort of Salvation Army-
style relief group- attempting to ap-
pease the growing number of unem-
ployed with soup and spiritual songs.
The plot focuses on Dark's realization
of the failure of charity to compensate
in the absense of big business.
The role of Dark will be portrayed by
Liz Harrel, who has previously perfor-
med in the 1979 Brecht Co. production of
Puntilla and His Hired Man. Professor
Martin Walsh, one of the founders of
Brecht Co., who has been in a number
of the ensemble's previous shows, in-
cluding a delightful protrayal of Uriah
Shelley in Man's a Man, is cast as the
other lead. His character, king of the
meat industry, yet benevolent in
nature, is appropriately named Pier-
Company members in other major
roles are Dominque Lowell, Blake Rat-
cliffe, and Jeff Wine. Geoffrey Stanton,
of the University School of Music, will
provide an originally composed
musical score for the show.
Brecht wrote St. Joan in iambic pen-
tameter form (five measures to a line).
The result of this, according to Brown,
"is a play of great lyrical beauty, but
with meaning for a real contemporary
audience, that earns real contemporary
money and spends it on real contem-
Performances of St. Joan of the
Stockyard will be Thursday-Saturday
at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., this
week and next. The Residential College
Auditorium in East Quad. Tickets $5.
For more information, call 764-7390.
... meaty misery
S AwA. a iobn ay . 71-9700
$2.00 SHOWS BEFORE 6:00 P.M.
DAILY 1 P.M. SHOWS MON. THRU FRI.
ACADEMY AWARD NOM.
INCL. BEST PICTURE
THURS., FRI. 1:00, 7:00, 9:25
Elliot Carter performs original composition at Rackham Auditorium this
By Paul Hodgins
and Anne Valdespino
A TONALITY IS "A stultifying in-
tellectual poverty." Minimalism is
repetitive, and "repetition is a
deadening thing." Neoclassicism is like
holding "a masquerade in a bomb
shelter." These are the words of Elliot
Carter, one of America's most
honored living composers, will be in Ann
Arbor until March 3 as special guest of
the University's School of Music. A
week -long festival of lectures, panel
discussions, and open rehearsals will
culminate with concerts tonight and
Saturday, which span more than 40
years of his creative output.
Carter considers himself a moder-
nist. Pieces like Schoenberg's Erwar-
tuns and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring are
.important to him because they attempt
to express the unknown terrain of the
subconscious. "They abandoned
traditional musical languages and
found a new, fresh idiom. Later this
music became more academic, more
stereotyped. Then xI wasn't interested
anymore," Cater said.
Carter has developed a style that
many call a new musical language. An
important element of this language is
rhythm. He finds much inspiration in
the music of Charles Ives and Conlon
Nancarrow, two American innovators
who exploited the concept of the
Carter is also fascinated with
Balinese and Indian music, as well as
jazz. A native New Yorker who ex-
perienced bebop of the '40s firsthand,
Carter was particularly impressed with
the music of Charlie Parker and Bud
Night Fantasies, a work that was
considered unplayable when it was
initially published, will be performed
Friday. Charles Rosen, renowned
musical authority and virtuoso who
helped commission the piece, has dub-
bed it "the greatest piano composition
Pianist Robert Conway, doctoral
candidate at the University School of
Music, had the opportunity to rehearse
Night Fantasies with Carter last week
in preparation for tonight's concert.
Conway describes Carter as a "delight
to work with.. He always knows exactly
what he wants."
Friday's concert will include a short
discussion with the composer during in-
termission. The centerpiece of Satur-
day's concert will be the technically dif-
ficult and seldom performed Syringa; a
simultaneous setting of a poem by John
Ashberry and several ancient Greek
texts. Syringa will feature mezzo
soprano Julia Pedigo and bass Stephan
Morscheck, two young singers who
received national acclaim for their por-
trayals of Baba the Turk and Nick
Shadow, respectively, in last year's
Altman production of The Rake's
Admission to both concerts in
Rackham Auditorium is free.
201 E. Washington at Fourth
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1 to Serve You
Wire Train-' ..in a
I remember when many of my fave
bands admitted in interviews that their
membership was comprised either en-
tirely, or mostly, of art school dropouts.
"Boy," I thought, "this must mean
something! The true melding of art and
music into one unified concept!"
However, it was Colin Newman, lead
vocalist of the late and sorely lamented
Wire, who went one step further in the
bean-spilling by adding that the only
reason he and his mates were in art
school to begin with was because they
In the case of Newman and Wire,
their "laziness" was easily dismissed
since Wire is arguably the best "art"
Semi-namesakes Wire Train are not
as inspired to explore the frontiers of
rock music as their British com-
patriates were. Instead, this San Fran-
cisco foursome rely on old tricks ob-
viously lifted from contemporaries and
other sources to bring us ...in a cham-
ber, definite proof of art school
Wire Train are signed to 415 Records,
which since its inception some years
back, has been a good base for finding
out about new and worthy music.
The staff producer at 415 is a fellow
named David Kahne, whose ear for
sound has solidified since he first
produced Pearl Harbour and the Ex-
plosions some years back. Kahne has
helped shape a lot of the music coming
from the West, but is associated most
strongly with Translator, to such an ex-
tent that the members of that group
consider Kahne to be an invisible fifth
The work Kahne has done with his
other "clients" has been diverse and
individualistic, with the clarity and
bright ambience associated with his
production applied with the music, as
opposed to to it; in other words, those
other groups still managed to retain
their own sound.
This is not the case with Wire Train.
...in a chamber is a pretentious, unin-
pired and dull album. The packaging is
artsy, the musicianship bland. Kevin
Hunter's vocals are constantly tinged
ALL MERCHANDISE I
WITH THIS COUPON I
(Except sole items) 1
m m -- m m m w - im m
with pseudo-British twang, but aside
from that fakery, there is little emotion
or verve in his delivery. The first cut,
"I'll Do You," is breezy-enough pop,
and probably the best, least affected
cut on ...in a chamber. But there's
nothing special about it.
"Everything's Turning Up Down
Again" erases the Englishness with a
properly psychedelic bit of guitar
distortion at its opening. It works up to
a choo-choo-like pace, with the chorus
echosing Translator to a "T" (uninten-
tional but qualified pun).
Side two fares even more poorly.
"Chamber of Hellos," the kind-of title
tune, sounds like Carlos Montoya meets
the Turtles gone beserk.
"Slow Down" is stand-outish merely
for its ominous reggae-isms, and also
since it's probably the only song on ...in
a chamber with a more languid pace
(which is great by this time - so fart
everything has been keyed to the same
rhythm). The last three songs, "She's
On Fire," "I Gotta Go" (me, too!), and
"Love Against Me," are fairly inter-
changeable, fast-paced songs, formed
around tired heavy metal riffs and
The most I can say for Wire Train is
that their name is true to the nature of
their music: Silly-sounding, borrowing
heavily from other sources (striving for
the artiness of Wire, sounding like
Translator II), and all contingent on
that same beat - chug-a-chug-a-
chug-a-chug-a-chug-a . . . Sym-
bolically, it reminds me of an old story
"The Little Train That Could."
But in this case, I would have to
change the title a little bit: "The Little
Train That Couldn't." - Larry Dean
DANNY ROSE .
THURS., FRI..1:00, 7:20, 9:35
Ann Arbor News
" NO WAITING
UNITED CAMPUSES TO
PREVENT NUCLEAR WAR (UCAM)
UM Chapter Organizational Meeting
Thursday, March 1, 8:00 p.m.
Pond Room C, Michigan Union
Come help organize a day of student peace
activities to be held on April 10th
in conjunction with an evening
HOLLY NEAR CONCERT!
For more information call 663-2027
Liberty off State.
Electrical Engineers &
CALL YOUR FRIENDS!
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Talk to our on-campus representative
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Interview Date: March 20, 1984
Sign up at: Engineering Placement
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