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September 13, 1984 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-09-13

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Thursday, September 13, 1984


The Michigan Daily

Page 5


Caberet to set sail at

The Quad

By Emily Montgomery
When was the last time you spent
some time with the crew aboard,
the sinking Titanic?
Unless you'ye lead an extremely
peculiar existence, probably never,
right? Well the Brecht Company is of-
fering the opportunity to all brave souls
tomorrow night with the opening of
their latest production, The Titanic
This production marks a change for
the ensemble in many ways, the first
being a change in playwrights. Up until
now the company has devoted itself
almost entirely to the works of Bertolt
Brecht. Titanic Cabaret is an
original work written in the Brecht
tradition, by company members Blake
Ratcliffe and Jeff Wine.
Another change is in the location. In-
stead of the usual stage-house setting,
the play will be performed in East
Quad's Half-way Inn to help create the
feeling of being in a dining/entertain-
ment room on the luxury liner. A cash
bar will be operating before and
throughout the performance,- to add to
the atmosphere.
"We're taking the ideas of Brecht and
pushing them further than, from all I
know, he ever even pushed them," ex-
plained Ratcliffe, in reference to the

idea that the audience will actually be
sitting in and around the "stage" of the
Bertolt Brecht is known for produc-
tions which were designed to evoke
audience participation. The Brecht
Company plans to take that one step
further with this play. "They will feel
like they are actually part of the
passengers aboard the Titanic," Rat-
cliffe said.
On the direction end, still another
change has been made. Jeff Wine, who
played the lead in A Man's a Man last
fall, steps off-stage and into the Direc-
tors chair for Titanic - a position
held solely by the company's Artistic
Director, Bob Brown, for all previous
productions. The, direction style,
however, has stayed consistant with the
Brecht idea of improvisation.
"The cast is so talented," Wine said.
"I gave them ideas and they would just
make them bloom. Then they would
give us ideas and Blake and I would go
home and incorporate them into the
The main conflict of "Titanic

Cabaret" (besides the vessel's certain
submersion) revolves around a bet
made between the Vaudville show's
emcee William Steale (a take-off from
William Stead, a passenger aboard the
real Titanic), and Colonel John Jacob
Astor (Matt Tamlanovich), who was an
owner of the, Titanic. The bet entails
whether or not Astor will laugh by the
end of the cabaret show. If he does,
Steale gets to keep the low rent lease on
his Vaudeville theater - back in New
York - to which Astor is the landlord.
And if Astor does not laugh, Astor will
be entitled to raise the rent.
A five-piece ragtime band will add to
the excitement, playing all original
numbers which were composed by Paul
Hodgins, a former University Music
School student.
There will be two performances, held
7:30 and 10:30 nightly, on Friday and
Saturday of this weekend and next,
Sept. 14, 15, 21, and 22. General Ad-
mission is $4 and $3 for students and
seniors. The "Halfway Inn" is located
at 710 Church St. For reservations or
more information call 995-0532.

Aaron Alpern and Jeff Dorchin play Spike and Mike, the Vaudevilleans in 'Titantic Caberet.' The play will be perfor-
med at the Halfway Inn in East Quad beginning September 14.


The MSA will be interviewing for positions for its
Budget Priorities Committee reviews, allocates and facilitates the funding of
group events and projects. The Committee meets on a regular basis monthly
and on an as needed basis.
Applications available at 3909 Michigan Union
MONDAY, SEPT. 17, 1984 - 5:00 P.M.
for further information, contact Laurie Clement or Marc Wernick, 3909 Michigan Union-763-3241

Passion Puppets, "Beyond
the Pale"(Stiff/MCA)
Ye Classic Dupe #5 is putting the good
song (or songs, if lucky) at the begin-
ning of an album; hopefully somebody
will get suckered into- buying before
finding out that the rest is sub-bad.
Such, is the case with the Passion
Puppets' first stateside release, the
album Beyond the Pale. The opener,
"Like Dust," while far from great, has
an agreeably hard edge, is melodic as
hell, and has an agreeably unpretty
lead vocal.
Hard pop of a commercial-enough-
for-FM but against-your-better-
judgement nature, it promises a lot.
,The second track, "Overland," has an
equally Bigtime Production quality
that leads to suspicion; but here again
there's a solid hardpop sensibility, with
gorgeous sweeping choruses and quirky
intonation on them-oh-vah-la-hand.
Oh man! Can this be that rare thing,
the indifferently-marketed, untalked-
-about major-label release that really
good ?
So much for idle hope., The rest of
Beyond the Pale is a progressive slink
toward instructive mediocrity, into the
Land of a Thousand Derivations; proof
at last that the- U.K. has as many
slick/boring pseudo-wave bands as the
Passion Puppets are the sort of band
who get signed because they sound just
enough like each last-year's sensation
to offer a vague hope of big sales-the
misfortune is, of course, that they don't
sound enough like themselves to create
an identity, and their songs sound like
all the ones you forgot on better albums
by other bands.
There are echoes here of The Tear-
drop Explodes, of everybody and their
brother's band elsewhere. They have
their de rigeur sensitive songs and their
} rock-me-to-death-wave songs.
They have those appropriate haircuts
and cute British boy looks, as evidenced
by the cover art. They have their oc-
casional clever line ("Someone's inside
'my head/That I don't know"), but
mostly they sing about Love, as usual.
(Quoted, shamelessly, on the back
cover: "... But you're not alone/We're
Wall inside like you/And if you want you
know/ That we can break out to/Paint it
red for fear-/Fear of being touched.")
They play crisply enough, with vocals
(by Ray Burmiston) that are, if not par-
ticularly inspired, at least not
facelessly pretty-boy Brit pop. And
they're produced (by Peter Walsh and
Roger Becherian) so cleanly (with a

supporting cast of thousands on sax,
flute, violin, et. al.) that you could (and
should) eat potato salad off the disk
without fear.
Unfortunately, there's nothing but
innocuous cliche underneath all the
gloss after the first two likeable
song-various -forms of pretty
boredom. The Passion Puppets, like so
many major-label debutantes, have
5th Ave ot iberty 701-9700
THURS. 1:00, 7:30, 9:40
FR. 1:00, 7:30, 9:40, 11:30 P.M.
at 1:00, 7:15, 9:15

been taught to use the studio well-they
certainly sound OK, as long as you're
not listening very closely.
The moment you begin to pay atten-
tion, it turns into the Reader's Digest
Condensed History of New Wave Ban-
ds-faceless songs trying to steal an
identity piecemeal from a Rolodex of

One hates to write off a band that
demonstrates (if only for a few
minutes) some talent, but the Passion
Puppets so far justify only claim to
puppetry; there's very little passion to
be found on Beyond the Pale.
-Dennis Harvey


-Sheila Benson, L.A. Times
-Judith Crist, WOR-TV
Dino Lalli, KNBC Channel 4 News
He m0ht hear yu P
. 1:00, 7:10,9:20,11:1SP.M.

Students! Work Smart.
Work Simply..With, Hewlett-Packard.
Take a good look at your class schedule.


S ****************************************************
49 *
Production Staff Positions Available:
nmCIDTnn o Q nTi:-IIlMID *

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