e Michigan Daily-Thursday, February 14, 1985-Page 7
Street Light tkstheatre otfbud
By Rita Girardi
F OR ANY THEATER company to
produce 20 original plays in one
year is an extraordinary accomplish-
ment. To do it without any kind of
financial backing is almost impossible.
Just ask any stogie-puffing New York
But don't try telling that to the people
at Street Light Theater-because they
did it. Not bad for a group that only has
one candle on its birthday cake.
Street Light, a Univesity of Michigan
theater company, was founded in
January, 1984 by five student
playwrights eager to stage their work.
However, there was little support from
the established university theater
"No one had an interest in doing
student plays on a regular basis," says
Danny Thompson, one of the co-
founders of Street Light and currently
one of its producers.
At 25, Thompson is the oldest in a
company that has over 50 members-10
of them playwrights. Thompson, a
senior studying drama, playwriting,
and film, often strokes his beard as he
talks about the company in a soft voice
that reveals just a touch of a Tennessee
lilt. "It's the best mix of people you can
imagine," he says. "You can describe the
group as bizarre, unique, and very
There are no "stars" or "primadon-
nas" at Street Light. Everyone does a
little of everything-actors write,
writers act and "all the dirty work (is)
shared" explained Thompson referring
to the technical aspects of play produc-
tion. "Tech" work includes everything
from hanging lights to sweeping the
If all this seems to be a far cry from
the glamour of Broadway, it's because
that's the way Street Light wants it.
"We're a minimalist theater," Thom-
pson explains. Productions are usually
staged without any set and sometimes
even without a theater.
"This is the first time all our plays
will be onstage," says Thompson. In
the past, Street Light has performed in
classrooms and hallways. According to
Thompson there are plans for future
productions that will take place out-
doors or even in a parking structure.
Plays that will be produced are selec-
ted by all members of the company
during open readings. "If the group
gets interested they'll get done," says
"The best thing about Street Light is
there are no rules. Everything could
change after the next performance
depending on what the group wants.
It's like a perfect system of anarchy in
its positive sense," he laughs.
Although some of the student-written
works are political in nature, Thom-
pson is careful to point out that Street
Light is a purely artistic effort. "We
don't have a political foundation, a
common political base," he says.
Recently Street Light was officially
recognized by .the University of
Michigan Student Assembly and was
given $200 in funding. Not that that will
make much difference in the way
things are done at Street Light. In fact,
Thompson partially credits the group's
success to its poverty. "I think it's
because we don't have any money that
we're working harder.
And since Street Light isn't out to
make a profit, they do not charge ad-
mission although they do accept $1
donations from those who want to help
support the group. "We definitely don't
want to turn people away with dollar
signs," Thompson says.
Things are always changing at Street
Light and Thompson isn't sure what the
group will be doing next week, much
less next year. "If the need isn't there
then there won't be a theater," Thom-
However, if the need to have a place
for students to exhibit their theatrical
work continues to exist, Thompson is
confident that need will be filled-if not
by Street Light then by some other
group. "The name isn't important," he
says and smiles. For Thompson, as
long as the desire is there Street Light
will be there, if not in fact then in spirit.
Thompson ponders a moment and
then adds, "The best thing we'll be
leaving behind is that people will see
it's possible to do your own play without
A rather idealistic statement-one
that our New York producer would
probably dismiss in the time it takes to
light up a fresh Panatella. But 20 new
Terri Kapsalis picks up cans of fallen vegetables in her Street Light performance.
plays in one year are not that easily
dismissed, not bad for a bunch who
don't even smoke cigars.
The Street Light Theatre will present
all their goodies in an Original Plays
Festival commencing today and ending
on Saturday. The group will stage a
collection of six short farces and
comedies written, directed, and per-
formed by University students. Per-
formances will begin at 8 p.m. at the
Residential College Auditorium in the
East Quadrangle. Admission is free or
Blues legends Jammin'
By Hobey Echlin
There was a time when music was
more than a catchy system of notes
recorded in the hopes of making
someone rich and famous. There was a
time when there was no rock and roll.
There was a time when the emotion and
character of music was determined as
much by the people making it as the
There was a time when music was an
extension of some very real emotion by
some people who just didn't feel right
about life and love, who did something
about it. And for as many names that
come to mind, they all have one thing in
common: the blues. And that time
seems to have passed. Now we pack
concert-halls to see made-up men play-
three chord anthems that every two
year-old can pick up or we worship
screens in discos that show us a world
as plastic as the people who "sing"
about it. Screw "Like a Virgin," I want
some real music. Bring on Buddy Guy
and Junior Wells, the bluesmasters
whose teachers included Muddy Waters
and Sonny Boy Williamson, and the ups
and downs of life.
One of America's only truly unique
forms of music, the blues has been the
most prevalent influence on music
around the world, from the Rolling
Stones to the Violent Femmes. Yet no
one seems to really remember. Hell, if
it weren't for the Blues Brother's, Cab
Calloway would be another forgotten
But some of the legends still remain.
Buddy Guy and Junior Wells are two of
And who are they? Two blues
musicians whose careers span more
musical legends than most people
would ever think possible. Buddy was
born and raised in Baton Rouge and
taught himself guitar. He was a
regular studio musician and close
friend of the late Muddy Waters. He's
been around a while. He's jammed
with Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Keith
Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and even
Neil Schon (maybe there is some hope
for Journey). Buddy and Junior were
filmed playing with the Stones in 1981,
The photograph of WCBN DJ Marc
Taras in yesterdays paper was taken by
Kate O'Leary. Her credit was inadver-
tently left off the photo.
The music of Sun Ra will be played by
arwulf arwulf for the two hours im-
mediately before the bash begins.
Yesterday's article mistakenly in-
dicated that they would be playing live.
In addition, no alcohol will be served at
and RCA is toying with the idea of
releasing it on a video. Buddy's
already on a videodisc with his disciple,
English blues revivalist John Mayall.
His last record with Junior Wells,
released a few years ago featured Bill
Wyman on bass. The record, Drinkin'
TNT and Smokin' Dynamite was recor-
ded in Europe at the Montreux
Festival, and incidentally was released
by Ann Arbor's own Blind Pig Records.
Since that effort, Buddy and Junior
have been touring American blues
clubs leaving awed audiences
Their appearance at the Blind Pig
tonight is a sign that the time I
described earlier may not be gone, at
least not if Buddy and Junior have their
say in it. They've got a whole record,
featuring some twelve-string guitar
work from Buddy, ready to go, if only a
record company executive not to coked-
up with Frankie Goes to Hollywood
would give it a listen.
But as long as companies like Prism
and clubs like the Pig are willing to
bring the legends back, as they did with
Luther Guitar Jr. a few nights ago,
Buddy and Junior are more than willing
to sit back in the smoky haze, after a
heated game of gin rummy and a few
beers, and give you the blues the only
way they know how, from the heart to'
you, good'n real.
~SENISEVEIGS ONL3. I
" NEW TWILIGHT SHOWS
= MON. THRU FRI.
" $2.50 TIL 6 P.M.
with this entire ad $1.00 "
10i 0 off any $4.00'admission.
OFF 1 or 2 tickets. Good all
features thru 2121185. *
ENDS TONIGHTI S
"STRANGER THAN PARADISE" f
Nick Colasanto, who portrays Coach on the prime time sitcom "Cheers"
died last Tuesday of a heart attack in his holiday home.
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