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March 06, 1986 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-06

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The Michigan Daily

Thursday, March 6, 1986

Page 7

A darker side of farce

By Lauren Schreiber
El Presidente Is Not Himself Tomorrow
opens tonight at the Performance Network. Written by
Danny E. Thompson in collaboration with The Street
Light Theater, El Presidente is a farce about
present-day situations in Central America. The comical
play describes the adventures of two Central American
circus clowns/Shakespearean actors, Carlos and Alfonso.
The story takes place in the Banana Republic of San
Guatarico (a mythical country). Also involved in the ac-
tion are such colorful characters as Capitano, in charge of
interrogation and torturing; Juanita, the woman with the
iron teeth; an often alluded to, but never seen American
ambassador; and of course, el Presidente.
Cast member David Isaacson, who plays Capitano, ex-
plains why such a serious issue was written as a farce,
"We wanted people to examine the contradictions in U.S.
foreign policy in Central America. It's also a commentary
on the nature of trying to do serious plays about serious
"I hope the audience will go away laughing, but also
think seriously about the situation. I think it will be a
very controversial play."

Jeff Dorchen, who plays Carlos describes El
Presidente as "complex and exciting." His co-star,
Randy Herman, who plays Alfonso, warns that the piece is
a radical play in every sense.
Though El Presidente does not present a single
political view, there will certainly be members of the
audience who will disagree. "People are going to have to
change their conceptions of what theater is supposed to
be," says Herman in regards to the unusual style of the
El Presidente will be full of action, if anything.
Countless assassination attempts, a shamanistic
spiritraising ceremony, and a 7-piece salsa band onstage
are all a part of the production.
The fifteen members of the cast include University
students and recent graduates, all a part of The Street
Light Theater. This group was originally sponsored by the
Residential College. Founded in 1984, their intention is to
produce original scripts by local playwrights.
El Presidente Is Not Himself Tomorrow
opens tonight at the Performance Network, 408 W.
Washington, and will continue through Sunday. Perfor-
mances begin at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Sunday's per-
formance will be a matinee beginning at 2 p.m.

The Rovers: proving traditional folk can be tamed to make for schmalt-
zey, AM radio fun.
Schmaltze with
an Irish touch
By Joseph Kraus
Their idea is a simple one: good
Your parents probably like The traditional music tamed down for pop
Irish Rovers. audiences, but done well. That for-
mula has served them so well that the
They were the five guys who sang five of them - two brothers, a cousin,
songs like "The Unicorn" and and two of their boyhood friends -
"Wasn't that a Party" and who would have remained at the top of the inter-
set the folks to speaking in poor Irish national "folk music" (in heavy
brogues about "the fair green land" quotation marks) scene for 20 years.
they'd never seen for themselves.
And you probably think you can toss Band leader Will Millar is reputed
The Rovers alongside all the other to be among the corniest of the Irish
schmaltze of two decades ago. jokesters, and the band supposedly
works as a well-oiled comic team
between songs. As with most bands of
But doing so doesn't quite do the their ilk, their appeal is stronger in
band justice. They have been sch- concert than on record.
maltzey for an even 20 years - they
wore matching terry green pullovers
in the '60s and grew their sideburns in To commemorate the current an-
the '70s - but at the same time they niversary tour, the band has released
have remained in touch with the a new single, "Everybody's Makin' it
music and traditions that fuel their Big but Me," by Shel Silverstein who
own pop-folk hybrid. wrote their most famous hit, "The
They continue to emphasize The Rovers haven't changed much
acoustic instruments in a day when since your parents listened to them on
heavy production and synthesizers AM car radios, but if they had.
rule commercial radio. They base something would have been wrong.
their sound around Irish drinking They're still schmaltzey, but they're
song harmonies that emphasize the fun at the same time; and now that
simple and boisterous roots of the you're old enough to fit into green
music. And they tend to perform polyester slacks you're probably old
either traditional songs or songs by enough to see just why your parents
modern writers in traditional styles. get such a kick out of them.
Most notably they have recorded The Rovers play at Hill Auditorium
Ewan McColl's "The Life of the tomorrow at. 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.50
Rover" as well as "Bottle of Wine" and $10 and are available at the Union
and "Wasn't that a Party" by Tom and all Ticket World Outlets in advan-
Paxton. ce-
this su ,mmer.
June 23-August 15, 1986
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Record s

Robin and Linda Williams Big Black - I 1
- Nine 'til Midnight (Flying (Homestead Records)
Fish) n:_ I..ir

musical personality of outspoken
Duce Chicagoan Steve Albini and this here
"single "Il Duce" is his/their fourth
release available for mass consum-
rigaging See RECORDS, page 8

Big Black is the hefty and ei

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Harmonies are supposed to relieve
tension. They're supposed to pun-
ctuate a line like . . . good night
Irene, I'll see you in my dreams ...
Husband and wife team Robin and
Linda Williams don't agree.
With a vocal style vaguely
reminiscent of Richard and Mimi
Farina they sustain and even create
tension in their harmonies. Mingling
that style with Peter Ostroushko's
airy fiddle accompaniment, they offer
an intriguing country-folk hybrid.
The result is a surprisingly dif--
ficult album. It's easy to mistake
such harmonic hijinks for sloppiness,
and it's no criticism of the album to
say that it loses its effectiveness when
it isn't listened to closely. This is
serious music, not for the
Yet, the Williams are jokers them-
selves. Their songs tend to concern
lighthearted subjects like "I'M
S.A.V.E.D." or to treat serious sub-
jects lightly as they do in "Travelin'
Shoes." The live tracks further show
them to be laughing with their
The finest single song on the album
is an original co-written by Robin and
Jerome Clark called "They All Faded
Away." From its lyrics to its in-
strumental arrangement to its vocals
it depicts a lost childhood romance in
such the haunting fashion that shows
the band at its very finest.
The Williams are definitely on to
something here, and since they are
Ark regulars there's every reason to
check out this album. Be prepared to
work at listening to it, but be prepared
to grow to love it too.
- Joseph Kraus

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