Ti Michigan Daily
Thursday, April 2, 1987
'Machine' opens to night
By Lauren Schreiber
"Abstracted distractions" is the
phrase coined by director Mikell
Pinkney to describe the upcoming
University Players' production of
The Adding Machine. An ex -
pressionist play by Elmer Rice, the
story concerns Mr. Zero, the
American Everyman. On the
twenty-fifth anniversary of his job,
expecting gifts and honor, he
instead discovers he is to be re -
placed by an adding machine. The
remainder of the play deals with
Mr. Zero's role as a victim of his
Although the play was written
in 1922, it's statement about the
human condition is as relevant in
today's computer age as it was dur -
ing the industrial era of the twen -
ties. Highly abstracted, the play is
not confined to any particular time
nor place. Distortions of everyday
reality allow the audience to ob -
serve that which we often take for
Sticking close to the original
text, director Pinkney has chosen to
develop the expressionist aspects of
the production primarily through
visual expression. Abstracted cos -
tumes, scenery, props, and make-up
create an environment where themes
can be developed outside the realm
of everyday experience. Along with
the design aspect, Pinkney has tried
to develop a distorted presentation
of the characters themselves.
"Expressionism is a means by
which we can be both artistic and
subjective," says Pinkney. The
Adding Machine, though bizarre
and unusual in its approach, pre -
sents us with the very real idea that
there is perhaps something wrong
with our society- a society where
human work is replaced by ma -
chines and people don't think for
themselves. Pinkney explains,
"Society must begin to think, not
be a follower."
Performed by the University
Players, the cast features under -
graduate theatre students. Miknell
Pinkney is a graduate of the Uni -
versity Department of Theatre and
Drama. Though currently based in
New York, he has recently been
active in the Detroit area. An orig -
inal score has been composed for
the production by Andrew Lippa, a
School of Music student at the
The Adding Machine opens
tonight at the Trueblood Theatre in
the Frieze Building and continues
through Sunday. Performances
begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday and
Friday, 5 and 9 p.m. on Saturday,
and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are
$5 ($3 for students) and are
available at the Michigan League
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'ITe Adding Machine': A modern-day 'Everyman.'
ARE A GREAT
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Ta] Mahal takes stage by storm tonight
Continued from Previous Page
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By Alan Paul
At last January's Ann Arbor
Folk Festival, Taj Mahal walked
slowly onto the Hill Auditorium
stage, sat down at his piano with a
wave to the packed house, and
proceeded to blow the audience out
of their seats.
What an immense talent and
engaging personality to stand alone
in front of 4,100 people and not
only entertain them, but actually
sweep the crowd away.
. Mahal plays with a skill and sin -
cerity rarely matched, whether
fingepicking country blues on the
guitar, stomping out a blues stan -
dard on the piano, or performing in
one of the numerous international
styles, from, calypso and reggae to
-West African polyrythms, with
which he has experimented.
Mahal returns to Ann Arbor to -
night for two shows at the Ark.
While it is almost impossible to
predict exactly what type of music
he will perform, it is easy to predict
the results. The shows will be
good, very good.
Taj Mahal became the highlight
of an excellent Folk Festival lineup
with ease, effortlessly producing
soulfully pure music. What he
might do in the cozy confines of
the Ark is frightening, as he has the.
opportunity tor make sure no one in
the audience remains uncaptivated.
Mahal has been on the scene
since 1965 when, after receiving a
degree in animal husbandry from
the University of Massachusets, he
moved to Los Angeles and began
playing country blues in folk clubs.
Mahal played an active role in
the folk and blues revival of the
'60s, recording twelve major label
albums over a 14 year period.
Each album showed Mahal
venturing into various ethnic,
mostly black, musics as well as
experimenting with various instru -
mental backings. He recorded with
blues bands, tuba sections, and his
own bottleneck guitars. He also
worked on two B.B. King albums,
contributing to that blues giant's
own musical expansion..
In the early 70s, angered by
watching various musical friends
die tragically or become financially
lazy and depenendent on record corn -
panies, Mahal took control of his
own business affairs. He has been
bucking the musical establishment
"Everybody was laying back
getting fat from the big record
companies promoting them," Ma -
hal once said, "and the musicians
didn't learn how to be econom -
ical- they learned how to be
dependent on their record company.
I wasn't getting the full thrust of ,
the record company promotion
thing, so I had to learn how to be
After recording prolifically for
over a decade, in 1981 Mahal took a
five year recording hiatus because
he felt restricted by his Warner
Brothers contracts. He spent much
of the time on a South Pacific
island, emerging this winter with
Taj on Grammavision Records.
Mahal again surprised many by
employing state of the art recording
techniques to reggae and POP songs.
Thus it's hard to say just what
Mahal will play at tonight's show
but it surely will be guided by his
professionalism, huge ego, and
talent and sincerity.
-Taj Mahal will play two shows,
at 7:30 and 10:00 at the Ark, 637
1/2 Main Street. Tickets are $9.50
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"Lending a Helping Hand"
Informal discussion and handouts on suicide, the feelings
brought up by recent campus events and skills for helping a
April 2nd, 7-9 pm, 3100 Mich. Union
Call 76-GUIDE for info
.... ... f F'r
Free Oral Exam
9am to 4pm
Ages 3 and up
For more info call
764-1516 between 9-11:30am
and 1-4pm, or simply walk-in
the day of tlic event