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November 11, 1987 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-11-11

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Wednesday, November 11, 1987

The Michigan Daily








By Jennifer Kohn
Bertolt Brecht's conception of the
"Lehrstuck," the learning play, does
not allow the viewer to leave with
the simplistic self-satisfaction gained
in the common theatre. The perfor-
mance itself leaves the audience with
a sense of confusion.
The Brecht Company's Embrac-
ing the Butcher is successful o n
these terms. Viewing the plays,
"The Measures Taken" and "Mau-
ser," requires post-production con-
sideration, if not introspection, on
the part of the audience. Through
these works of Bertolt Brecht and
Heiner M(iller, Embracing the
Butcher emphasizes the subjuga-
tion of the individual's emotion to a
more powerful collective force.
Brecht Company Dramaturge
Martin Walsh explains this in the
production's program. "Soon after
its premiere in Berlin in 1930,
Brecht and his composer/collab-
orator, Hans Eisler, withdrew 'The
Measures Taken' from public per-
formance, insisting that the piece
was strictly for the production and
consumption of the performers
themselves." For this very reason,
the audience is compelled to intel-
lectually participate in the play.

The play presents an account of
the liquidation of a comrade as told
by four agitators to their Control
Chorus. The agitators were sent by
the Control Chorus (the purveyors
of a Party Doctrine) to raise the col-
lective conscience of the Chinese
downtrodden. They had accepted the
assistance of a young comrade, who
later betrayed the party doctrine and
was subsequently annihilated.
Since Brecht envisioned a cast
rotation, such that each actor might
play each role, no individual can
gain prominence. The play also di-
vides the actors into two factions,
each reciting lines in unison
throughout much of the production.
Turns are taken reciting these lines
only among the four agitators, as
each actor portrays the comrade in a
different scene. Director Bob Brown
suggests that even this casting is ar-
bitrary and would perhaps rotate dur-
ing the course of the season.
The musical accompaniment to
"The Measures Taken" is beautiful
in its quality and unity. The music's
consistency, in contrast to the vari-
ance created by the portrayal of the
comrade, creates a powerful schism
between the individual and the com-
munity, achieved without the real-
ism or formality of conventional
Miller's "Mauser" complements

puterized music, the driving force
which holds together the chorus's
unity. Even as Stanton and his
computer are situated on the stage,
he merely presses buttons and obeys
his own command with the rest of
the chorus.
"Mauser" was written with the
potential to be cast in the same ro-
tating style as "The Measures
Taken." Again, the Brecht Company
chose to delegate the role of A. to an
individual. Ironically, Montgomery
is the strongest individual force
within the program, providing depth
and development to the role of a
failing computer. What is most dif-
ficult about his being cast in this
role, is that the production would be
more satisfying if his role had ro-
If you still can't grasp the scope
of Embracing the Butcher, your
confusion was not unanticipated by-
the Brecht Company. Each perfor-
mance is followed by a discussion
period in which the directors, cast,
and distinguished panelists discuss
the themes of the play, Brechtian
thought and theatre, and production.
Guest Panelists include Village
Voice Theatre Critic Alisa Solomon;
Carl Weber, a former member of
Brecht's own company, The Berliner
Ensemble, and the translator of
"Mauser"; Herbert Blau, a foremost

practitioner and theorist of American
avant garde theatre; and Walter
Bilderback, dramaturge with La Jolla
Playhouse and Center Stage in BM-
Moreover, texts of the plays are
available for spectators and the cast
will "replay" and "retool" the
production. The Brecht Company
uses this means for the viewers and
the actors to further participate in
their learning processes. By "re-
tooling," the actors play a scene,
each assuming a different role,
changing the emotions expressed as
they perform their roles, and ques-
tioning different suppositions about
how "The Chorus" would present it-
self in response to dissention.
All are encouraged to see The
Brecht Company's fall production,
and stay for the discussion afterward.
Not only does it offer a compelling
concept for the audience to wrestle,
it incorporates the most progressive
use of the stage in Ann Arbor
will be performed tomorrow, Friday,
and Saturday night at 8 p.m. and
Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Residential
College Auditorium in East Quad.
Performances will continue the fol-
lowing Thursday through Sunday.
Tickets are $7, $5 for students and
senior citizens.

Dan Montgomery in the Brecht Company's 'Mauser,' one of
two plays that make up 'Embracking the Butcher."

"The Measures Taken" as it unfolds
the suggested potential. A. (Daniel
Montgomery) is the killing machine
who can kill no more and is thus

implored to take his own life.
Muller plays off of Brecht's
power of the collective, which is re-
inforced by Geoffrey Stanton's com-


Vienna String Trio

has an enga

By Ari Schneider
Earlier this semester, Leonard
Bernstein lead the Vienna
Philharmonic in two very mem-
orable performances. One aspect
which made these performances so
inspiring and virtuosic was the
solid playing of the string sections.
Similar to the Vienna Phil-
harmonic, the Vienna Symphony
Orchestra has established a tradition
of excellence in its string sections.
The principals of the first violin,
viola, and cello sections have
fortunately come together to form
the group appropriately called the
Vienna String Trio, thereby
allowing patrons and fans of the
"Vienna sound" to hear the masters
who helped lead and create this
precise and expressive style.
The musicians who make up the
Vienna String Trio include violinist
Jan Pospichal, violist Wolfgang
Klos, and cellist Wilfred Rehm.
Pospichal has studied at the
prestigious Prague Conservatory as
well as with master teachers such as
Due to insufficient.space, we were
forced to cancel 'Cinecism' this
week. Look for it again next
$69 per person
U 9group rate
Includes: 2 nights lodging
& day and night skiing
Friday thru Sunday.
22 slopes, NASTAR, free
beginners lesson, XC skiing
with lighted night trail,
movies, entertainment,
heated outdoor pool.
Group rates apply with 20
or more-special savings for
group organizers.
Packages with meals, from

Nathan Milstein and Franz
Samohyl. Before becoming con-
certmaster of the Vienna
Philharmonic Orchestra in 1979, he
won first prizes in competitions
such as the coveted Mozart
Competition in Salzburg.
Moreover, Klos has studied at
the Vienna Academy of Music with
the great pedagogue Hatto Bayerle,
as well as with Bruno Giuranna and
Ulrich Koch. After graduating from
the Academy with honors in 1977,
he immediately became principal
violist of the Tonhalle Orchestra in
Zurich and began teaching at the

Conservatory in Bregenz in 1978.
Klos became first violist with -the
Vienna Symphony Orchestra in
1981 and switched to teaching at
his alma mater in 1985.
Furthermore, Rehm has studied
with Hans Thomann at the Music
Conservatory in Winterthur, Swit-
zerland, and Richard Reichardt at the
Music Academy in Munich.
Between 1963 and 1967, he worked
with Pierre Fournier in Geneva, and
in 1967 became first cellist in the
Zurich Radio Orchestra. Since
1972, Rehm has been the principal
cellist the Vienna Symphony

In addition to allowing the
audience to hear its mastery of the
string instruments, the main
purpose of The Vienna String Trio
is to allow the musician to play
varied literature for this com-
bination of instruments. Tonight's
program exemplifies this. It
includes Franz Joseph Haydn's Trio
in G major, Op. 53, No. 1 (1784),
Ernst von Dohnanyi'sSeranade in
C major, Op. 10 (1902), and
Ludwig van Beethoven's Trio in G

ging program
major, Op. 9, No.1 (1793). is a national significance to
Hadyn's rarely played piece is Dohnanyi's work, Beethoven's
identical with the piano sonata of work reveals what Beethoven
the same key and opus number. authority Donald Francis Tovey
Although the piano work is called "among the greatest works of
enjoyable, the string version gains (Beethoven's) first period."
significance and depth through the
more colorful part writing. While THE VIENNA STRING TRIO
Haydn's work has its origins in the l VNN STRING RIO
divertimento, Dohnanyi's work, plays tonight at 8 p.m. in Rackham
which was composed in London and Auditorium. Tickets are $14, $12,
Vienna, is probably the most and $10 and are available at Burton
noteworthy Hungarian work from Tower.Call 764-2538 for more
the turn of the century. Just as there information.

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