The Michigan Daily
By Cathy Shap
The Real Thing, written by the
highly acclaimed English playwright
Tom Stoppard, opened last night at
Mendelssohn Theatre and will run
through Saturday at the Ann Arbor
Civic Theatre under the Direction of
Stoppard is best known for his
award winning play, Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern Are Dead, in which the
two main characters, takeoffs from
the courtiers of Shakespeare's Ham-
let , find themselves helpless in a
Thursday, November 19, 1987
different time and place, playing a
no-win match of verbal tennis.
The Real Thing was first per-
formed in the United States in 1984
when it won the Broadway Tony
Award for Best Play of The Year,
starring Glenn Close and Jeremy
The Real Thing explores the fine
lines and complications that exist
between the face value of things (the
theatre, love, people) and the under-
lying truth. Stoppard is known for
his highly intellectual and witty dia-
logue, and in The Real Thing , it is
through words that the characters
must fight to learn what's real and
worth fighting to keep.
The play is' also about writing
and the playwright's struggle to
"say" what he feels on paper without
changing the words. On the surface,
the play is a story of love, marriage,
and infidelity. But Stoppard frames
these basic themes brilliantly within
the artifice of theatre; it is a play
within a play, within a play...
The cast of The Real Thing in-
cludes Ann Arbor residents who have
previously been involved with Civic
Theatre productions. Stephen Hill
(Henry) has performed within the
chorus of the Gillbert and Sullivan
Show. Susan Morseth (Annie) has
performed in a number of Civic pro-
ductions including Angel's Fall and
A Romantic Comedy . Kari Mason
(Debbie), a theatre major from East-
ern Michigan University has
performed in Crime's of The Heart
and The Skin of our Teeth, to name
a few. David Andrews (Billy) has
performed in The Dining Room and
Skin of our Teeth and Aydin
Bengisu (Brodie) has also been an
active member with the theatre.
First time appearances with the
Civic Theatre are given by Rick
Green (Max) and Leela Wood
(Charlotte), a new resident in Ann
Arbor from The California Institute
Rich Evans, the set designer for
The Real Thing , sets the play on a
raked stage, which slopes from the
back to front, in order to increase the
feeling of questionable reality. Other
than the changes of staging within
the play the theatre is presenting the
play true to Stoppard's context. The
play is English and the actors will
maintain British accents and other*
aspects of English society.
According to Donna Jean Ward,
assistant director of The Real Thing,
"The play is a valuable theatrical
experience. Stoppard had a lot to say
and he says it well."
THE REAL THING will run
tonight through Saturday at 8 p.m.
Ticket are $9 for tonight's perfor-
mance and $10 for tomorrow and
Saturday's performance. There will
be a matinee performance at 2 p.m.
Saturday. Tickets are $8.
colorful British sounds
By V. J. Beauchamp
Dear reader: draw close if you like
British traditional music. Draw close
if you love a cappella harmony
singing. If you know and love
Martin Carthy. If you like relaxed,
intense pub-singing, the likes of
which you have probably ne'er seen
in these parts (at least in the last five
years!). If you like a good time. The
great legendary Yorkshire singing
family, the Watersons, returns to the
The Watersons are Everything
we've already mentioned. They orig-
inate from Hull, a village in York-
shire, where, being siblings, they all
grew up together. Actually, only
Norma, Elaine (better known as
Lal), and Mike Waterson are sib-
lings; but everyone in the group is
When the Watersons began their
recording career in 1964 with Frost
and Fire (Topic), they sang with
cousin John Harrison. No one was
prepared for their success. While
American traditional songs were en-
joying a British revival, no one was
singing their English equivalent.
Mike Waterson, in an interview in
August 1986 with the excellent
British monthly, Folk Roots, said,
"We went down to the library, and
the library was full of books of folk
music. Nobody had touched folk for
years. It was all collected, and there
was this great first flush of 'the Re-
viva'... and then it was all forgot-
Not that the Watersons are dry
musicologists; they aren't, but they
are a family that sings together and
enjoys collecting songs. They con-
centrate on the songs of Yorkshire,
though they've been known to col-
lect other British songs, as well. In
their '60s heydey they, and Martin
Carthy, were the definition of En-
glish traditional song. The early tra-
ditional influences of folk-rock out-
fits like Fairport Convention and
Steeleye Span were the Watersons.
(Carthy, of course, was in on early
Steeleye sessions, too)
At one point in 1967, they all
grew tired of touring, and quit. But
by the early '70s, the Waterson sib-
lings and their spouses all found
themselves back at the family farm.
And not surprisingly, there was
There have been some fine al-
bums between then and now: several
joint and solo outings, and three al-
bums featuring the three siblings,
and Norma Waterson's new husband,
Martin Carthy, all (with the excep-
tion of Mike & Lal Waterson's
Bright Phoebus on Trailer Records)
released by Topic.
This year's lineup includes Mar-
tin Carthy, Norma, Lal, and Mike
Waterson, and Mike Waterson's
daughter Rachel. In a review of Billy
Bragg's Folk Night at the Institute
of Contemporary Arts in London,
Stella Washburn commented in the
March 1986 Folk Roots,"(the audi-
ence was) probably fairly shell-
shocked by the time Billy introduced
the Watersons. What were they go-
ing to make of an unaccompanied
quartet that included three people old
enough to be their parents, one of
whom actually sang (shock! horror!)
with his finger in his ear? !...They
took the place by storm."
Alas, it's true. If you have any
doubts, seeing them is proof posi-
tive 'that traditional music, done
right, can blow your socks off as
well as any modern band. The Wa-
tersons are the Beatles of a cappella
English trad, so get there early. 8,
pm, the Ark. Tickets are $8.50, and
$7.50 for members and students.
The legendary Yorkshire singing family, the Watersons, perform British a cappella at the Ark tonight.
Improv from the
By Alyssa Lustigman
Improvisation - the act of im-
Improvise - extemporize.
Extemporize - improvise.
Whatever Webster says.
Evan Gore, a member of the im-
prov group known as Second City,
says his definition of improvisation
is "where actors create the material
One of the two Second City
touring companies will be coming
to the Michigan Theater this Satur-
day. The troup will be performing a
sort of pseudo-improvisational act,
The Best of Second City.
The selection of scenes haven't
been done in Ann Arbor yet, says
Gore, adding that they are updated
every six months. Some scenes are
as old as 15 years, some are as new
as a few months.
The nearest the troupe (which
consists of six actors and one piano
player) will come to true improvisa-
tion in their Ann Arbor performance
is in a series of improv games,
where the actors come before the au-
dience and take their suggestions on
a certain topic.
"For example, the audience might
suggest different emotional states for
zoo animals," says Gore. "Two peo-
ple act and change characters, in an
ebb and flow, so that the scene is
created before the audience's eyes."
Gore says that by not performing
true improv, "the risk factor taken
out - the rules are to play the game
as opposed to writing a piece of the-
He adds that the actors don't
know what material they will per-
form in the games until they are on
Improvisational comedy is often
compared to stand-up and script
comedy, where the performer already
knows what to say to the audience
before coming on stage.
"(In improv) if someone is really
good, and is really coming from the
hip, (the performer's) reactions on
stage are coming from his own hu-
man heart." says Gore. "There isn't a
great relationship between stand up
and improv," he adds.
SCTV, the now-defunct televi-
sion show that spawned out of the
comedy company, was the training
ground for many members of the
television show Saturday Night
Live. John Belushi, Rick Morranis,
John Candy, and Gilda Radner were
all members of Second City.
"Compared to the McNeil Lehrer
Report, Saturday Night Live is
identical to Second City, " he says.
"They're only the same in that they
both contain groups of people with-
out any specific stars."
Second City is about to celebrate
its 28th anniversary as the original
improvisational theater. In addition
to the two touring companies, there
are two permanent companies in
residency in Chicago.
SECOND CITY will be
performing live at the Michigan
Theater this Saturday at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $9.50 and are available at
the Michigan Theater Box Office,
and all TicketMaster outlets.
The University of Michigan
SCHOOL OF MUSIC
New Works for Music, Theater, and Dance
Presented by Equilibrium (Michael Udow
and Nancy Udow) and members of U-M
"Oh My Ears and Whiskers"-based
on concepts and images from Alice
"Over the Moon"-based on 10 Japanese
"The shattered Mirror"
McIntosh Theatre, 8:00 p.m. FREE.
Dance and the Related Arts Class Recital
Dance Building, Studio A Theatre, 8:00 p.m.
U-M Men's Glee Club
Bradley Bloom, conductor.
For ticket information call 764-1448
Hill Auditorium, 8:00 p.m.
EXPLORE YOUR SPIRITUALITY
A Counseling Services workshop designed for
people who wish to address:
" What is spirituality? How does it relate to religion? *
" How does spirituality fit into my daily life? "
" What spiritual practices might I create or discover
to suit me now? *
Not appropriate for persons who are seeking religious instruction or who desire to
influence others in the direction of a specific belief system.
Meets Tuesdays 6:30-8:30 P.M. on Nov. 24th.
Dec. 1st. and Dec. 8th.
Call Counseling Services for a screening appointment
For up-to-date prgram information on School of Music
events call the 24-Hour Music Hotline, 763-4726
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