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October 03, 1989 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-10-03

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Page 8- The Michigan Daily -Tuesday, October 3, 1989
You Strike: Firm but

rocky

I

BY JAY PEKALA
FOR 90 solid minutes the three actors in You
Strike the Woman You Strike the Rock act, sing
and dance stories depicting the lives of Black
women in South Africa under apartheid. Their ac-
cessories are few. They have no elaborate set or
props, and they convey various characters with the
simple addition of a hat or scarf. The energy that
Poppy Tsira, Thobeka Maqhutyana and Nomvula
Qosha project is remarkable, even if it is not
enough to keep the show from faltering in the
end
This past Sunday evening, the Michigan
Theater presented the Market Theatre Company's
production of You Strike The Woman You Strike
the Rock to open the Michigan's 1989-1990
Drama Season. The Market Theatre's Johan-
nesburg-based troop has gained a reputation for
performing local works that reflect the oppression
of South African Blacks by apartheid. In the past,
the company has presented such important plays
as, Woza Albert and Bopha! which not only
entertain but raise our awareness of the injustices
perpetrated in South Africa by the controlling
white minority.
Clothed in plain dresses and aprons, the three
women of the play, Sdudla, Mampompo and
Mambhele, each bring a unique voice of experi-
ence to the marketplace on the outskirts of Cape
Town where the three toil to sell their chickens

and oranges. Sdudla reflects the older generation,
recalling the country before white misrule and
commending her own efforts to end the oppres-
sion. She is proud to have spent time in jail and
is ready to face unjust police arrest during the
play. Mambhele and Mampompo both represent
younger women who have never known another
existence but who still dream of a better life away
from the incredible burdens and demands which are
constantly being placed on them. Together the
three women bicker amongst themselves, chase
thieving children, and do what they must to earn a
living for themselves and their families.
Unlike other Market Theatre productions, You
Strike is often confusing because it details an ar-
bitrary series of events. It does not follow a single
story or idea but shifts focus from one woman to
another. This could be effective if the audience
were not also trying to decipher the dialect and to
understand the context of the various vignettes.
The play is most effective on an emotional
level. The depiction of the women riding into
Cape Town each morning on the crowded bus or
waiting at the post office to receive money from
their husbands, or the symbolic rape of a black
woman by a white boss are hard hitting and emo-
tionally portrayed. It is these scenes which are
most able to draw our sympathies. By their na-
ture, the events presented are political but the im-
pression they give is more like documentary than
commentary.

However, when one of the actors pedantically
denounces the injustice of apartheid, this gesture
instantly translates to propaganda. Once some-
thing identifies itself as propaganda, it is com-
mentary, and this play's subjectivity makes it less
authoritative. The impact is lessened even if the
message is important.
The most striking element of the production is
its use of music. No matter how serious or disqui-
eting any situation is, the three women are able to
break into harmonious song. And it is music
which acts as a universal opiate. After a woman is
fired from her job, the actors sing a chant to God
which evolves into an emotional refrain and dance.
The wild activity serves to soothe the tension and
desperation that all of the women endure. It is this
strength that Mambhele, Mampompo and Sdudla
are most proud of. And despite all of the hardship
and cruelty they suffer, they are strong and deter-
mined to survive.
Once we see the determination of these women
through the various scenes, the play does not take
us farther, and the last half hour becomes fairly
monotonous. The last few minutes portray an at-
tack by the white army on Black children, but the
incident does not have the impact that some of the
play's other events have. As a result, we are left
wanting either more or less, some sense of end-
ing.

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Discover Nirvana in the flesh
There ain't recesses any more. You've gotta make your own. And you'll
find an ex-suhh-lent one early on tonight at the Blind Pig when Sub-Pop
Rock City's Nirvana (That's NUR-VAHN-UH, not Near-vanna!) open a
triple bill at the Blind Pig at 9:30 p.m. Mdtorhead is almost in the range
of lead vocalist Kurdt Kobain; it is definitely within reach of the rest of
the band. Bassist Chris Novoselic tackles some pretty dynamic lines
considering the genre; the show should be more fun than playing king of
the jungle gym.

Lips
Continued from page 7
tive, tight guitar rhythms, and even
a piano ballad called "Shaved Go-
rilla."
The Flaming Lips, like many all-
male bands, seem unable to escape a
lack of vocal range - the absence of

contradiction and harmony created by
similar sounding male adolescent
voices. This is not a problem easily
remedied. What they lack in vocal
range, though, they make up for
with a desire to keep their listeners
off-balance. They don't let similar
tunes and styles go back-to-back;
rather they choose to interject pieces

like "Shaved Gorilla" and the mid-
tempo "Chrome Plated Suicide" be-
tween the harder-driving music to
create diversity.
All this leaves me wondering
what to expect for the show at the
Blind Pig. I'm sure, to begin with,
that it will be loud. I'm almost sure,
too, that the Flaming Lips will not

get caught up in trying to pound the
audience to death with this loudness.
Sheer volume does not seem to be
their plan of attack on Telepathic
Surgery, and it probably won't be
Tuesday night, either. I do expect the
mixture created on the album to
show itself presenting an enjoyable
variety of noise.

THE FLAMING LIPS with opening
acts STEEL POLE BATH TUB and
NIRVANA play tonight at the Blind
Pig at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in
advance, slightly higher at the door.

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M

Yes, the Beatles reunion rumors
have again proved to be false, buti
cheer up. The Bliss, a student rock
band with decidedly Liverpudlian;
streak in their guitar-based rave-ups,:
plays their debut gig at the Univer-
sity Club tonight. Show up around
10 p.m. and bring about three bucks
for cover. Wear comfortable shoes.
FOR THE BEST:
Crew Cuts-Flat Tops
Princetons-Military
THE DASCOLA

We're the central research
and technology source for
the Bell operating compa-
nies. Our areas of inspired
research cover software
development, applied
research, network information
systems, systems engineering,
network planning services
and equipment assessment.
We have opportunities in our
northern and central New
Jersey facilities for individuals
with BS, MS and PhD degrees
in Computer or Electrical
Engineering or Computer
Science who can help us

Statistics, Operations
Research, Physics or Human
Factors Engineering.
Working in the future is the
place to be-if you would
like to join us,
Sign up at the '
Career Planning &
Placement Office to
meet with our recruiters
on campus
October 25 & 26
Alternatively, send your

I

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