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April 19, 1990 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-19

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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 19, 1990

Continued from page 5
pital staff present. One man diag-
nosed as a paranoid schizophrenic
consistently begs to be released, say-
ing that conditions at the hospital
are making him sicker, but is instead
prescribed tranquilizers.
By order of the Supreme Judicial
Court of Massachusetts, "Titicut
Follies may be be shown only to
legislators, judges, sociologists, so-
cial workers, doctors, psychologists,
students in these or related fields, and
organizations dealing with social
problems of custodial care and men-
tal infirmity." But anyone seeing the
film doesn't need a degree in any-
thing to understand that the condi-
tions at the hospital were unbear-
TITICUT FOLLIES will be shown.
tonight at 7 and 8:45 p.m. at Ilillel,
1429 Hill Street. The event is spon-
sored by the Undergraduate Psy-
chological Association. NEAR
DEATH will have its local premiere
this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Michi-
gan Theater. Frederick Wiseman
will speak and answer questions
after the screening, .which includes
a dinner break. Student tickets are
$5, available at Ilillel.

Threepenny remains popular

by Beth Colquitt

IT might seem repetitive, the Mu-
sical Theatre Program's producing
Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera
right on the heels of the Brecht
Company's excellent production of
the same play last year. But this is
not inconsistent with the play's his-
tory of popularity. From the time it
opened, John Gay's Beggar's Opera
- from which Brecht drew most of
Threepenny Opera - was revived
annually until the end of the 18th
century in London's West End.
Threepenny has been recently
revived on Broadway, with Sting in
the role of Macheath.
There are many who will be set
on ear by the University's produc-
tion of Threepenny Opera. Despite
the play's necessary transformation
from its ideal small setting in a the-
ater about the size of the Residential
College auditorium to the large, im-
personal Power Center, director
Dona Vaughn tries to remain true to
Brecht's original purposes and the-
atrical concepts. "It is a challenge,"

she says, "to put Brecht in a theater
the size of the Power Center." How-
ever, she says she intends to surprise
the audience with some new faces,
actors and singers not usually known
for standard acting or singing roles.
The result should be a production
that is faithful to Brecht's idea of
epic theatre - to constantly remind
the audience that they are watching a
play requiring thought and reflection
even during the performance.
Vaughn is also following the
original Broadway production in giv-
ing the marvellously cynical song
"Pirate Jenny" to the character Jenny
Diver instead of Polly Peachum, for
whom the song was originally
scripted. Vaughn is substituting a
song from The Beggar's Opera in
its place for Polly to sing. "The
song is really wonderful and fits
right in with the rest of Weill's
score," says Vaughn.
Threepenny Opera was updated
by Brecht from Gay's satire on the
Italian opera, which was considered
haute couture in the early 18th cen-
tury. Brecht's version was a satire on

the bourgeois society of 1928
Weimar Republic Germany. Instead
of showing the vice inherent in the
middle and upper class of a society
by merely poking fun at it, Brecht
turns the idea on its head. He makes
the lower classes, in all their knav-
ery and monstrosity, claim the airs
and manners of the middle classes.
Yet the underlying message remains,
that everything is a commodity.
In the set design there are ges-
tures which are intended to decrease
the space and heighten the intensity
of the situation. Dominating the
back wall, for example, is a large,
industrial size window, representing,
says Vaughn, "in Victorian London,
the coming of the industrial age
which looms over Soho." She adds,
"as we go deeper into the story, the
costumes have less color, and the
light gets whiter and colder. The set
is not quite centered, to give the
audience the idea that things are not
quite right here."
Vaughn has hopes that the audi-
ence's initial surprise upon seeing
her "new faces" and her adherence to

James Ludwig plays Mack the Knife and Andrea Trebnik plays Jenny in
the Musical Theatre Program's production of Threepenny Opera.

Brecht's ideals of anti-illusionist and
distanced theater will be favorable,
despite the intent of grating enough
for audiences to sit up and notice.
Knowing Threepenny Opera, its
charm will surely do the trick for the
second year in a row.

tonight, tomorrow and Saturday at 8
p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the
Power Center. Tickets are $7 and
$10, available at the League Ticket


Take a walk through the
seamy side of London.
The Threepenny Opera, a startling, uncompromising play with music,
takes you to a sordid world ruled by Mack the Knife -- thief, con artist,
and well-known scoundrel. Kurt Weill's jangly, vital music and Bertolt
Brecht's stinging social commentary spin a tale of greed and corruption
that still captivates contemporary audiences.
Directed by Dona D. Vaughn
Musical Direction by Jerry DePuit
Choreography by Tim Millet
Conducted by Robert Debbaut"
Musical Theatre Program
Power Center
Apr. 19, 20, 21 at 8 pm;
Apr. 22 at 2pm.
A r 22 a 2 p m=Tickets are $10 and $7;
Call 764-0450 or 763-TKTS.
Student seating is $5 with ID
at the League Ticket Office
in the Michigan League.

I, The Personal Column


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