The Michigan Daily
Wednesday, October 9, 1991
Kicist's Broken Pitcher
paints thousand words
Velasquez and Rembrandt
profiled in museum ArtVideos
by Vicki Briganti
T he University Theater Depart-
ment celebrates its 75th year of
productions with this season's
opening performance of The Broken
Pitcher (Der Zerbrochene Krug), a
German comedy written by Hein-
rich von Kleist in 1807. Bert
Cardullo, an assistant professor of
Theater and Drama, and dramaturg
* for The Broken Pitcher, translated
the script from German. "You try
to give a faithful translation, but at
the same time you're flexible," he
says. "You have to change things
around to get puns, to get the spirit
of the play."
Cardullo also points out that a
German comedy may seem like a
contradiction in terms. "People
tend to think that German comedy is
not funny," he says. "This play is
funny, I think. I was laughing while
I translated it."
Kleist's inspiration for the pre-
mise of the play came from an
engraving of a courtroom scene, in
which a judge overlooks a woman
holding a cracked jug while specta-
tors await a verdict. Kleist and his
friends held a contest to determine
who could write the best interpreta-
tion of the scene. And The Broken
Pitcher won the contest.
The play focuses on Martha, a
boisterous peasant woman who files
a grievance in court over her
smashed, once-valuable pitcher,
claiming that Ruprecht, another
peasant, is the culprit. To further
complicate the matter, we learn that
Ruprecht is the prominent romantic
interest of Eve, Martha's young
daughter. Many explanations are
offered to solve the dilemma, but
not until the entrance of Ruprecht's
Aunt Bridget can we be certain who
is responsible for the crime.
This engaging civil dispute be-
comes a kind of mystery-comedy.
The play employs iambic pentame-
ter, but this heightened language
does not bog down the pace of the
dialogue. "A lot of humor is in the
fact that these peasants are speaking
in classical verse," Cardullo says.
"It's hard to make clear that they
are peasants by the way they talk.
You get that effect in German
through dialect, but we don't have
dialects in English. One way to cre-
ate the effect is by having them
break into colloquialisms like
'Bonehead!' or 'Give me a break,
dad!' You have to remember these
are not aristocratic characters."
The said peasants plead their case
in front of the "honorable" Judge
Adam, who resides over the court
doling out unscrupulous judge-
ments. "(Judge Adam) is a movie
version of the southern judge," says
Eric Fredricksen, Chair of the Thea-
ter and Drama Department, who
makes his University directorial de-
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but with The Broken Pitcher. "He
is nothing more than a peasant with
power. He's the boss by elevating
himself, literally and figuratively,
above the other peasants." The text
offers many clues hinting that
Adam may be responsible for the
broken pitcher. "The humor is in the
juxtaposition of incongruity," Fre-
dricksen says, "watching the (judge)
being reimbursed? No. What is the
quality of justice dispensed from
Another point of interest raised
in the play is the male dominance
that occurs in determining facts and
administering decisions. Besides the
obvious power of Adam and Walter,
Fredricksen includes on the set a
large painting in the style of a
by Aaron Hamburger
Do you have a free hour Wednesday afternoons and
need a way to pass the time? Each Wednesday at noon,
the University Museum of Arts shows half-hour
long videos on the lives and works of famous artists.
You can bring your lunch with you and eat while
learning about art. What could be better than that?
Today the Art Museum is showingVelasquez and
Rembrandt, Two Faces of the Seventeenth Century.
The tape, made by the Metropolitan Museum of Art
in New York, is narrated by the museum's curator, an
annoying guy with an equally annoying, vaguely-
The tape consists of an analysis of two portraits,
one by Rembrandt and one by Velasquez, the two
greatest portraitists (according to the tape, anyway)
of the 17th century.
The analysis of the first painting, a self-portrait
by Rembrandt, is quite good. The narrator sticks to
the facts, telling us about Rembrandt's life and his
other self-portraits. When analyzing the painting,
the narrator carefully explains its greatness and
Rembrandt's skill. When the tape cuts to close-ups
of the painting, the narrator clearly tells the viewers
what they are seeing and why.
The Velasquez segment, on the other hand, is
sketchy and confusing. The camera darts back and
forth and all around the painting with no rhyme or
reason. The narrator rhapsodizes about the artist and
the painting without concretely identifying what it
is that distinguishes Velasquez's portrait. Still, the
painting is worth looking at.
The ArtVideos could prove to be a comforting
ritual to get you through the week. Go, eat lunch and
See VIDEOS, Page 7
it o u t! *r 4 ¢h u
dir. Jeffrey Hornaday
by Jen Bilik
T he good news is that John
Travolta can still dance. The bads
news: he doesn't dance enough toh
save Shout. The film tries really $z
hard, and it's endearing at times, but
when the audience can name at least M'
10 movies that have enacted the .
same plot before, and when serious y
lines get big chuckles, something's ....
wrong. Although it gains momen-'
turn in the end, most of Shout con-
sists of sexy sulks that representk.
angst and romance.
Set in the '50s, Shout is a coming- Jack Cabe (John Travolta) displays his prime new physique as he woos
See SHOUT, Page 7 Molly (Linda Fiorentino), a local club owner.
John Hammond plays the wily Judge Adam in Heinrich von Kleist's The
Broken Pitcher, which follows in the tradition of light-hearted German
theater. Coming soon: The Cracked Stein...
squirm and find new ways to avoid
The character of Walter, a circuit
judge from a neighboring town, is
introduced with the hope that
justice will be carried out. He eva-
luates Judge Adam's courtroom
procedures. "Although Walter does
take a stand on Adam, he doesn't say,
'You are obviously an incompetent
judge and you should pay the price.'
In effect, he's saying, 'Let's not
really reveal one of our own as
being corrupt,"' says Fredricksen.
Walter's failure to condemn Ad-
am's behavior raises questions about
the effectiveness of the judiciary
system that are pertinent not only
to the society of 1807, but also
today. "This play makes a point
about a societal imperfection, which
in this case is the judicial system,"
says Fredricksen. "If Clarence
Thomas is on the Supreme Court, is
anything going to change? Look at
the Savings and Loan crisis. Has
anyone gone to jail? Are the people
Dutch master, which depicts a group
of men who watch over the court.
Ironically though, the most force-
ful characters in the play are
women. "I'm in no way trying to
make a political statement," Fred-
ricksen says, "but it's interesting
that the two strongest characters in
the play are women. This shows a
possibility of new consideration."
The problems inherent in the ju-
dicial system are not resolved by the
conclusion of the play, but as
Fredricksen points out, "Good plays
never answer questions, they raise
THE BROKEN PITCHER will be
performed in the Trueblood Theater
this Thursday, Oct.. 10 through
Saturday, Oct. 12 and October 17
through 19 at 8 p.m., and Sunday,
October 13 and 20 at 2 p.m.
Admission is $9 for adults and $6 for
students with ID.Tickets are avail-
able at the Michigan League Ticket
Produced by MSA Communications
Chair: Brett White
Vice-Chair: Melissa Saari
P:9. ..y' x
Ann Arbor Merchants:
Are Plaids Re.aiiy In?
MICHIGAN STUDENT ASSEMBLY
We are your student government, the student voice. We elected representatives from each
school and deal with issues of student concern on campus. We have direct contact with the
administration and are responsible for the allocation of over $37,000 to student organizations.
We meet every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the 3rd floor of the Union. At 7:45 any student may
address the assembly. We have many committees and commissions that are always
looking for student help and input. For further information or to voice a concern, call 763-
Committees and Commissions
* BUDGET PRIORITIES: Recognized 167 student organizations to allow use of University resources.
* CAMPUS GOVERNANCE: Interviewed and confirmed students to fill SACUA (Student Advisory
Committees on University Affairs) positions.
* COMMUNICATIONS: Held MSA Mass Meeting, published MSA News, organizing MSA table for fish bowl,
and MSA pizza visits to residence halls on Sunday nights.
* EXTERNAL RELATIONS: Will address problems between University and Ann Arbor community, reported
on education budget crisis in Lansing and effects on tuition.
* RULES AND ELECTIONS: Nominated and confirmed election director for the fall, Carrie Pittman, proposed
changes to Constitution and Code dealing with Automatic Student Group Registration, and MSA records,
looking at election code changes.
*ACADEMIC AFFAIRS: Looking into University policy of research before education, and making Advice
Magazine more effective anal useful to students.
* HEALTH ISSUES: Met with Royster Harper about continued planning of Alcohol Awareness Week activities.
* MINORITY ISSUES: Involved in selecting new V.P. of Student Services, and the inclusion of more minority
* PEACE ANIP JUSTICE: Looking into event to discuss upheaval in Eastern Europe, bringing in a judge as a
speaker, and creating a course guide of P and J related issues.
* STUDENTS' RIGHTS: Held open forum on teargassing incident, have made contact with police, City
Council, Civil Liberties Board and heads of Campus Security through investigation, SLS being consulted
about noise ordinance, and Law School Dean being consulted about Speech Code.
* WOMEN'S ISSUES: Selected Vice-Chair, Dana Marcoux.
SEPTEMBER 24 MEETING SUMMARY OCTOBER 1 MEETING SUMMARY
;. r !F
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. President Green reported on his meeting with Mary
Ann Swain that the Union policy is negotiable and
student leaders will be consulted with as they
should have been originally.
" Vice-President Davies reported on the goals of the
1. Union Policy
2. Housing Meal Plan
3. South University Incident
5. Health Insurance
7. Student forums to discuss University Policies
* President Green reported that he will be meeting with Royster
Harper next week.
" V.P. Davies urged representatives to sign up for MSA tabling in
. Assembly passed changes to the compiled code enabling
student organizations to register to use University facilities
rather than having to be formally recognized by vote of the
. Assembly also passed a referendum to be placed on the fall
ballot to make the registration process part of the Constitution.
. Passed change to Compiled Code outlining MSA public record
" Selected 2 assembly members, Greg Morrison and Scott Gast,
and 1 student to serve on CSJ (Central Student Judiciary)
" Passed funding request of $217 to send representative Shaw to
environmental conference. Rep. Shaw will report on conference
upon her return.
Tuesday. October 8