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September 14, 1994 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-14

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 14, 1994 - 9

Soulful 'Journey into Night'

It is said that after a good perfor-
mance of "Long Day's Journey into
Night," an audience should leave the
theater completely exhausted. After
watching three and a half hours of the
Ong Day's Journey
Into Night
Tom Patterson Theater
June 19, 1994
Tyrone family's soul searching, one
should be almost as drained as the
Such is the case in the Stratford
Festival's production of Eugene
O'Neill' s autobiographical playwhich
plunges the audience into a dark and
draining journey into the soul of an
American family.
Critics and drama buffs love "Jour-
ney" because of its autobiographical
elements. It is the story of the
playwright's own family: James
Tyrone, a successful stage actor who
has overcome an impoverished Irish
upbringing; Mary Cavan Tyrone, his
doting wife who aspired to be a nun and
tnr1 pianist before falling in love
s amthe elder son, also
h younger son, a
A baked newspaper re-

porter. (O'Neill considered the play so
personal that he forbade his wife to
publish it until 25 years after his death;
fortunately, she did not obey his wish.)
But there is a darker side to this
family, and it is this side which an
obviously wounded O'Neill has given
to us. Edmund is suffering from con-
sumption; Jamie can't hold a job and
wastes his money on whiskey and
women; as a result of a past tragedy,
Mary has become dependent on mor-
phine. And poverty ingrained on his
spirit, James refuses to spend the money
to provide his family with any of the
comforts ofhome. The play takes place
in their summer residence, a cheaply
built shack; it is nothing like the home
Mary wants.
The meat of the play is conversa-
tion. Antagonism, guilt, anger, confu-
sion, blame and insults fly from every-
one to everyone else. Each character
dedicates his/her time onstage to blam-
ing someone else for the family's prob-
lems. Most of this is done in a drunken
oblivion, because in O'Neill plays the
truth only surfaces when induced by
Because each of the characters has
his/her fair share of problems, in order
to give a production focus a director
usually slants the story toward one or
two characters. Typically, the play ei-
ther belongs to Mary or to James
Tyrone.(Sometimes, though not often,
two very compatible actors can share
the story as Jamie and Edmund.)

Nestled in the intimacy of the Tom
Patterson Theatre, director Diana
LeBlanc has given this production to
Martha Henry as Mary. Henry carries
the immense weight of this production
with astounding aplomb and courage.
She makes a wonderfully subtle yet
striking transformation after Mary's
first morphine shot, and her ticks and
obsessive movements - fixing her
hair or rubbing her crippled hands -
make her Mary positively entrancing.
It should be noted, however, that
Henry is not carrying the production
for a lack of supporting talent; she is in
the company of three very commend-
able actors: Peter Donaldson, William
Hutt and Tom McCamus. Hutt's work
in the past 30 seasons at Stratford is
evidence that he is fully capable of
carrying the show as James Tyrone;
here, however, he backs off (wisely) to
Henry. And Tom McCamus is memo-
rable in his Stratford debut as Edmund.
Astrid Janson's set projects a very
temporary feeling: the wicker furniture
is flimsy, the cushions worn, the orien-
tal rugs carefully mismatched. The cos-
tumes are in subdued pastel tones, in
appropriately rumpled linen and flow-
ing cotton; the shoes are worn to the
Louise Guinand's lighting is soft
and unobtrusive. Day lighting is fil-
tered through two wings of dove-gray
gauze, hovering over the stage omi-
nously. This effect not only softens the
light, but suggests the oppressive fog

The weight of the Stratford Festival's production of "Long Day's Journey intoNight" rests on Martha Henry (right).

which plagues this and so many other
O'Neill dramas. {
This play is long and exhausting,
and O'Neill shows the frustrating futil-
ity of that journey. Somehow you know
that the Tyrones will take the same
journey tomorrow, and the day after

that. But the richness of the play and of
this well-crafted production lies in the
surrender: you have to allow yourself
to be taken on this journey. And you
learn to relish not the end result, but
what happens along the way.

NIGHT runs in repertory through
September 17 at the Tom Patterson
Theatre in Stratford, Ontario. For
tickets, accommodations or informa-
tion about this or any other produc-
tion, call the Stratford Festival Box
Office at (519) 273-1600.

Continued from page 8
named after - slowly die from
Alzheimer's disease. It's hard when
someone you love doesn't know who
you are.
Her songs are so powerful, they
will leave an everlasting imprint in
your mind. I really can't express how
great "From Years to Hours" is. You'll
have to buy it to believe it.
- Eugene Bowen
The Moment
PolyGram Records
Ya know, I really hate to down a
brotha, but I must be honest about
Brian, Darren, Tone and Quent - the
four members of Ladae. These guys
stink, and this has absolutely nothing to
do with their obviously poor name

It's not that they're voices are bad
(not that they're good either), but these
guys don't sing well together. Their
voices clash worse than some profes-
sors' clothes. Also, every song is the
same - begging some girl to please
take them back. Titles like "Be My
Luv," "I Miss Your Lovin"' and "Bye
Bye" speak for themselves. The beats
are all faulty, the lyrics are wack and
the singing ain't all that. I don't know
who these guys had to sleep with in
order to get a record contract, but they
definitely worked their asses off (no
pun intended).
There's no use in reorganization;
these guys have nothing to build on. All
that can be said for "The Moment" is
that the moment's over. As for Ladae,
times up.
-Eugene Bowen
Nusrat Fateh All Khan
Devotional and Love Songs
Mustt Musit
Real World

According to Sufis, there are two
kinds of grace: "Those with melodius
voices and those endowed with the
powerto appreciate them." NusratFateh
Ali Khan, considered the greatest liv-
ing singer of Qawwali, is certainly one
of the former. His voice, elegant and
rich, powerful and wide, frames the 10
numbers found on "Devotional and
Love Songs." He is accompanied by an
ensemble of other singers as well as
harmonium, tabla and guitar. The first
four songs are in praise of God,
Mohammed, Ali and other Muslim
saints. The last six deal with various
forms of love, of women and departed
friends. The title of "Woh Hata Rahe
Hain Pardah," which means "She is
boldly unveiling in front of everyone
and I am cowardly concealing," alone
speaks volumes while another track
finds Kham lamenting "If you cannot
remain before my eyes, please give
back my heart."
"Mustt Mustt," meanwhile, finds
See RECORDS, Page 10

"6 stylists--NO Waiting!




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