10 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, November 10, 1994
"The Front Page"
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 8 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 18, 8 p.m-.
Saturday, Nov. 19, 2 p.m.
"Arms and the Man"
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 19,.8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 20, 2 p.m.
Tickets $42, $38, $34, $10
All performances at the Power
'The Front Page' shows the grit, guts, glory of 1928
Shaw was a man up in 'Arms' *
Continued from page 1.
not a serious anti-war play."
The comedy is not, however,
present at the expense of Shaw's phi-
losophy. While "Arms" may contain
numerous intriguing plot twists and
turns, they exist solely to serve Shaw's
statements on society. Shaw's plays,
while often extraordinarily funny, bit-
ingly satirical and casually engaging,
are simply vehicles for his own philo-
"Like any Shaw play, there's not a
lot of plot," Mezon conceded. "This
is a chance for Shaw to explain what
he feels is important about our view
of romance and war.
"(As he usually does), he's attack-
ing false ideals - religion, power,
money, war. If (the characters) open
their eyes and see what's really real
around them, then they can go on
living in a constructive way."
Being an early Shaw play, the so-
cial/moral implications of "Arms" are
not too overwhelming for an audi-
ence. Compare "Arms" to "Major
Barbara," which is a veritable three
hours of thick and often repetitive
Despite the turn-of-the-century
moralistic tone, Mezon feels that the
concept is not too far beyond the
reach of a contemporary audience.
The message, he feels, still rings true.
"That's the reason Shaw is still
done so much today. That's the rea-
son people are still laughing at Shaw
100 years later," he explained. "Even
though we're living on the informa-
tion superhighway, we're none the
wiser (than they were in Shaw's day)."
Mezon is particularly excited
about bringing the play to a young
"It's like watching a student audi-
ence watch 'Romeo and Juliet.' They
love it. It's about young love, about
what young people think true love is
And whether Bernard Shaw would
have liked it or not, you can expect an
evening full -of laughter and philo-
Continued from page 1
necessarily 1-2-3-4 in that order;
sometimes it's 1-2-3-4 but it's all
together. It's a little like music -
you've just got to let that wash over
you," Munro described.
As for the tone of the piece, Munro
classifies "The Front Page" as a black
comedy. "It shows the darker, uglier
aspects of ourselves ... and at the
same time tries to make us laugh at it.
I think by laughing it brings us closer
to being aware of the things we do to
each other, and I think being aware of
it makes us sort of responsible for it,"
"'The Front Page' wants that un-
easy response of laughter and hor-
To obtain what Munro calls "that
uneasy response," the piece features a
host of well-drawn but morally repre-
hensible characters and fierce, cruel,
politically incorrect language.
Many modern productions of "The
Front Page" take the liberty of cutting
the offensive language, seemingly in
an effort to recreate the mood of the
period without presenting the audi-
ence with any unpleasantries. How-
ever, Munro is not shying away from
"It's politically incorrect, the lan-
guage is quite ferocious. The charac-
ters in the play - some of them are
racist, some of them are misogynist,
some of them are just plain assholes.
"But then the thing to remember
about vile language is that it always
exposes and demeans the people who
use it, not the people it's used against
... (The language) is there to show
how hard we can fall as human beings
when we find ourselves in a society
that doesn't care about its individu-
als, that is unable to provide any kind
of spiritual aid or social condition*
that make people want to help each
other and have compassion for each
As for cutting the play, Munro
could not imagine doing anything of
the kind. "It is so tightly put together
... The dialogue and everything is so
tight; it's a kind of diamond structure.
You can't get in to play around with
it,so you pretty well have to meet itor
its own terms," Munro explained.
If the dialogue is what makes "The
Front Page" so down and dirty, it is
also what dates the work. Munro,
however, is confident that a 1994 au-
dience - especially a college crowd
- will receive "The Front Page" for
all its grit and glory.
"If it's dated I think it's because it
still smacks of being politically in,
correct ... It's very cruel but it's ver@
"It's been very well-received (at
the Festival) because it's not some-
thing an audience receives very often.
And there's a furious pace which I've
tried to put the brakes on a couple of
times,just to give everyone a breather
before we have to move on again."
Fasten your seat belts for "The
Front Page," folks. "Hopefull
(you'll) have a bit of a rocky ride,'
Munro said knowingly.
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