The Michigan Daily
Wednesday, June 2, 1982
Classic fable gets revamped
By Sarah Bassett
'IAKE A CLASSIC fable, add text.
by George Bernard Shaw, then
weave in pantomime, disco and color
and you might grasp the flavor of the
summer season's first Professional
Theater Program's production.
An "updated, upbeat version" of the
well-known children's tal:e Androcles
and fhe Lion is scheduled to begin a,
four-night run June 2. Phylis Fox, the
director and a Ph.D. student in
theater, says the production remains
true to Shaw's text while introducing
original, contemporary touches.
"There are moving trees, sets that
look like pop-up books, and lots of
color," Fox hinted recently. "The play
itself is an anachronism, written from
a Victorian point of view. We've added
modern elements so that kids today can
relate to the story."
Androcles, the fable goes, is a Greek
tailor converted to Christianity. When
forced to flee his village because of his
beliefs, he encounters a wild lion with a
thorn in its paw, removes the thorn, and
makes a life-long friend in the beast.
That friendship comes in handy later
when a Roman emperor feeds the tailor
to the lions.
"It's a play on two levels - for
children and for adults," Fox says. She
interprets Shaw's adult message
politically: When the story's Caesar
finally reverses his negative stand on
Christianity, it is due to a Christian
show of power and not to personal con-
viction, says Fox. She believes Shaw is
saying that it is not what you believe,
but who you know which determines
Aside from its political message, the
tale was written for another, typically
Shavian, purpose: "....to show what a
play for children should be like," in the
playwright's own words.
Shaw, noted for his wit and biting
criticism, had firm ideas about good
theater. "When people do less than
their best," he wrote, "I hate them,
loathe them, detest them, long to tear
them limb from limb and strew them in
gobbets about the stage."
His own production of Androcles and
the Lion, however, lasted only a few
performances. There were too many
potshots at traditional religion for Vic-
torian audiences, Fox says. By making
his weakest character Irish in the
play's initial run, Shaw also took a
swipe at the entire Irish nation,
creating some furor at the time.
In the PTP production, "we want
people to enjoy themselves," says Fox.
Her version has less of a political tone
See ANDROCLES, Page8
Catrina Ganey portrays the Lion in George Bernard Shaw's 'Androcles and
Delusions of strangeness
By Robert Weisberg curtain that concealed the stage. The had gotten stuck in traffic and Ozzie
curtain opened amidst a blast of smoke had been able to perform one of his
and fireworks, revealing a rather fabled bird tricks I might have thought
YTES, THERE WAS a great treat in pretentious set. There was a false-front otherwise.
I store for those of us who were un- medieval castle complete with As for the music - well, I suppose if
fortunate enough to miss the Memorial dungeony windows, stone terraces, and you're a metal. fan you loved it. Vir-
Day parade. Ozzy Osborne, former lead steps ascending up to a huge fake arch, tually everybody there was and did,
singer for the pseudo-satanic Black in front of which stood Osborne. even if it was tame by Sabbath stan-
Sabbath, made his way into town along Stepping down to the stage, he was dards. From an outsider's perspective,
with his latest aggregation of sea~h- flanked by his guitarist and his bassist, quite a few of the songs almost put one
and-destroy rockers. while the keyboard player has his own to sleep. Especially tranquilizing were
It was heavy metal for the metal- special place on the terrace to the. slow numbers like "Diary of a Mad-
mongers at Crisler Monday night. Not audience's left. man," title cut of his new album, or
an empty seat in the hall: They were The drummer sat perched upon a red "Goodbye to Romance", a piece of
even up and cheering for the opening throne (why he deserved such treat- See STRANGE, Page 10
band, a hoaky collection of metal pop- ment is a mystery to me, judging by his
sters called, I believe, Magnum. Of playing) guarded by a hooded
course, a lot of them were just catching executioner, in traditional arms-folded
a good buzz, or trying to, as evidenced stance. Extra amps were stacked under
by the parade of learning-their-lesson arches beneath the terraces, just to . ,
young casualties to the temporary in- make sure the music was loud enough
firmary. To be truthful, this writer wasn't too
And there was that special air of an- impressed by the stage presence of this ,
ticipation that precedes the appearance folk hero. He was chubby, graying; he ;"
of a legend. "Ozzy!" they shouted long was dressed in white t-shirt and Levi's-
before the show. for-men jeans. As the band kicked into
Naturally I wondered what the fuss two fast numbers to kick off the show, * TAKE
was about. "He's a good singer," said he kept trotting 'around, spastically A
one fan. "He commands a good per- waving his hands together in a sur- . BREAK
formance from his band and his risingly successful attempt to elicit ap- BREAK -
audience," said another. Most people plaus . I fi WiM
shared their enthusiasm. Indeed, Ozzy The pose Osborne struck was closer j gg II
has a group of loyal followers that could to Johnny Carson than anything else; 764-58
almost be compared to "Deadheads." nothing very demonic at all these days.
Many have seen Ozzy numerous times, But by the time he introduced "Crazy 3 3 33
undoubtedly armed with their favorite Train" with "I think we're going ___ * M 3 33 ,
intoxicants just like Garcia's hippiesque crazy," there was no turning back. I ,
followers. thought it was all kind of funny, and the U
After a brief and fortunately uneven- recently institutionalized Osborne _ Q
tful intermission, Osborne made his seemed amused too.
appearance from behind the huge black Then again, if the humane society
WE-12:50, 2:50, 5:00,
7 00, 9 00
STARTING JUNE THE "DINER"
"T REDISCOVERS LANGUAGE"
- GENE 5SSEL